Caught In Madison Avenue’s Cross Hairs.
Your Special Something
Bilal sells laser toners.
Only what Bilal doesn’t know is that there are people who eat guys like him as a tasty snack. They have long experience in giving him one thing and one thing only. And that is exactly what he wants to hear. It has nothing to do with sales, advertising or customers. It’s all to do with what Bilal thinks will work. He’ll be so drugged, he won’t even feel the sides of the gullet that’s swallowed him whole.
The advertising suit from Madison Avenue will come along and will have sized you up as his mark long before you’ve even sat down. The master poker player, he’s got a straight flush and you’ve got two jacks. He knows all the tricks to wheedle everything he needs from you. He’ll schmooze you and wooze you until you’re so confident that the things he’s telling you are just so right. You sign on the dotted line.
And all he’s told you is exactly what you want to hear. Nothing more, nothing less.
He goes home laughing, you go home poorer. You think you’ve won, and he knows he’s won. There’s a difference between thinking and knowing. One’s the winner and one’s the loser. I know how these things are done, and that’s why I don’t do them. That’s why there’s a very good chance you won’t like me. That’s just fine by me, I’d rather start out with you knowing that, okay?
Because I’ve just spent an hour trying to convince Bilal that he’s got the wrong end of the stick. He wants to know how much cheaper he should be to get sales. If that’s not the wrong end of the stick, I’m in the wrong business. He gives me all the useless details of his product that only make it less interesting. Because I don’t care about the fiddly niggles of powders and free servicing. I want to know what makes Bilal’s business stand out.
Because that’s what’ll sell. Shift palletloads of toners.
Why Gary Fetches Beers During The Commercials.
All those commercials are talking to Bilal and not Gary who’s just about to walk into the kitchen. Who’s buying? Bilal or Gary? Cos Gary’s grabbing beers while the TV drones and the colours splash across the carpet. If it’s Gary you’re speaking to, he’s not there.
If you want to make a difference, you have to speak to his back.
And that’s where I come in. I have the inventiveness to make advertisements that get Margie to shout out “Gary! come and see this! It’s better than the sitcom!” I didn’t say I’d done it, I said that I can. Whether it’s short snappy taglines or coloured skirts floating on a washingline in Havana, I can grab their attention. What’s more I’ll do it in a way that they’ll enjoy.
I don’t give two hoots if you don’t like them. I don’t care if I don’t. Because this isn’t about me and it isn’t about you. It’s about the people who buy the stuff you sell. You don’t buy it and neither do I. Or at least in the quantities you need to sell to keep your business afloat.
Slicing Into A Commodity Market.
Laser toners are one of the real commodity products on the face of this planet. They have to be the same and they have to perform adequately – otherwise they simply don’t work! That’s when they get sent back! That’s not how to do business! Yet it seems to be the business model of choice out there right now. And Bangladeshis are trapped in collapsed buildings because some owner was trying to cut costs (which means cutting corners).
So let’s get real. Let’s sell to your strengths. Sure, they’re small and they’re insignificant. That’s not the point. This is the counterpoint to my other piece that I wrote this evening. It doesn’t matter how small it is, it matters how different it is. It means practically nothing in every-day terms. Yet it means all the difference to the people who really want the things that you do. The things you do every fucking day, day in and day out. Those boring things you rarely take any notice of because they’re so ordinary.
Yet to your best customers, it’s that one thing they come back for more of.
Because I don’t get bogged down with advertising methodologies. My laser targeted insights sear down to the core of your business, and I work everything out from that. And believe me, there aren’t many who can do that. I don’t cobble strategies together and hope for the best. I take what you do best and speak to those who like it most. From there, you can do almost anything. Everything you do with it is money well spent.
You want the kind of advertisement where Gary wants to miss the cliffhanger just in case your ad’s broadcast again!
Never play poker with a Madison Avenue suit. Lose to your customers instead. It’s a lot more fun and you’ll both win.
There’s a link to my contact page. Use it. Unless your name’s Bilal, that is. I’m not a good match, okay?
Actually, don’t use my contact page link, I’ve retired. Sorry. I would like to add that this is a little upbeat for the toner market. People really are looking at price and don’t give a sh*t about service. Customers I’m afraid are becoming as bad as the advertisements they are conned by.