Tag Archives: iPad advertising

The Leads, Part 2

What to Do With a Qualified Lead

Okay, you’ve hunkered down at your laptop on the business wires. You’ve paid particular attention to your niche industries. You’ve combed through The Book of Lists and separated the wheat from the chaff. You’ve subscribed to and tracked the trade pubs in your focus categories. This does NOT mean Adweek, Ad Age or the other advertising trade pubs. Instead, I am referring to Restaurant News, if you are focusing on the dining category or retailwire.com if you are chasing Big Boxes. And, finally, a tactic I am quite fond of, you have attended trade shows/conventions in your sweet spot industries (what a great opportunity to canvas an entire category — like a all-star summer camp for a basketball recruiter). You evaluate, qualify and prioritize your list of leads — now what? This is usually the juncture where paralysis sets in.

Moving on a qualified lead is a lot like dating (which ironically, I was never very good at). There is an unwritten protocol, a decorum. This is my attempt at writing said unwritten protocol. Here’s 6 Things to Avoid in the dating/qualified prospect outreach process. (Let’s have some fun with this).

1. The Wichita Lineman — Avoid repeated phone calls. There’s a fine line between stalking a qualified lead and nurturing a potential relationship.  Constant calling is a sure-fire way to get your calls screened out. Instead, deploy a holistic communications strategy; including emails, direct mail, hand-written notes and modest gifts (I like to send food, like sopressata, especially if it’s an Italian guy — everyone likes free food, if it’s good).

The great Jimmy Webb (MacArthur Park, Worst That Could Happen, By the Time I Get to Phoenix) wrote Wichita Lineman. It was first recorded by Glen Campbell in 1968 and ascended to #3 on the Billboard charts.  (Jimmy Webb-Wichita Lineman)

2. He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother — Don’t get too personal, especially with what you send out. I mean a little sopressata among paisanos is one thing; but bringing race, religion or politics into the mix (especially early in the sales cycle) is a no-no. Just because you read that your prospect is a member of the local Christian CEO Bible study, stay away from the John 3:16 stuff for now. And please, stay apolitical — there’s enough of that everywhere you turn. Finally, whatever you do, keep race entirely out of it (most minority CEO’s and Marketers are whiter than you’ll ever be). In short,  don’t be smarmy. Instead, send your prospect tickets to a ballgame.

The Hollies were underrated hit makers (“Bus Stop”, “Long Cool Woman”). They were finally inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame this past  March 2010 (what took them so long?). I love the way they harmonized. Some bits of trivia on He Ain’t Heavy  and The Hollies: the song was actually first recorded by Neil Diamond, and was certain to be a huge hit on the heels of Cracklin’ Rosie — but the album’s release bogged down and the Hollies version hit the airwaves first and became gigantic. Also, guess who’s playing the piano? None other than a young Sir Elton John. Finally, the group took its name as an homage to Buddy Holly. (He Ain’t Heavy)

3. I Don’t Wanna Know (the reasons why) — No potential customer or partner wants to be viewed as a sales lead, qualified or otherwise. Avoid technobabble like, “I noticed you opened our last email and clicked all the way through”, or “thanks for visiting our web site recently”.  It just feels gooey. Instead, tell them your sister attended their alma mater (it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a sister, at least that’s better than making the prospect feel like you’ve got them on the GooCam}.

Buckingham Nicks was one of my favorite bands. It’s not that they had a string of big hits — they didn’t until they became Fleetwood Mac. But the relationship between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks was touching. They loved and needed each other. They relied upon each other, in life and onstage. I liked their thing better than John & Yoko’s. It just felt more genuine to me. No trivia here, just a great song from a great relationship (Fleetwood Mac-I don’t want to know).

4. The Great Exaggerator — Does anything turn off people faster than some blowhard inflating their statistics or case studies? Or distorting sales numbers beyond belief (“same store sales went up 52% and brand recall hit 111%”). Instead, leave numerology out of the relationship entirely. It’s just a number and it doesn’t solve the prospect’s problem. Instead, give the credit to your client who trusted you with his business and acknowledge his courage.

