Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

Stupid Hot Air Balloons and Why Marketing Is NOT Art

by Julie Guest on August 21, 2013

About 10 years ago, I remember sitting in the room of a huge ad agency listening in on a “pitch” meeting.

This ad agency was a big one. Their offices were sprinkled with crazy hairstyles, wild tattoos and uber-hip means of self expression everywhere you looked.

They charged top dollar to their clients and prided themselves on recruiting some of the “most creative minds in the business”.

I could hardly wait to hear what their genius minds had cooked up to promote my client – a huge company in the insurance industry, who had a new executive team in place looking to shake their market up.

My client had invited me to attend because there was a great deal of money at stake, and they were worried that their big agency wasn’t “getting them.”

Turns out they were right to be worried.

The ideas that were put forward were absolutely ridiculous. For example “Let’s float 100 hot air balloons with your brand on them above the city and have people dressed like spies (like Mission Impossible) belay down ropes into the city and give away free vouchers.”

Seriously?

You have a very generous 7 figure budget to work with and this is the best your team have come up with?

“It’ll be fantastic” gushed the account manager, his platinum cufflinks gleaming in the halogen lights. “The Media will go nuts over it, and we’ve never ever done anything like this before…”

Whoa Bessie. Back up the bus.

First of all “free press coverage” does not necessarily mean sales. You hope it leads to sales, but there are a lot of “if’s” in there –”IF it gets picked up by the press, IF it gets the right media coverage, IF the segment gets in front of the right target audience, and IF that target audience then decides to pick up the phone and call. Hope is not a marketing strategy.

Sure the concept was a cool, novel idea that no one had done before, but as Tom Cruise said in the movie Jerry McGuire “Show me the money!”

Despite what the vast majority of marketers and advertising agencies would like you to believe, marketing is not art. It’s not about being cool and creative. It’s not about winning awards.

It’s about getting you sales, immediately, today, and putting money in your pocket. Period.

I can’t even tell you how many private clients have come to us with a superb looking websites which didn’t actually sell.

While it looked great, there was no marketing message that socked you between the eyeballs within the first nano second, the copy was fluffy and vague, there was no sales funnel set up, no enticing opt in magnet, no personality infused ad copy and possibly worst of all – it looked practically identical to all of their competition.

None of this was their fault. The vast majority of web designers are just that – web designers. They know how to design a great looking website, but they know nothing about selling.

The entire premise for advertising can be summed up by the cranky but profoundly talented advertising mogul David Ogilvy, who said:

“If it doesn’t sell, its not creative.”

Tell me what you think

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