Yesterday I was doing my "fifteen second introduction" with regard to what the heck we do at an advertising agency and decided to also add the words, "Oh, and we also teach." as a postscript. Suddenly the eyes of the person brightened and she seemed to get it. I think I stumbled onto something!
I love advertising and marketing but it is one of the toughest professions to break the ice in a casual conversation. Those of you who know me might find it unlikely that I think "anything" is difficult to talk about. But, let me give you an example:
If you are a lawyer and you say, "I'm an attorney." Most folks come back and say, "Interesting, any specialty?" Or if you are an educator and say, "I'm a teacher." Most folks might come back and say, "Oh, really? What grade?" It kind of starts the ball rolling. However, over the years I've found that when I say, "I'm in advertising.", the response usually goes something like this: "Oh, that's nice. Can you pass the salt and pepper?"
Me: "Sure. Yes, ahem, advertising. We consult, think, write, and do creative work for TV, Print, Internet, Radio..."
They: "Radio? I thought so! You've got a nice radio voice. What do you think of the salad?"
And so it goes.
Even clients sometimes have difficulty in "getting it". Even though we have some great conversations about planning, customer interaction, public relations, budgets, forecasting, marketing trends, etc. The call might go something like this:
Client: "Hi, Michael? Can you make me an ad for The Poughkeepsie Times?"
Me: "The Poughkeepsie Times? Sure, but why are we advertising there? Remember, we talked about the Media Plan and our target market of armadillo hunters. There are no armadillos in Poughkeepsie."
Client: "I know. But a sales person talked to somebody there and they told her that we should buy because their rates are really great and...Oh, I need the ad today."
OK, so that really didn't happen...and our clients would never do anything like that because they hang on our every word...
The "nugget" here is that no matter what product or service we are selling the message has to relate to the consumer in a way they "get it". The person at the lunch table yesterday simply was not in the market to buy a message from an advertising agency. There was no need and no relationship. She did understand teaching so we connected...after the postscript...and had a delightful conversation.
But, what about your target consumer? Do they have to spend time trying to figure out what you do or sell? Is your fifteen second introduction geared to them and their understanding of the product or service? Do you have to re-invent your message to make it more clear?
That's just a couple of reasons why folks hire advertising agencies...err..ahhh...Teachers.
What say you?
Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications where you can always make contact with us by clicking here.