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On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. -David Ogilvy What is Your Headline? Content Marketing School: David Ogilvy Series – Sucking at the Teet of Advertising By, Carl Hartman. President, Brand.gineering.org [IMAGE ABOUT MESSAGE] This series of articles looks at quotes from one of the advertising giants, David Ogilvy, and some of the logic behind his wisdom and why it still holds true today. Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving. David Ogilvy Are you Sucking at the Tit of Marketing or Do You Just Suck?

We often get asked about the first steps in advertising. At most agencies you’ll get surrounded by an account executive and the meter starts running, creative gets churned out. When I was a senior executive at a TV network one of the first huge projects I was assigned was about one year into a five year contract for 54 finished episodes and four were started but not finished. During that year management was so excited about the project that they had producers shooting short segments of the program to show off, but nothing was really completed. My first task was to stop everything and get everything moving in the right direction. No real foundation had been laid at the beginning. People at the very top were so anxious to see something quickly, everyone forgot the goal. This may sound like a crazy, big corporation scenario, but small businesses do it every day. Activity should never be mistaken for results. Bad business practices are one of the leading reasons for business failure; if you suck, there is no reason to spend money on marketing. Are You Sick? Getting a Real Diagnosis… “The relationship between a manufacturer and his advertising agency is almost as intimate as the relationship between a patient and his doctor. Make sure that you can life happily with your prospective client before you accept his account.” David Ogilvy Before we get out the analytics software so we can build and measure, there are two important elements to adjust in the enterprise. Most of the time what I will discuss is not done by an ad agency; generally because it does not make them any money. They make a profit based on billable hours. Ogilvy is right, in order to improve we need to test; however, your analytics should start with your core business systems, automation, productivity, leadership and mindset before you do anything else. The best product marketing in the world is sabotaged when you suck! Don’t like that word? Then, maybe you have some serious pain points and are not telling yourself the truth. Keep advertising until you run out of money. That is what happens when YOU lie to yourself. Kill your own business, if you like or level up. Providing full disclosure, we do make money on billable hours for creative; however, we do the following two major overhauls first, preceded by a business review or diagnosis, just like your doctor. This is the process we suggest… Diagnostics – Getting the Real Truth… Just like going to the doctor for a physical, tests are performed to establish a baseline. This can be extremely uncomfortable for a business because it brings out truths about where it may be sick – let’s just say it, the analysis tells the truth about where you suck. Members of the band aid culture that are happy to mask their business cancer must level up or be shown the door. There are always a lot of excuses or reasons why business owners and staff tell stories or rationalize behaviors. However, we define all of these as lies. I know that sounds brutal, it is meant to sound brutal; but it is a fact. Exposing the lies allow us to discover the truth. Absolute integrity in our business logic, business systems, mindset, methods and automation is critical. Imagine the gas station attendant charging you for a full tank of gas, telling you that you have a full tank of gas; just to discover when you are on the highway you have almost no gas. That lie took away more than your money and fuel, it robbed you of your power. Lies rob us of our power to conduct business. I am not suggesting your staff are being malicious; but, the excuses, reasons, stories and lies are there. When the lab tests come back the illness is revealed and the excuses or bad habits have to stop.   Business Systems “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.” David Ogilvy No matter how good we are at being a doctor, software engineer or plumber, that ability or intellectual property must be sold; and, in order to sell the core business systems in place before the marketing can have the optimum impact. The disturbing part of many business managers is that they think about advertising before having anything else. Cash Flow & Finance – The average business owner does not know how to read financial reports or organize their business for optimum cash flow. Knowing who to ask and what to ask are critical. (Never as a CPA, they are concerned with taxes, not cash flow). Reports we generate for our clients actually provide context so they can understand the state of their business. Never bury your head in the sand; being truthful allows you to make intelligent decisions. Business Systems & Automation – When your installed your first accounting software or created our first electronic sales order, you started your business systems. Those were the first steps some kind of organization. It may sound simplistic, but