Soul Asylum is a curious case for the ephemerality of the alternative music machine. They went from cult icons to mainstream hit makers in the 90’s. And then, with the advent of the internet as the primary server of pop, they vanished into the millenium; until they resurfaced in 2006 with a polished album of mature, adult rock n’ roll (talk about a triple oxymoron). Well, I liked it anyway. (Soul Asylum-Great Exaggerator)

5. Nowhere Man“…doesn’t have a point of view/knows not where he’s going to./Isn’t he a bit like you and me?”. How many salesmen try to hit on this prospect? Hundreds? Try thousands, annually. You are just drone. Sales babble. An uninvited guest. Or worse, a gate-crasher. So you have 2 minutes to cut through the clutter. Telling the prospect what he already knows won’t cut it. Somehow, you need to make an impression. And you only have one chance to make a first impression. Be a personal brand. Have an informed, educated and insightful opinion. Stand for something so when you call back, he’ll think, “oh yeah, that’s the guy who…”

Don’t you wish we could just freeze-dry John Lennon, Brian Wilson and Bob Dylan in 1965? Those guys wrote songs then like it was an international competition, one trying to outdo the other. While not as adventurous as Strawberry Fields Forever or A Day in the Life; Nowhere Man remains perhaps Lennon’s most autobiographical work. It was the first Beatles song entirely devoid of romance or love. Everyone knows their version, which is sung in sublime three-part harmony. But my second favorite rendition is Paul Westerberg’s solo version, which can be found on the brilliant I Am Sam soundtrack. (Paul Westerberg-Nowhere Man)

6. Burning Questions — Every sales coach in the world preaches the power of the leading question…the closing question…the burning question. Is there anything more ingratiating than a salesman who calls you and asks a question ending with the word “correct” (you know, like “Mr. Palma, your investment portfolio is underperforming, correct?” I refuse to answer any question ending with “correct?”). Throw the old book out. Stop being presumptuous and borderline rude. It’s early in the sales cycle. The most incendiary  question is, doubtlessly, “What is your budget?”. Think about it — you’re like a guy on the street (except you’re not even on the street, you’re on the phone) and you stop someone and ask, “Hey, how much money do you have?” “Can I have some? I’ll help you make more”. Instead, keep your early questions big picture, like: “What’s your vision short-term?”

Just for fun, 5 Questions to Avoid on a First Date:

  1. “Do you eat beef?”  (ice water, menus)
  2. “Do you believe in the single-bullet theory?”  (first drink: Single Malt scotch on the rocks — an ill-advised play on the word “single”)
  3. “Are they real?”  (wine, with dinner)
  4. “Have you ever been to DUI school?”  (more wine)
  5. “I’m going to Havana, you wanna go?  (black coffee, 10 p.m.)

Nobody talks about Graham Parker, so I will. While his contemporaries, Springsteen and Costello went on to mega-stardom, he still loads out his own gear at NY-area club gigs. I always thought he had similar talent. Blame it on a simple twist of fate. Enjoy this clip from a Letterman appearance to promote his 1992 album, Burning Questions:

The Leads, Part One

Follow the Money

Identifying and tracking a lead is like trying to find out the real truth about anything — start by following the money. Does it surprise anyone that one of our planet’s largest depositories of gold and precious metals was housed in the basement vaults beneath the World Trade Center? Or should we be surprised that certain politicians (Vice Presidents, for instance) profit lavishly from war? Or that insurance company CEO’s had a very good decade? Stop me now before Omnicom begins monitoring my content.

You can call me a conspiracy theorist, but that’s what they want you to think.

While there is a dearth of creativity in the world today, there is no dearth of financial news and reporting. Therein lies the gold mine of new business leads. The Wall Street Journal refuses to give away its content for free. Why? Because their stock-in-trade is valuable content/information that most of the business community cannot live without. The business/financial wire services are rife with leads, almost hourly. The trickle down effect from the venerable WSJ to your local business rag is instructively correlative. Most of us (smaller creative agencies) can’t chase every NASDAQ bubble stock, but we can track our local business chronicle for cash infusions, venture capital and newly budgeted product or service launches. And I’ve found that many of these boons are often connected to a larger financial trend in that particular category or niche industry.

