Saturday, February 7, 2009

Know what you don't know

In our never-ending quest to swim upstream, to help our clients as much as we possible can, us advertising people can forget one very important detail:
we do not know what is at the head of that stream. We have no idea what it's like to sit at the head of that table.
Consider this: most advertising creatives are marginalized, either by choice, or design, or inertia, into solving communications challenges.
The people inside an agency who more reliably know their clients' businesses spend a lot more time on the corporate campus.
They, in turn, know far less about the business than the head of marketing. Yes, there are exceptions, but the chief marketing officer knows much more about the ways in which her company makes money and pays her bonus.
And then, the shocker of shockers - the position of CMO is not even on the fast track to true P and L responsibility. Meaning even our most respected ally on the marketer side isn't given the credibility to run the company.
That puts even your above-average agency, let alone your above-average creative, at a crippling distance from the nuts and bolts of a client's business.
Closing the gap is essential. Humility is a good place to begin.

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