Great lesson from Ed McCabe – one of the greatest copywriters in advertising history. Instead of just finding a competitive advantage, McCabe would look for the biggest point of resistance. He would look for the people who were least likely to ever try or use the product – and talk to them. His thinking was that if you could convince the biggest resistors, you could easily win the hearts and minds of the undecideds. Try it. Focus your next message on the biggest resistance people have to your product or service.
November 2009 - PS Insights
Have you noticed your production timelines lately — how the approval time built into the schedule is five or ten times longer than the time you’ve allotted to do the actual work? If that’s true, you’ve got a breakdown in your processes. It means people don’t trust each other in the approval chain. You need to reexamine how work is created, assignments are defined, strategies are developed and approvals are given. In the ideal flow, you should have at least as much time to create the work as you do to get it approved.
Spec is ugly. It’s an insult to both the person who asks for it and the person who delivers it. If you ask for spec, you’re really looking to pick someone’s brain for free. How insulting to the people you want to do business with. If you say you’re willing to do spec, you devalue your own services. We were in a new business pitch with one of our partners who settled the spec question for us once and for all. When we told them our price, the prospective client said, “Well, I had a team in here last week and they showed us three ideas for nothing.” At which point our partner got up, looked at the client and said, “I sure hope you got your money’s worth” and walked out of the meeting.
When was the last time you served up pizza and soda (or beer) for your team? It’s an important cultural signal that says, “we’re all in this together.” Food is a great motivator. It’s an important management tool and should be served up fairly regularly.
It’s amazing how many marketers and creative types think research is a painful necessity. Those are the people who tend to use research to double-check or justify what they’ve done instead of welcoming research to uncover new ideas. Great researchers can help you uncover new ideas and new possibilities. And the best way is to make researchers part of your development team. Find a good one. Make friends with them. Tell them what your business situation is and let them give you suggestions as to what kind of research you should be doing. It will transform the way you do business.