So I launch this series with an almost anachronistic notion — go back to basics and study the national and local business journals. Focus on categories that best fit your experience. Keep a folder/binder of financial bubbles and trends in your categories. It occurred to me that if everyone spent as much time on the business news wires online as they do on Facebook — maybe they wouldn’t need to be tweeting for dollars or relying on social media to do their job for them. I’ve found that the majority of leads I’ve generated from social media ultimately became tire-kickers, or worse, underfunded marketers looking for an agency to magically feed the multitudes with fishes and loaves. Wouldn’t you rather follow the money and try to control your fate than be at the mercy of Twitterdom? What appears to be the land of milk and honey may just be a mirage.

I like to hole up with The Book of Lists and a Cuban cigar and play bounty hunter. Every metropolitan market has a Book of Lists published by the local business journal. It may be the most underutilized tool in the new business community. For small agencies, I like the Fastest Growing Companies list. I also like the listings of VC firms. For another angle, try the Best Places to Work. There is a good chance that companies who are good to their employees, are probably good to their vendors and strategic/creative alliances. I like to read the bios of the top executives, because what’s at the top usually trickles down.

A few business development database companies have lead services. I haven’t found them to be completely reliable, but the best of these is Access Confidential (www.accessconfidential.com). Actually, what I like best about AC is their combined news wire service. It draws upon tens of thousands of news wire stories and archives them in one handy database. Like LexisNexis on steroids.

There are other services dedicated exclusively to lead generation for ad agencies — these are usually the product of someone else doing this very same homework for you. You could do the same thing for yourself if you weren’t on Facebook telling all your “friends” how smart or cool you are. Or tweeting. Or blogging. Or wallowing in LinkedIn, the land of the unemployed and disenfranchised shill. Most of these agency-focused lead services just comb the wires for press releases of announcements like new CMO hires. But, I’ve followed up on many of these so-called leads from pubs like Pearlfinders and The Delaney Report and usually the “lead” has been so bombarded by agency outreach that they have already retreated to their underground asylum. Think about it, you are paying to share leads with hundreds of agencies. I consider a new hire an okay lead.  But, I’d rather follow the money, it almost always leads to the truth.

Next: Action — what to do with a good lead.

The Leads, The Leads, The Leads

Finding and Qualifying Actionable Leads for Your Creative Agency

David Mamet may very well be the voice of our generation, perhaps the most riveting social commentator of the past 35 years. Playwrights inherit a unique responsibility to the masses. It is incumbent upon the playwright to hold a mirror up to society and reveal to us for the first time who we really are. They accomplish this by delivering insights into ourselves that we cannot see without their plot and character development. They also inherit the kindred spirit of the Bard of Avon, who held up said mirror better than anyone.

Mamet writes dialogue (“Mamet speak”) in the same familiar manner that we speak today — just as Hemingway wrote in the vernacular of his time, 80 some odd years ago (strangely, at least to me, Papa’s novels now read the same way an early Springsteen record sounds —embarrassingly dated). But, reading Mamet’s works can only help us write more effectively for today’s intense staccato marketplace, and therefore, communicate better to it. Seeing his films can only increase our creativity. But, experiencing one of his plays as a live performance can transform us. To study a Mamet script is a journey into the art of communicating — his tales totally rely upon minimalist but colorful language and dialogue. I confess, I find it mildly interesting that Mamet, Hemingway and Springsteen all sported beards (and for that matter, Shakespeare, too).

Glengarry Glen Ross, perhaps Mamet’s best known work, is particularly relevant to agency new business. The action is primarily centered upon “leads”, ultimately the Glengarry leads. New business professionals must accept that they are first in the lead generation business. As much as we are now grounded in a search engine-based marketplace, we cannot simply blog & tweet and sit and wait for an email response to our latest newsletter. Or just track the daily click-throughs to our website. Social media doesn’t replace the need to generate and act upon leads, it augments it. It’s another road, not the only road. At some point, we must make a sales call and ask for the meeting — or send a sales email requesting the same.

