Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

You can’t measure “return on relationship.”

In Agency Biz, Just Thinkin', The Marketing Microscope on May 25, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Attention all you metric mavens out there. In this economy and business climate, I understand a little tendency toward desperation. When you’ve got bills to pay, it’s logical to want an almost instant return on any time, money or other resources you invest in your business. But “logical” isn’t always the same as “smart.”

I just read a wonderful post on the subject by Amber Naslund over at her Brass Tack Thinking blog. She talks about the need to build all your networks before you “need” them. Create and grow your relationships when the only payback is the relationship itself, not a virtual filing cabinet with the many ways the other party can help you get money, business, a job or whatever-  preferably soon.  ROI doesn’t stand for Return on Insensitivity.

Clearly, this discussion is relevant given the attention and special status so many of us marketers are conferring on social media as a marketing channel. We smugly congratulate one another on recognizing the need for two-way dialogue and claim to be comfortable with the fact that we don’t lead many of the discussions any longer. Then someone gets impatient with all that warm, fuzzy stuff and talks about “monetizing” the process. Sigh.

I don’t really think this is about social media at all. Remember the marketing people whose obvious self-absorption and thirst for profit drove you crazy pre-Twitter and even pre-Internet? Those are the same people who are now either driving potential customers away with transparent  efforts in “new media” or staying out of the social media discussion entirely since they don’t have the mindset to accept a payback that isn’t guaranteed to happen at all, let alone quickly. (That doesn’t make it a bad investment – just one they can’t understand.)

Yes, I’m very aware that businesses must manage their resources efficiently and don’t like the idea of paying people to “schmooze” or cyber-surf with no apparent end game. But unless you’re the low-price leader and can get all the business you need by sending out price lists, you’d better learn to deal with it. Whether it’s a potential client, employer, strategic business partner or a potential customer, they’re only human – and if they weren’t important back when you didn’t need them, they won’t have much  use for you when you do.  Marketing is suddenly very human. And I find that a very good thing.


Another win for good casting: AT&T’s”Anniversary” spot

In Uncategorized on May 1, 2011 at 12:42 am

It could have been so lame. AT&T could have bombed badly. In its “Anniversary” spot, the production team could have given us the typical, self-absorbed type-A hotshot, forgetting all about a planned anniversary dinner with his wife. And we’d have been forced to watch as he smugly covered his error by making a dinner reservation while on the phone with his wife– using that lone benefit of the iPhone on AT&T’s network: the ability to surf the web while you are talking.

But they didn’t settle for typical casting, , and the  result is one of the most watchable spots I’ve seen in some time. The businessman, who gets the reminder call from his wife as he is working late, is no stud, and no driven overachiever. He is, instead, a stocky, likable fellow who seems less like a young turk than an  average Joe struggling to  get his work done. His stammering conversation with his wife proves he feels guilty for  forgetting and doesn’t want to hurt her feelings by admitting it. He’s a bumblingly heroic  figure as he gathers his work and clutches it to his chest as he hurries out the door.

The actor plays the part to perfection, generating all kinds of empathy in the process. We  viewers want him to get away with it. We LIKE him!  Had the agency production team opted for the “expected” type , we’d have been hoping for the spot to end with a frying pan through the windshield of whatever high-end sport sedan they had put him in.

But our guy? No problem.  Spare the frying pan. We’re in his corner. (And if he isn’t driving a Ford Taurus, he probably has the family minivan at work. )

So good job, everyone. Nice concept. Nice demo of the thin competitive benefit enjoyed by AT&T over Verizon. And of course, great casting. Which, as I have been pointing out a lot lately, can make all the difference.