Whatever Happened to Ad Campaigns?

I really wish that I could have found a better video of the original “He’s Lying” commercial. It was the first one that featured David Leisure as Joe Isuzu, one of my absolute favorite ad characters of all time. The Joe Isuzu campaign was extremely creative, highly memorable, and certainly different for the times. It carried Isuzu cars and trucks into measurable market share in the US in the late 80s and early 90s. If you think back, I’m sure you can remember other classic ad campaigns – think about Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” or almost any of Coca-Cola’s massive initiatives of the 70s and 80s.

With a few notable exceptions (I like the “Mayhem” ads), today’s advertising seems less memorable. But, perhaps it’s just that there’s so much static out there that advertising doesn’t stick anymore.  It’s likely some of both.  Marketers understand that it’s increasingly difficult to make a brand name stick with advertising.  As an example, do you know which insurance company does the Mayhem ads?  Marketers also know that today’s consumer is less likely to be influenced by push marketing (e.g. conventional advertising) and much more likely to go out and find information on his own. Hence, the trend away from advertising and towards content marketing.

Implications for MSPs

Does this have implications for  printing businesses and their efforts to provide marketing services to their customers? Yep, plenty of them.

I got the idea for this topic from a LinkedIn discussion last week in the “Market Your Printing Company” group.  If you’re not tracking that forum, you should be.  The discussion considered “next steps” for Marketing Service Providers (MSPs), essentially what was beyond the mechanics of providing implementation services for cross-channel projects. The general consensus in the conversation was that for MSP to succeed, eventually providers would have to transition from a “product” mentality to deeper engagement with their customers.  Executing a cross-channel campaign is certainly different from printing 10,000 trifold brochures, but if the service provider doesn’t have an understanding of the customer’s marketing program, they’re essentially still just producing a product.

Let’s take the idea a little further.  How much value does “campaign execution” have in an environment where there’s less emphasis on marketing campaigns and more on a continual stream of content and conversation?  While it’s premature to pronounce the death of the marketing campaign, reality is that campaigns form a part of the stream.  Marketers can certainly propose a topic and integrate their communications channels, but it’s the customer that determines traction.  Even the most traditional campaigns, like “back to school sales” become part of the conversation. Type in #BacktoSchool in Twitter search and take a look at the brands that appear – HP, Volkswagen, Walmart, Levi Strauss.

The Point

Here’s the point. It’s going to become increasingly necessary for Marketing Service Providers to understand more than the “how” of implementation.  At a minimum, they’ll need to understand how their part of the process fits into the program. They’ll need a good grasp of measures, too, and that’s difficult. In order to get real value from internal measures like opens, likes, and clicks-through; there has to be a link with customer conversion and ultimately sales and retention.  If those metrics exist, they’re probably in then hands of the Chief Marketing Officer.  The metrics that are generated by a campaign might be interesting, but they don’t have much value in isolation.

Interestingly enough, providing assistance with measures might actually be a good point of entry for service providers who are seeking a “deeper relationship.”  In a “What They Think” analysis published just this morning (CMO Challenges Create Opportunities for Service Providers), Barb Pellow writes about the difficulties that CMO’s are having with data, technology, and mission.  Engaging with a CMO to help with marketing analysis might well be a promising new avenue of business.  Joe Manus of Mindfire commented in the LinkedIn discussion that some of his customers are engaging in contracts to manage “lead nurturing,” essentially the mechanics of the marketing and sales funnel that cultivate prospects, qualify them and ultimately hand them over to sales at the proper time. He also cites a survey indicating that as many as 60% of marketers may be seeking partners to help with their transition into the ever-new age of marketing.

A Long Way Since Joe Isuzu?

David_Leisure_Joe_Isuzu_ResizedIt’s easy to say that marketing has come a long way from the days of Joe Isuzu. It’s perhaps a bit more difficult to think of the distance traveled as progress. Marketing is in a state of constant flux.  Even CMOs aren’t really sure about priorities or of the importance of service providers capabilities (see the data in the What They Think analysis).  This is both a challenge and an opportunity.  The challenge is to keep up with the speed of change, but the opportunities are significant if even 30% of marketers are really seeking help.

Somehow it reminds me of the old Alka-Seltzer jingle:

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz . . .
Oh what a relief it is!

Oh, and if you’re still wondering . . . the “Mayhem” ads are from Allstate.

What do you think?

Entering the realm of marketing services isn’t for every printing company.  If your company is in the midst of the transition, let us know what it’s like:

  1. What are the greatest challenges?
  2. What are customer expectations? Do your customers still think in terms of marketing campaigns?
  3. What do you think about the next steps beyond MSP?

DP Marketing Can Help your Printing Business

DP Marketing can help your company with marketing and with the transition to Marketing Service Provider. We’d be glad to schedule a call or Skype session to discuss your business.  There’s no risk – the first conversation is absolutely free.  For more information, please take a look at our Marketing Services for Printers page and explore our website. If you’d like to schedule a call, you can contact Richard Dannenberg by phone at 478-719-4029, by email at richard@dpmktg.com, or by filling out a Contact Request Form here on the website.