When I first saw “Dumb Ways to Die,” I loved it. Thought it was brilliant. Later when I heard the campaign only reduced pedestrian collisions with trains by 33% or so, I concluded it didn’t quite work as well as those of us in the ad industry were led to believe. It turns out Shane Atchison and Jason Burby had similar thoughts, and they use Dumb Ways to Die as the jumping-off point for discussion in their new book Does It Work? 10 Principles for Delivering True Business Value in Digital Marketing.
To be clear, the book doesn’t focus solely on the ROI or effectiveness of digital marketing. Rather, Atchison and Burby touch on many of the broader issues today’s agencies face, including goal setting for client campaigns, staffing, incorporating data into strategic thinking and creative, building agency culture, budgeting for innovative ideas, and yes, measuring results.
Atchison and Burby are leaders at WPP’s POSSIBLE agency, so throughout the book they incorporate many quotes from POSSIBLE employees, their clients, and other marketers. All of these add a nice complement of voices that help round out the many themes they touch upon.
Like many books written by agency heads, Does it Work? feels like a nice promotional piece for POSSIBLE’s own services. But we live in an era where many agencies are just making it up as they go along, adjusting their business model and services as needed. So there’s a lot of valuable perspective here that many other agency executives can take away and apply to their own shops. Client-side marketers can also use Does It Work? to see if their current agency partners are giving them the robust thinking they deserve. If you’re looking for good insight into the operations and thought processes of a large-scale digital agency, Does It Work? will work quite well.
Disclaimer: Special thanks to McGraw-Hill for providing me with a review copy. Also, as a freelance copywriter, I have worked with POSSIBLE on client projects.