Beware ad agencies boasting of work that gets noticed.
I ASKED THE advertising manager of a large organization with a sizable budget to tell me her advertising objective. Believe it or not, that’s something many an ad manager cannot do and has never considered.
“To produce inquiries,” she replied without hesitation. Impressed, I laid out what direct response marketers know, how they know it, and how they would devise a measurable campaign to produce inquiries.
She heard me out. Well, she awaited her turn to talk. With patent parental pride, she showed me the advertisements that the organization’s outside ad agency created and was running for them.
This is unusual for me: I found the wherewithal not to say that based on my experience the admittedly clever ads likely had the pulling power of brittle rubber bands. Instead, I asked, “How many inquiries have the ads produced?”
“None,’” she said, shrugging, “but they got noticed, so they did their job, right?
“If the objective was to get noticed, yes, but if the objective was to produce inquiries, no.”
Another shrug. “Yeah, well you can’t expect an ad to do that.”
Actually, you can and you should. I could have sworn I had gone through that, but, just in case, I went through it again.
”Yeah, I know,” she said, “but the ads got noticed, so they did their job, right?”
Getting noticed requires no expertise. People with a body odor problem get noticed all the time. So do nails on chalkboards, dogs barking next door at midnight, and people who pick their nose in public.
I didn't say any of that. I could tell it was time to shut up.
I didn’t walk away with a new client.