"I don't want to f-ing prove anything to anybody. I just want to execute and build businesses." –Gary Vaynerchuk

Content #ftw - Vol. 1, No. 2

15 May 2012

Sell To People's Emotions

Kevin Allen, who helped his agency win the MasterCard account, suggests in Harvard Business Review that we win, or lose, new business pitches by uncovering the hidden agendas that always lie beneath every purchase decision. "Too many pitches are lost because the people undertaking them think — erroneously — that the business matters at hand are the only relevant issue," Allen writes. "Deep desires, often unspoken — like the desire to be recognized, to feel appreciated, to create something, to be admired, to lead, to feel safe and secure — are fundamental to any business decision. The business issue and the hidden agenda are intertwined." Allen recounts that MasterCard's hidden agenda was to finally score a victory over Visa, which they did once McCann's "Priceless" campaign was unleashed on the world. 

This practice of identifying the prospect's soft spots and playing to them sounds manipulative, and I would argue that there's some degree of manipulation in many transactions between people. But Allen says you don't close a deal "because you've twisted someone's arm, but because people see that you understand them, that you've applied the time and the sensitivity to do so, and that you possess a special gift that can help them reach their heart's desire." By correctly identifying a prospect's emotional needs, you do convey an understanding and empathy. It's easy to see the social awkward fumble at this, just as it is fascinating to watch one who is skilled in the persuasive arts weave their spell.

It's Time For A Slow Web Movement

The Web moves too fast. Our brains, eyes, fingers, necks and backsides struggle to keep pace. You'd think we'd have the sense to step off the digital hamster wheel, but it is a bit more complicated than that. Studies show that getting a fresh hit off the Web releases dopamine into the body, and once a user gets used to that high of new information, he soon needs to feel it and fill it again. The problem with this is people turn into digital zombies. Like this dude, profiled by The New York Times Magazine in a piece on the 24-hour news cycle. He's might be proud of his achievements, but working 16 hours to produce some 15 blog posts for your employer's mediocre website isn't smart or healthy. 

Aran Levasseur
, the Academic Technology Coordinator at San Francisco University High School, says "moments of not-doing are critical for connecting and synthesizing new information, ideas and experiences." Dr. Michael Rich of Harvard medical School says, "downtime is to the brain what sleep is to the body."

I am compelled to ask, are you getting enough downtime? Because a report from the University of California/San Diego says, in just 28 years -- from 1980 to 2008 -- our consumption of information has increased 350 percent. It's time to realize the need for restraint. For me, I decided to cut back on my daily production at AdPulp, shutter Liquid Oregon and Leftover Cheese, shut down extraneous email feeds, dismantle Google+ and delete much of the noise in my Twitter streams. Your solution will look different than mine, but I'm guessing you too may be seeking a similar solution. 

Back From The Push Back 

I made it a point last month to take a real vacation. Otherwise, I might suffer from Fast Web Syndrome (see above) for realz. Rest assured, I am now refreshed and ready to field your copy needs. You do have copy needs? Give me a ring at 503-970-3862.

Friday morning, April 13 in Tiburon, California

There's No Return from The Hackery

I have been watching "Mad Men" since its July 2007 debut on AMC. Now, in its fifth season, the main characters are maturing, not always in a good way. Don Draper, for instance, had a glimmer in his eye in early seasons, but now he's a washed up hack, staying late at the office to pilfer through his talented young copywriter's ideas and see if he might form some of his own. He then presents his big idea to the team the next day like it just occurred to him, and since he's the boss, he decides to go with his idea to the client, and one other idea from the kid, Ginsberg. Except that he leaves the other idea in the cab on the way to the client meeting, sells his own idea and then brushes it off as no big deal when Kid Copy confronts him. 

Business is competitive and competitive people have been known to do cutthroat things. Which is why it was smart of AMC to move their other advertising-related show, "The Pitch" to the time slot right after "Mad Men" on Sunday night. Sadly, "The Pitch" is a mockery of our business, which isn't exactly the sexiest business on the creative block these days.

What I saw in last night's episode, the fourth episode to air thus far, was people acting on stupid pills. The client, popchips, asks for a viral video, which is equivalent to asking for the invention of the iPhone. So, the two agencies head back to their respective offices to conjure up this viral sensation which will catapult popchip's brand recognition up and over the "Who The Hell?" wall. The winning agency comes back with no strategy and no idea, but says we'll make you the biggest viral video ever -- that's the idea! -- and here, let us show you all the executional possibilities that our coders spit up in the last 72 hours.

The sad reality of this show is what hurts. It's like watching Ricki Lake from the trailer park. 
Words That Mean Something
“There is a time and a place for news releases. But running them verbatim on your blog or linking to them through your social networks is not the place. Just like wanting journalists to write a story about your pretty new ad is a hopeless desire." -Gini Dietrich