Everyone’s favorite scene in Glengarry Glen Ross seems to be the 7 minute “motivational” speech Alec Baldwin delivers to the boiler room of a real estate telephone sales team (whose members include some of the finest actors of the era — Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey, Ed Harris — none of whom wore beards, except Pacino in Serpico). It’s a tour de force performance, with several lines forging their way into the lexicon of the contemporary sales and marketing person (“Coffee is for closers”, “Always be closing”,  “Get them to sign on the line which (sic) is dotted”, “The leads are weak? You’re weak!”). I also find it mildly interesting that Springsteen and Serpico briefly wore a similar wool hat.

This post and this video introduce a new series of original Palma content. In the coming days we will examine Leads. We’ll discuss what they are, where to find them, how to qualify them, what makes them actionable and how to act on them. There are a lot of lead generation services available to our industry, most of them are bogus or watered-down. It’s our responsibility to ultimately be our own lead generation service, and it’s easier and more effective than you may think. Enjoy the Baldwin clip and the forthcoming series.

GSD&M Idea City Welcomes Mike Wilson as Chief Creative Officer

As a bookend to the previous Guy Bommarito post, I am pleased and proud to spread the good news coming out of Austin, TX. Following a 5-month national search that included a handful of the top creative leaders in the industry, GSD&M Idea City found their man, Mike Wilson.  I placed Wilson in one of his first  jobs, moving him to Atlanta from NYC in the early-1990’s as a bantam copywriter. We’ve remained in touch over the years.  There are many things to like about Mike — his demeanor and talent notwithstanding. But, what I like best about him is that we both share the same alma mater, Iona College in New Rochelle, NY, where Mike lettered on the varsity hockey team.

Here is a great article on Mike and the agency in this week’s Austin Business Journal:  http://bit.ly/bD2MKx

And here’s the official release from the Idea City newsroom:

Mike Wilson has joined GSD&M Idea City as chief creative officer. In his new role, Wilson will lead all creative efforts and output for the agency.

Prior to GSD&M, Wilson served as EVP/chief creative officer at Dentsu America where he handled brands including Toyota and Canon. Prior to that, Mike held creative leadership positions at Ogilvy & Mather/NY where he worked on Kodak, American Express Blue, DHL, Jaguar, WebMD, KFC International, Suave, Hershey’s and Duracell.

“Mike can help us make a great difference for our clients and our agency. He has the experience and approach to lead our creative efforts and build on our current focus and momentum,” said Duff Stewart, president and CEO of GSD&M Idea City. “Great work is the lifeblood of an agency and as we work to grow our clients’ businesses and compete in a changing environment, Mike will be a vital part of our creative vision for clients and for our agency.”

After a brief stint on Wall Street, Wilson dove into the advertising world. Over the course of his career, he has won dozens of awards for creativity and effectiveness including two Gold Effies for Kodak and a Silver Effie for DHL.

“Having worked on everything from big, international brands to small, targeted PSAs, Mike understands the changing dynamics of marketing and advertising and has a track record of bringing out the best in those he works with,” continued Stewart. “He’s a great fit with our agency. From the moment we met him, he felt like one of us.”

Wilson attended The University of Texas at Austin where he competed on the men’s national championship swim team. He transferred to Iona College where he completed a dual degree, earning a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in English.


Guy Bommarito Tells Us What We Don’t Know

The Return of The Prodigal Son

The first time I heard Guy Bommarito’s voice was in 1992. He was just named the new ECD of a regional agency with about 100 employees in Austin, TX — GSD&M. They were Longhorns long on ambition to become a great creative agency. They were good — but Guy wanted them to be great. Like Bogusky, his commitment to attracting top talent from the best agencies in America was unwavering.

