The Incompetence of General Ad Agencies
Boy’s Town Guy told us that his marketing people flatly refused to test these labels “because everybody was using them and they did not want to look like everybody else.”
One day, Boy’s Town Guy went into the mailroom and grabbed a bag of Business Reply Envelopes à la Joan Manley. To his astonishment, in the upper left corner of many of these BREs were personalized address labels sent out by competing charities. Clearly his donors had responded to this marketing technique by others.
A mailing that featured personalized address labels was tested, and it quickly became the control.
The lesson: If you are not directly in touch with your market—and are making decisions based on gut instinct—you are throwing money down the sewer.
The Dot-Com Boom/Bust
In the late 1990s, when the dot-com boom was booming, the hot-shot twentysomethings, who dictated the styles and protocols of the Web, told us old-timers in marketing that we were not needed any more.
“This is a new medium—a new paradigm—and old rules no longer apply,” was the mantra. “New rules are needed, and we are making them up as we go.”
So we geezers cried in our martinis and waited.
In the immortal words of Emeril, “BAM!” The dot-com bubble burst, and $4 trillion disappeared into oblivion—roughly the GDPs of France and Italy combined.
It turned out these wunderkinds did not know diddly about the basics of marketing. They knew not the difference between features and benefits, nor the difference between eyeballs and paying customers, nor how to make an offer, how to ask for an order, how to make it easy to order and—above all—how to know whether their advertising was working or not.
Apparently those who advertise on the Web still don’t.
Web Marketers: Wringing Their Hands, Gnashing Their Teeth
Several stories broke this week about the trouble Web marketers have trying to measure their advertising. Emily Steel wrote in The Wall Street Journal: