Intervention and DROI
I think I know why: The active ingredient in each of the above prescriptions is intervention, the idea of interrupting a vicious addictive cycle long enough to introduce an alternative form of behavior. Of course there's a world of difference between constant communication and effective communication. Likewise there's a world of difference between being right and being happy. But the consideration and introduction of alternatives requires two conditions: 1) a willingness to concede that what we are doing doesn't work very well anymore, and 2) the time to consider and introduce something new.
Our default status as media addicts, however, all but guarantees an increasing denial of our own ineffectiveness, and a commensurately decreasing supply of time. Our denial compels us to work faster and harder despite clear evidence of diminished returns on investment (DROI), not only across the entire marketing and advertising spectrum, but across the quality of our lives as well. Moreover, every additional minute we devote in pursuit of our obsessions and addictions is yet another minute stolen from any potential alternative.
Intervention thus becomes the only viable alternative to institutionalized inertia. In the Great Age of Addiction we will all be called upon at one point or another to participate in one or more interventions, quite likely our own among them. We should get used to the idea, and embrace the concept as a viable tool to promote meaningful change in the presence of addiction as the default condition, and in the corresponding absence of sobriety.
The periodic restoration of sobriety -- the reintroduction of clear thinking and behavior based on clear thinking -- will rely on our ability to institutionalize intervention as a viable and critical component of the change process. We must learn how to drive a wedge between ourselves and our own addictions on a regular basis.
Hence my suggestion that clients intervene with the imposition of a no-email mandate between themselves and their agencies for the first two hours of each and every day. Intervention with a no-email mandate will generate the requisite time on both sides of the client/agency relationship to introduce gratitude and set the stage for proactive thought and communication throughout the balance of the day.
I call upon clients to intervene because I don't really believe that the agencies themselves are up to the task of improving their own work environment or work product. Agencies are far too removed from their own creative mission statements nowadays, far too consumed by an utterly reactive miasma of helplessness -- a signature characteristic of addiction.
Agencies have swallowed far too much of their own dog food over the years, and now no longer have the intestinal fortitude for more. The agency culture -- once the champion of creative intent and execution -- is now just along for the ride.
I also call upon clients to intervene because it's their money on the table, and continuation of the current eat-all-you-want-we'll-make-more marketing and media environment guarantees nothing but continued DROI. The bigger the pipeline, the more tonnage we force through it, the lower we must set our expectations.
Some folks on the agency side might point to the fact that P&G delivers two billion ad impressions each and every day as evidence that advertising works. Maybe, but I would suggest that the real reason why P&G pays for the creation and delivery of two billion daily ad impressions is because the first 1,999,999,999 didn't get the job done.
Next week I'll talk about the introduction of gratitude as a productivity tool.
Many thanks, as always, and best to you and yours...
Please note: The Einstein's Corner discussion group at http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/einsteinscorner/ is dedicated to exploring the adverse effects of our addictions to technology and media on the quality of our lives, both at work and at home. Please feel free to drop by and join the discussion.