Rabbits Uncaged

Ed Cotton of Butler Shine & Stern wonders aloud how well equipped clients are to forge ahead in today’s decentralized media sphere.

Marketing departments need fundamentally new skill sets, new positions/job titles and they are also going to need some smart technology to assist them.
Given how little bandwidth most departments have these days, it’s safe to assume that there are quite a few brands out there who risk damaging their reputations because they simply aren’t structured to cope with the new era of conversation and participation.

In my experience, clients are far from ready to engage. Two-point-whatever is mostly just talk. Brand managers read the NYT and WSJ, lift the most appealing ideas, tell their agencies about them and then wait to see if the agencies can pull rabbits from their various hats. Agencies for the most part are prepared to deliver, but their rabbits run wild.
A lot of the new conversational marketing ideas require an investment in infrastructure. Without it there’s no order and no control-things most clients still desire.

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.