many organizations are leaving a lot of money on the table when they are not creating repeatable systems that allow them to put their intellectual and creative power in to critical areas of their business. Production – This is often business specific; that is why we use highly experienced on-site coaches with industry specific knowledge to review all the business systems and automation and implement solutions; if you don’t have a coach, you need one. Analytics – Cleaning up your game in business systems and automation provides the business owner the luxury of measuring productivity, the impact of marketing, and important metrics that provide information on which to make critical, daily business decision. Often times, when a business is bleeding cash or there are losses, this is the first place to check. Advertising, without good business systems and metrics can actually mask the true source of business problems. Leadership & Mindset “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.” David Ogilvy We set several of the MBAs on our staff out to research this topic. We’ve even seen several leaders and CEOs on LinkedIn make foolish statements that acknowledge the importance of mindset on success, just to follow up with the statement that basically says, “I don’t care. It’s not my problem.” Are you really that stupid? This is the kind of absolute bullshit that I have found – Workplaces Aren’t Creating High Well-Being, by Jim Clifton, CEO Gallup (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/workplaces-arent-creating-high-well-being-jim-clifton?trk=hp-feed-article-title) This kind of thinking that has screwed up corporate America. These are the for key areas of balance that need to be mentored: Body – Health and Fitness have a huge impact on how a person performs in life. Morning exercise impacts your chemical balance along with the food you put in your body. Being – The Spiritual part of who you are; the balanced person connects with this element, whatever that means for them. Balance – Relationships are key to our lives; how we conduct our personal lives, relate to our family and being present with our wife or husband; learning the discipline of being present in these relationships is key to success. Business – Performing in business, being that badass and doing the work to go out, kill the bear or lion and never blink. Regardless, without balance and focus in all core areas of our life is critical. When an individual wakes up, hits the core elements in their life before the
y leave the house, they will increase the chances of success significantly. Marketing & Advertising “You now have to decide what ‘image’ you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place.” David Ogilvy When a company has their core systems running effectively and the core areas of mindset in alignment, advertising and marketing has the biggest impact. Our approach extends beyond the creative content and to the elements that provide the highest and fastest return. This is a broad short list of balance in advertising or marketing, all of which require metrics to measure the outcomes; without good business systems, measurement is difficult. Advertising – Traditionally, we consider most advertising to be those elements that broadcast the message of a brand. Many times the control of the agency is somewhat limited in that advertising is broadcasting a wide net. This does not exclude targeted forms of advertising intended to generate leads. Marketing – Sales and marketing is more targeted and my include inbound or outbound sales, a boots-on-the-ground sales force, marketing automation and is usually based more on relationships or perceived relationships. Customer service can cross over from a sales function into public relations. Public Relations – PR extends to many elements that provide relationships or perceived relationships with the ideal customer. Given that about 80% of all sales are based on a relationship or perceived relationship, the connections made with the customer impact our least expensive and most effective form of advertising: word-of-mouth. Automation – Within the space of new technology, the Internet and social media brands must learn to connect authentically with their customers and within the space of traditional marketing, using technology to automate and measure all advertising, marketing and public relations activities. Bring in Leads – Sell to the Leads – Use the Profits to Grow the Company Lather, Rinse, Repeat While other elements exist, consider that most of what is needed falls simply into these categories. Mastering all of these will be critical to your success. Your job to generate sales will be to create a personally relevant, critical and compelling need in the mind of your customer for your product or services and then closing that sale. then, roll your knowledge, experience, power, and profits back into repeating that process at the next higher level. What is the take away? Stop sucking first! The most effective advertising happens because the company is strong and focused in the internal systems and have a mindset that fosters success. Carl Hartman is a former executive with a major American television network, reality television producer and co-founder of Brand.gineering. His best-selling book Brand.gineering: A 14-Step Powerful & Profitable Brand Development Blueprint for the Digital Marketing Age, is available FREE on our web site.