A 500lbs Gorilla will Beat a 100lbs Human Anytime …

Don't Sit Under a Gorilla

Calvin Warr is a long time marketing professional and has worked in global organisations in consumer electronics, telecommunications and the IT industry. I have invited him to share some thoughts about why small businesses find it so hard to see results when they spend on advertising and marketing. Hope you enjoy this.

=== ===

It is always interesting when you are in the advertising and marketing industry. We meet so many interesting people with interesting businesses and really interesting needs.Over the years, the most interesting remark we hear, and the most often, is this:

“I don’t want to waste money on advertising and marketing, it does not work for me.”

So, most of you will think that I am going to protest that this is not true. Well, actually, it is true. It is true for many reasons. It is true in many situations. It is true for many people – especially the small business entrepreneur.

A full page ad in the local papers can cost in the thousands. Radio? Don’t think about it unless you have at least $20K to spare. TV? What TV?

Any entrepreneur who has an annual turnover of less than $1m would be crazy, stupid or suicidal to even think of running an advertising campaign. If you run a small deli, do you seriously believe that you can run an advertising campaign that will beat McDonald’s down the street?

You see, that 500lbs gorilla did not want to hurt you. You just sat down at the same place. You got squashed.

How do you avoid such pain? Simple Continue reading “A 500lbs Gorilla will Beat a 100lbs Human Anytime …”

Is Facebooking Fantastic or Foolish?

My guest writer for May is an experienced marketer and publicist in the lifestyle and heritage sector, who relishes new ideas, refreshing approaches, and unconventional solutions to age-old problems. If you visit Walter Lim’s blog at Coolinsight, you will be fascinated with his candid thoughts on marketing and public relations and entertained by his many photographs taken while on business or family trips.

=== ===

Is Facebooking Fantastic or Foolish?

As anybody who has indulged in social media marketing would have known, Facebook is a fast rising star in the new media stakes. With more than 70 million active users around the world, the creation of 25 year old billionaire Mark Zuckerberg is now the 5th most trafficked site and 2nd most trafficked social media site in the world. In fact, over 20,000 applications have been built on the Facebook platform alone with 140 new applications added every day.

Facebook is hip, hot, happening and rising faster than any of its competitors for the moment. Which brings us to the question of whether we should try to muscle ourselves into the action. After all, wouldn’t it be a tragedy if you are not seen up there with the Joneses (or the Tans and Lims) with an oh-so-cool and to-die-for viral Facebook application?

Personally, I feel that the jury is still out on the effectiveness of Facebook as a marketing media. True, it is fantastic for connecting me to my long-lost ex-colleagues, classmates and old friends. It also has a huge truckload of multi-media applications, games, quizzes, wallpapers, matchmakers and goodness knows what to keep you busy for hours on end.

However, will I sign up as a member of a company’s grassroots marketing group on Facebook? Only if the benefits are exceedingly glorious. More importantly, will I attend the gazillion functions that I am invited to? Or spam all the hundreds or thousands of contacts in my list with an invitation to purchase the latest gadget, gizmo or gourmet package? Have to think hard.

At this stage, I guess the jury is still out. From what I have read, the lack of privacy for Facebook users seem to be an ongoing concern. As of now, there are already numerous Facebook groups with thousands of subscribers who declare war against companies trying to send them messages or post on their walls for commercial purposes. Relationships still matter most in Facebook, and users may be wary about “spamming” their diligently cultivated network of friends with the latest applications or games.

Having said that, there are organisations that have skillfully applied the social advantages of Facebook in furthering their agendas. Many of these are non-profit organisations, which I guess are less loathsome than the next money lusting firm on the line. Perhaps one day, people may be more open to using Facebook for transactions. For now, at least for me, just keep it strictly between me and my friends sucking the life out of each other or superpoking each other to death

[tags]Facebook, social media[/tags]

Are Clients the Devils, Buddies, UnSpeakables or Angels?

For Clients - Gun or Rose?

It’s with great pleasure that I introduce this month’s guest writer, Jef Tan.

Jef is a dear friend of mine. Not only that, he was my colleague when we worked in Pounds and Jordan. On top of that, he has been my boss. After he left P&J to start his own agency, he invited me to head his account servicing department. Those were exciting days where adredalin was perpetually high as we kept clinching coveted accounts over the big boys. It was with regrets that I left his agency to join the client side. Jef went on to make it big in the creative scene and won 3 awards from Creative Circles. However, it will be a big mistake to see Jef simply as an outstanding designer. To me, Jef is no ordinary designer. He can write excellent ad copy effortlessly to match his creative idea. He will unreservedly contribute his opinion on marketing strategies and tactics during brainstorming sessions. He is an asset in any team.

