October 27, 2008

Stop Selling. Start Asking.

Every day, I read another article about how the advertising world is changing. The advertising world is always changing. Ad Age published an article today about the broken ad model and what we should do next.

In all my years in media, I have been bombarded with people who say I am in the advertising business. The claim is often that we only care about revenue to the the detriment of the viewer/user/consumer/listener. Any company that tries to execute such a business plan is finished before starting.

Wal-Mart has done a remarkable job promoting their superior price point. Whether they have the best prices on every single item in their stores, is irrelevant. Starbucks provides a warm comfortable home-like atmosphere while you wait for your $4 pumpkin spice latte. And Jiffy Lube gets you in and out of the service bay in fifteen minutes.

Before deciding on stories and mediums and fancy slug lines, we must pay close attention to what you want to say and what you want to sell. Integration of product, client and customer are essential. But what is more important is connecting with people. “They” are not some mass of beings with no souls or faces. They are us and we are them. We are all in advertising, we are all customers, we all want solutions and stories.

In our user-generated world, it’s time for us to stop thinking we have all the answers and start asking a lot more honest questions of each other, and drop the charade that we all know what’s best.


© Kneale Mann knealemann@gmail.com people + priority = profit
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