GSD&M’s creative goal was to do the best broadcast of any agency outside of NY or Chicago. At the time, great print advertising was coming out of Minneapolis and Richmond — both cities had thriving, robust ad communities. So for the first time, great work was being heavily awarded and highly recognized from outside of the major hub cities. But, the big broadcast was still being created in NY and Chicago (and to some degree, San Francisco). There were few agencies doing national TV in the regions — and what little there was didn’t match the creative level of the Print coming out of Minneapolis and Richmond.

GSD&M changed that. And Guy Bommarito was the force behind it, with the courage to act upon the vision of recruiting top talent to Austin — a fertile creative Petri dish of a city (State Capitol, State University, thriving music scene). A lot of guys talked about doing this, and a few (like Doner) were able to produce good broadcast sporadically. But, This Guy was In Love With You if you had a great reel and skin thick enough to be a creative cowboy — you were hired. So in the ensuing years, dozens of Palma people loaded up the Bekins moving van and sought gold (pencils) in them hills of the land of the Longhorns. And memorable TV campaigns followed.

Recently, Guy addressed his native Houston’s Ad Club.  Here’s the video from the speech, the return of the prodigal son:

Guy Bommarito is a free-lance writer/creative director living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is probably best known for his tenure at GSD&M where, as executive creative director, he was named to Adweek’s Creative All-Star teams twice, and Graphis magazine named GSD&M one of the top ten most creative agencies in the world. He can be reached at guybom@comcast.net.

Creative Musings, Part II

If you’re any good at what you do, you were at the beach last week. But, as Lou Reed says, “some folks like us/we gotta work”. Either way, you’re reading this now. Let’s see; birds are flapping oily wings in The Gulf (they may fly north this winter), the Dow dipped under 10, we survived the global calamity known as the Fifa World Cup (their referees make our baseball umpires look pretty good), and Larry King may open a bagel store. You haven’t missed much.

Don’t you feel like marketing has become so “targeted” that if you’re not a Facebook fan of a brand, you’re nothing?  If we are what we eat, what am I, chopped liver? Do me a favor, if I ever become a fan of Jiffy Auto Lube (Become a fan of Jiffy Lube), please shoot me and put me out of my misery. You have my permission. I just need an oil change.

It’s times like these when we need Cliff Freeman more than ever. When was the last time you saw a really funny ad? Unless you think Betty White getting hammered into the mud is funny: video.  Or a semi-racist pot shot at Western Asians: video (where’s the whistle-blowing FCC? — oh, in Washington, duh). Or a beer ad where some modern-day Blutarsky wreaks massive destruction on the neighborhood cookout.

Since it’s summertime, everyone does a summer reading list. So I won’t. But, here’s a shortlist download of my favorite summer-themed songs for your iPod:

When you buy a pound of Swiss cheese at the deli, do they factor in the holes?

I’ve never been to Cannes. My main interest in titanium is at the end of a Callaway Grafalloy shaft. The notion of a “Titanium” award seems a little too self-important to me anyway. But, I do love going to NYC in early May for The One Show. The notion of a Gold Pencil feels a lot more in line with our industry than a Titanium “Lion”. Although it does look a little like the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, so maybe it is aptly named. The One Show is the substance; Cannes, the style. I do, however, get this feeling that the Ticonderoga #2 may soon appear on the endangered species list.

Bogusky leaves MDC. What was the over/under on how long Alex would hunker down on a corporate job? If you had the over and 5 months, you lost. My prediction is he soon shows up on TV with his own show. He’ll be like Donny Deutsch, except interesting.

Actually, I think the most interesting guy in our industry is Roy Spence of GSD&M. Roy is a larger-than-life personality in an era of very small ad men. For good summer reading, try his book on purpose-based branding, It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: itsnotwhatyousell.com

I’m shuffling off to Shutter Island for my vacation. Ttyl.

