You hear it referenced a lot, but the old adage of “Good. Fast. Cheap. You get two out of three”, is still my Golden Rule of Value. You can’t stand for anything if you try to stand for everything.
It is inevitable that I end up explaining the evolution of the web several times a week. Whether with clients, prospects, peers, family or friends, the web and social media have hit a point of intersection where advertisers and consumers are now in the same dialog. Even Googling and facebooking are terms my seven year old uses regularly.
In times past, the “mother-in-law test” as I called it (no offense, Grandma C.), was a litmus test to determine how simple an idea was. I would just ask, “Would your mother-in-law get that idea?” If the answer was “No.”, then the concept was either bad or overcomplicated. Well, here is my “mother-in-law test” for the state of marketing on the web today, so tell me if I have passed my own test.
It seems that marketing budgets fall into two camps these days: I cut my budget because why throw good money after bad. Or, I am spending a lot less but I still getting no immediate results. It has been said that we create the worst of habits in the best of times and I think the “good ole’ days” of the early 2000’s have given us a microscope instead of a telescope. What I mean by this is marketing, like wise investing, should be done with the long-term in mind, not the short-term. Placing every marketing decision under a microscope when we know times are tough is like watching your 401k bounce around everyday. In the end, you create a lot of anxiety and are so short-term focused that we often begin to make emotional decisions because we need some instant gratification. And if the dollar did not move the needle in 30 days, then it was a dollar wasted.
We just concluded an alumni awareness effort last week for Furman University called http://www.DoNotCallMeAtDinner.com that leveraged database marketing and social media to create a new approach to alumni relations. Although all of the results are not yet tallied, we had some insights that we wanted to go ahead and share.
The campaign was designed to create alumni awareness and increase participation with Furman University alumni while raising funds through online donations. Like most universities, Furman has a Spring Call-a-Thon that yields predictable results but is perceived as an annoyance to many donors. This year the approach was to attack that philosophy head-on and promise not to call alumni at dinner if they made an online gift by May 15, 2009. A parody of the famous Apple/PC television spots was used to help drive home this point.
The success of the campaign was measured on the increased participation from the 90s and 2000s classes of alumni that have historically had lower participation rates in traditional campaigns.
“Let us prove to the world,” wrote William Bernbach in his 1949 manifesto for the “creative revolution,” “that good taste, good art, good writing can be good selling.”
This is from an article on AdAge.com about the best ad campaigns of the century that I stumbled on when trying to find a little needed inspiration.
I think this is a timely reminder of where we came from. Before the days of google and SEO, or even Apple and Photoshop, we were a people of great ideas. An industry driven by a purpose. And that purpose was to sell. I can’t remember who said it but “No one makes a dime until someone sells something” has always rang true to me. Driven to work all day and stay up all night, kick and scream and fight over the good and bad, we have always been driven by the power of a simple idea. And most of the time, the simplest of ideas are the hardest to find.
These great ideas were not created without effort, or without