I enjoy working with Jef. When I started Versa Creations a few years, he was the only one I could entrust with the design of my corporate logo. I had expected nothing short of good work, still, he surprised me with the originality of his idea. Until now, my ambigram logo remains one of the most talk about features on my business card. Recently, David Airey – the popular designer-blogger – short-listed Versa Creations’ logo in his Logo Design Love Award.

Jef Tan is currently freelancing as an art director in Melbourne and is working on his first book. In his own words, “thankfully not about the creative industry”.

=== ===

Clients are a funny lot of people aren’t they? They are the reason why businesses like ours exist. But for most of us with the odious task of coming up with design solutions or any kind of creative work (and by that I mean, a unique genre of service where human emotion is a deciding raw ingredient), clients can sometimes force us to evaluate why we were ever in the creative business in the first place. After having spent a decade and a half in this trade, I should like to say that I’ve seen them all: clients who can bring us to the moon and back and of course, the ones that send us to the psychiatrist’s chair.

I’d like to offer a quick categorisation of the various kinds of clients that creative folks have encountered at some point of their professional lives. These are all pigeon-hole categories of course, common sense could never draw distinct lines between them all. I do this in the hope that for the younger lot of us, it might serve as some sort of an umbrella, you know, for when shit hits the fan.

The Devil

Let’s start with the worst type of all and why not? The Devil is the type of client whom you’ve come to depend on for the most part of your balance sheet. The kind that might even possibly pay well and provides enough work to keep your younger colleagues away from Facebook. This client will most likely be the one whom you’d reschedule appointments at the drop of the hat. And get this: the Devil knows all this and the evil thing is the Devil will use it to his or her advantage each and every time. Sounds familiar? You know it’s the Devil when Continue reading “Are Clients the Devils, Buddies, UnSpeakables or Angels?”

Why I would rather Hire an Ad Agency

I enjoy having guest writers to share their experience and view points here. Today, I have Calvin Warr disclosing why he prefers to hire an advertising agency compare to getting a freelancer.

Calvin has been in marketing for many years. From running his own studio to working in huge marketing teams and of course, have worked with agencies, freelancers and in-house graphics teams. He shares his thoughts and experience over at his blog where he declares “Marketing Should Be Fun”. In his own words, the funny guy “spends the rest of his time pretending to be on a diet.”

=== ===

Many small companies think that the most cost effective approach is to work with Freelancers. As a marketing professional, my take on this would be that it is the cheapest approach. When we talk about “cost effectiveness”, it is ironic that cost is only one part of the whole. And you know, that “effectiveness” part is sort of like very important.Don’t get me wrong. I love Freelancers. They are usually more creative, more daring and come up with much better ideas. Unfortunately, the one thing they do not have, is consistency. If you had a fantastic ad or poster created, then 3 months later, you want a killer direct mailer, who would you call? Why, that fantastic Freelancer, of course.

But he or she might have gotten married and moved to the Bermuda Triangle. Or found a job, at the neighbourhood deli getting great tips. You never know.

Working with agencies could be a real pain. Continue reading “Why I would rather Hire an Ad Agency”

My Thoughts as a Copywriter

Solomon Raju is a long-time reader of this blog. He has a deep passion for words and recently he has decided to go full time into professional copy-writing. In the past few months, he has gone through many ups and downs and he is sharing his thoughts here with us as my guest writer.

= = = = = =

How well known must a copywriter be to make clients consider you?

This thought strikes me often. I guess every copywriter who wants to be on his own- instead of working in an agency will at sometime or other have such thoughts. Those lucky enough to have worked on big ticket accounts in an agency, may have an advantage; but without the glitter of the large agency, he or she can also lose the advantage. Given the clients’ propensity to be overwhelmed by the size or reputation of the agency (real or perceived), it’s always a question of having some well-heeled and glib-talking or suit clad marketing professionals to win you the big accounts. But if you take some time to analyze what is said, you’ll know if the person is worth his salt:

The work speaks if you’ve the heart to listen. Continue reading “My Thoughts as a Copywriter”

Is the Television Dead?

Is TV Dead?According to AdAge.com on 17 September 2007:

Recession or not, traditional media is getting ready to feel the pain. Last week, TNS found that U.S. ad spending fell for the second quarter in a row, the first time that has happened since 2001. Depressing as it might appear, it’s a trend you might want to get used to, though not for the business-cycle reasons you might expect.

This is probably why Asgeir Hoem, an enterprising 20 years old majoring in marketing communications in Newcastle, Australia, feels that television is dead. I’m pleased to have Asgeir to share his views here as a guest writer. I’m sure we can learn something from this young man who founded his own design business in August 2006, when he was only 18 years old – an age where many are still spending their parents’ money to have fun.

=== ===

The first televisions were partially mechanical, and had motors and neon lamps in them to generate a blurry, organgeish picture that was a few centimetres wide. This was before 1935. Continue reading “Is the Television Dead?”