The New Toys: a creative director’s perspective on digital advertising

In early May, I read an Adweek creative feature on the first generation of iPad marketing efforts. As a believer that the iPad will revolutionize Print advertising, I was especially interested in the initial work and what creatives thought about the new medium (as well as all the other “new toys”). Lo and behold, in the lead paragraph of the article was an enlightening quote from Michael Ancevic, a Palma person and GCD at Mullen in Boston.  Here’s the article: Born-Again Ads

I first discovered Michael’s work in the old Print Design Annual in the late-90’s. His work was highly conceptual with a special design sense. He was just a kid at a little agency in Milwaukee but I could tell he had a great touch so I recruited him to a well-known creative power in San Francisco. He turned up at Mullen a few years thereafter.

When I read what Michael had to say in the Adweek story, I was anxious to get him to write more about it for mikepalma.com. He said, “We felt we were doing something that’s going to change everything. … It’s print on steroids.” I was curious as to what the best creatives had to say about the new tools. I wanted someone who is actually using the new tools well to give us their perspective. There’s so much crap in the blogosphere about digital and social — the Shaman and false prophets. Here’s a guy who’s doing it, and doing it well and here’s what he’s got to say:

The New Toys

by Michael Ancevic

“When Michael (Palma) asked me to write in this space on the new toys — by the “new toys”, we mean the plethora of digital assets now available to us as marketers and advertisers these days — I was so enthused that I am writing this post on my vacation. For me, these “toys” mean that we are living in an incredibly exciting time to be a creative person or a marketer because these amazing new channels are now available to us to create and market in.

I have thought about this subject a fair amount lately as it relates to creativity and to marketing and orchestrating brand experiences and communications. I can tell you this: as a creative, once you first get exposed to the new toys there is a bit of an overwhelming sensation that initially sets in…this is mostly because it’s NEW of course. Once you get used to that, there is another wave of fear because there is another new toy coming at you every few days once you are aware of them. But I can say that once you get past the initial fear and embrace and roll with all of them, it becomes very exciting. There is a continuous supply of new toys…learn to love this and get comfortable with it—as it turns out, the ability to continually embrace change is also one of the new toys.

I recently did a campaign launch that included the following mix: 3 ads on the much-anticipated first ever iPad issue of Wired Magazine, an augmented reality site (that we used traditional magazines to drive traffic to), Facebook engagement ads, online ads, a social media crowdsourcing platform, a YouTube channel upgrade, 60, 30, and 15 second national tv spots, magazine ads and pr blog outreach. This was a very exciting campaign to be a part of. In fact, when the iPad ad first came out last month, I felt like a junior creative who just had his first ad published in a magazine and was looking at it for the first time at Borders!

We have also done projects with many microsites, mobile WAP sites and a purely social media launches—this is all from a person who came from the “traditional” ad background mind you– and believe me, as a creative person, I could not have imagined this 5 years ago. Or even imagined how to think this way let alone be able to speak to clients with any sense of expertise or authority. But today, it gets my heart racing and I love it. I now look at advertising truly as a brand orchestrator, applying just the right amount of violin here, and cello there, with a mix or horns and drums occasionally with a whole host of additional instruments. Sometimes we even smash the instruments. It’s different every time. The fact is, that we can now reach audiences in so many different ways and reach audiences that are living in so many different places.

I hear a lot of people saying that you have to just be thinking in social media, or in digital these days…you even hear people who aren’t interested in the new toys at all saying that you should still just be thinking in TV and print. For me the new toys are part of a well-balanced media diet that we are carefully feeding to the consumer in a way that is strategically relevant and brand appropriate…it’s not all or nothing. Once you embrace this well-balanced diet thinking and go for the ride, you will find it to be not only unbelievably powerful but also unbelievably fun. The new marriage of media types and creative types is very exciting and I believe it’s critical to success today. Next time you sit down with a new creative brief, invite some new faces into the room. It might make you uncomfortable at first but just go for it, it will re-invigorate you and hopefully your clients will love you (even more) for it!

Turns out the new toys are actually incredibly powerful new tools! Go out and use them.”

Michael Ancevic is an SVP Group Creative Director at Mullen in Boston where he has helped shape the strategy and creative on many of the agency’s brands. He has also judged some shows and won some stuff along the way.