By Tom Polanski
We have an increasing number of companies moving management of their online media campaigns to us because the agencies they trusted ultimately disappointed them. They saw that the powerful wizard was really a little man behind a curtain, blowing smoke, and describing the smoke in the most arcane terms imaginable. Too many marketing professionals are doing exactly what secret brotherhoods have been doing for millennia….they’re creating a language that only they understand. If the common business decision-maker wants to increase their company’s revenue or brand equity, they have to go through the marketing “priests” to find thier way to profits-heaven. Marketers like to speak a line of lingo only those that have dedicated their lives to understanding online marketing (like me) will understand. And too many of us bandy that language about like insecure college sophomores.
One of my colleagues, a marketing expert with a Masters Degree in Media Studies, wrote the e-mail below, after visiting the blog of a company that is allegedly an industry leader. I asked her what she learned:
“Yeah. I learned that they’re morons if they like that Amazon Kindle. That thing is garbage. Doesn’t even read PDFs. I also noticed something else they’re doing wrong – they’re not writing “in plain english” for their users.
Ahem…here’s some gobbly-gook.
Edit – (Can’t include the title of the blog that evinced the remainder of her e-mail for legal reasons.)
I have no idea who their target audience is but it’s not the decision maker who has explain to upper management how revenue is going to be increased.
I’m sorry but if it has the auditory impact of the waste material of a male bovine and the olfactory impact of the waste material of a male bovine, it must be the waste material of a male bovine. (This is a perfect example of the type of marketese so-called experts would use to describe bull do-do to a client).
(Here is the translation we support): In other words, if it sounds like BS, smells like BS, it must be BS.”
These Reverends of the Run Around usually appear at numerous conventions with itineraries so full one wonders who’s actually running the company and providing his clients with an acceptable level of service. Years ago we considered partnering with a “celebrity” marketing company but decided against it for a number of reasons, including but not limited to, a lack of investment in technologies as evidenced by the fact that this company to this day doesn’t offer something as critical as online ad reporting. They send their clients weekly media campaign breakdowns in an excel spreadsheet.
Weekly excel spreadsheets! Our clients expect and get transparency through the online analytics/reporting suite we and our partners create for each client. Our clients know exactly what is making them money and what isn’t. 24/7/365. Accessible from anywhere in the world.
Earlier this year, we were given the opportunity to look from the inside at the work of the company we passed on partnering with. We were and still are offended. It must be the constant self-promotion, the branding as an expert, because this company isn’t putting its money into technologies and services.
In my opinion, companies like this are like thieves for the following reasons:
• They leave revenue on the table for the competitors of their clients to grab because they’re simply repackaging the commonsensical and the common place in flowery language as some unique service that only they offer.
• They actually inhibit the growth of their clients.
• They steal goodwill. When the curtain is parted and the wizard is revealed, goodwill departs, faith is harder to feel, and it’s that much more difficult to trust again.
But I’ve got to hand it to these guys. They’re expert self-promoters and relationship marketers.
I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t point out that there are high-quality agencies and marketing firms, and there are assets we trust. We choose to partner with and rely on resources that speak clearly, are client-centric and understand that at the end of the day the real objective cannot be obfuscated. Our worth is and should be judged by our ability to drive revenue for clients while meeting or beating mandated performance metrics.
I want to be clear that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a marketing company marketing itself. I did that for eBrand Media just now in this post. But to do so because it’s cheaper than making a focused and capital intensive investment in human and technological resources is wrong. To use promotion to sell your company as an industry leader when it’s actually using the private labeled, often inferior (but cheap), services of another is unconscionable. The payback is that those types of companies usually become “burn and churn” houses that eventually go out of business Or morph into ad networks.
You’ve probably noted that I used the term, “trust”, in the first paragraph. That’s what people are doing when they sign a contract with eBrand Media, they’re entrusting not only their reputations, hopes, goals and dreams to us, but those of their partners and employees, as well.
Finally, to paraphrase a 15th century monk, “This business of living is hard on all of us. Knowing that, how can I be anything but fair and honest?” And clearly understood.
In closing, as you know, celebrities seldom have any real talent. Whether it’s in Hollywood, on Madison Avenue or at trade conventions. Paris Hilton may be a Hollywood celebrity but do you really think of her as an actress?