Blame the message. Not the messenger.


If your campaign doesn’t deliver the kind of results you were hoping for, perhaps you shouldn’t point the finger at your media strategist (especially if you want free tickets to that concert).

After all, according to a recent article in Ad Age, creative is more likely the culprit, since it has a far bigger impact on sales and effectiveness than the media choices. How much you should be spending on digital vs. TV vs. print is like the tail wagging the dog.

Instead, marketers should focus more attention on developing a strategy that’s truly differentiating, and messaging that actually gets noticed. And talked about. And photographed by every tenth person who comes in contact with it—well, at least that’s our own personal goal. (See buzz marketing experiment below starring Shelly the mannequin.)

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One Comment

  1. John
    Posted October 21 2010 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I am a big fan of your blog. Look forward to it every Friday afternoon.

    That said, I am really disappointed in this week’s issue. I am a media professional with 40 years of experience. I worked at Saatchi and Saatchi for 32 years (the last six as EVP, Media Director). Taught Media Planning and Buying for 7 years, at Howard University (Wash DC) and St. John’s University (NY) and currently serve as the Media Director at The Partnership at Drugfree.org, a non-profit that helps parents prevent and find treatment for teen drug abuse.

    While I am troubled by your gratuitous remark about “free concert tickets” and your reference to media decisions as the “Tail wagging the dog”, I am more concerned with the fact that neither you (nor the Ad Age article that you cite) “connect the dots” between media and creative. You treat both as silos that are not related. I completely agree that the creative message is of utmost importance. However, a great creative message and execution in TV may be totally ineffective in print or on the web. In my humble opinion, the key to success is more collaboration between media and creative to find the most effective message for each medium. Given today’s measurement tools, such as Google Analytics, it is not difficult to see what creative and media are working effectively. Maybe the next time one of your Creative people stop by the Media Department to put in their ticket requests, they might take a few additional moments to discuss placing the right creative message in the most appropriate medium.

    In closing, the measurement of a great Newsletter is reader involvement and dialogue. Obviously, Brokaw’s “Oh No” is successful on both fronts. I hope that you take this message in the spirit in which it is written.


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