Dialogue Marketing Trumps Monologue Marketing Everytime

Friend of AdPulp (FOP), Tom Asacker wrote something I like a lot.

Don’t look for breakthrough insights in outdated processes like “inventory control” and “advertising.” Instead, study those businesses that actually broke with conventional wisdom and discovered new ways to get closer and closer to the customer. And for the record, I am not saying “don’t advertise.” Not advertising is like winking at a beautiful girl in a dark room. YOU know what you’re doing, but she hasn’t a clue.

I’m in a reflective mood tonight, so I want to explore this getting close to the customer thing.
This morning I was privately puzzling over why an agency of any stripe would call itself an “ad agency” at this point in time. All agencies that intend to thrive today are no longer ad agencies, rather they’re media labs. An ad, by definition, is a come on. It’s something to avoid. A media lab doesn’t just make ads, it creates brand experiences online and off. These experiences, unlike ads, are for the most part desired. Hence, the customer and the brand get cozy.
Who among us would prefer to make things no one likes, that sends customers running fast in the other direction? No thank you.
Asaker says break with conventional wisdom. I broke with my own years ago, when I committed to a career in marketing services, also known as below-the-line activity. Promo hacks and event marketers don’t often get superior–the black turtleneck wearers of Madsion Avenue pretty much take care of that–but there is a case to be made. Here it is: The brand and customers don’t talk inside magazines and televisions. Wherever they do come together and talk–at brand-sponsored events for instance, or online–that’s clearly the superior place.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.