Commentary

Axl Rose, Pinot Noir -- And Marketing

The following post was previously published in an earlier edition of Media Insider.


To quote the immortal Axl Rose, when it comes to marketing campaigns, we all need “just a little patience, yeaaahh, yeah.”

If you ask any marketer what they wish they had more of, they will inevitably say budget and resources.  I would say they should also be asking for time.  Budget and resources will get you the ability to pursue your ideas, but you need patience to allow them to materialize.

I was speaking with a colleague last week who reiterated how frustrating it can be when he comes up with some great ideas for campaigns to stretch across paid and earned media, spends a ton of time to get his ideas brought to life — just so the team around him can immediately start asking, “How is it working?”

 You can’t tell what’s happening with a campaign in a short couple of days.  Developing a great campaign is kind of like a great bottle of pinot noir.  The ingredients are of key importance.  The process cannot be rushed.  You have to allow it time to breathe before you really know if it’s going to taste good.  

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People might buy that bottle right at release based on the forecast of how it will work, but the true value of that wine will only be known over time.   Making a pinot takes patience.

Great campaigns have a lot of work that goes into them upfront.  Once they’re launched, they need to achieve reach and frequency into the audience.  Targets need to be exposed to the messages a few times.  They need to see and hear the story and it needs to breathe a little.  

Developing a campaign is different from developing a direct-response ad.  A campaign creates value, credibility and trust that lead to loyal consumers and stronger long-term metrics for success over time.  A direct-response ad gets a click or conversion quickly, and may or may not be 100% dedicated to creating long-term loyalty.

In fact, far too often a direct-response ad may be a little subversive to get you to click.  Take a look at native ads — which are actually DR ads that rarely tell a reliable long-term brand story.  They are clickbait, with enticing headlines and attractive visuals that may not be related to the brand story, but they get immediate attention!  I’m not saying DR ads cannot be part of a campaign.  I’m saying that in a digital age, they rarely are.

That brings me back to Axl Rose.  He is also very well known for screaming, “Welcome to the jungle. We’ve got fun and games — everything you want.” That’s what I see when I click around the web and look at ads.  

Those of us of a certain age remember the ubiquitous “punch the monkey” ads for mortgage lenders. Thankfully, it’s not that bad anymore.  That being said, I am searching for more brand development and true campaigns.  

I know that even in my own world, I struggle with this every day.  Part of my budget is tied to filling a pipeline while part of what I do is about building the perception of brand and value through storytelling and understanding the motivations of my consumers.  

That’s unlike Axl saying, “It’s so easy.” If it was, everyone would be doing it.

If you get the chance, sit with your marketing team and ask them to speak to the long-term value of your brand and how they are trying to portray that to your audience.  If they have a great response, then keep them and support them in their efforts.  If they don’t, then ask them what they think about the balance between filling pipeline and building something of sustainable value in the long term. That will help you understand the long-term value of your campaign efforts.  

And while we’re at it, go see some live music with guitars.  There’s nothing better  than the crunch of an electric guitar to get the creativity flowing.

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