Tag Archives: value proposition

Ad Agency Sleepers

Unless you’ve been living in a cave this Millennium, you’ve heard of fantasy football. While you may not play it, appreciate it, or understand all the rules, you know it exists. An FX television show, The League, has even been created to mock this season-long event that has become a part of popculture.

There are a variety of fantasy football leagues, but the premise is simple: pick NFL football players at various positions to make up your fantasy team. Your chosen players’ performance in real life is how your fantasy team performs. If your fantasy team scores more than your opponent’s fantasy team, you win. Boiling it down, the team with the most wins, wins the league.

Most everyone who plays fantasy football knows who to draft. They are the superstars. You know who I’m talking about: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, etc. However, the fantasy teams that win may have a superstar, but many also have a “sleeper” or two. A sleeper is a lesser-known NFL player a participant correctly predicts to have a breakout season. The whole point of selecting a sleeper is to give owners a competitive edge with lesser-known players and a better return on investment. Sleepers are a good buy and are the difference makers in any fantasy league.

So, how do fantasy football sleepers relate to advertising, and why should you care? Well, sleepers can be found among advertising agencies, as well. You likely have a basic knowledge of the well-known agencies. You know who they are and their characteristics. They are entrenched in traditional media. They are group owned. They take a long time to get things done, and they bill at really expensive rates. And, you generally get what you pay for, which is good work.  Return on investment: even…at best.

The sleeper agency is the antithesis of the traditional agency mentioned above. It is an agency that may excel in one particular area that fits your category and business model exactly, as opposed to being something for everyone. It is an agency you may not have heard of, but you’ve found by taking your time to research and learn what each agency does well. It may be an agency like Kilgannon that establishes specific objectives and metrics, with a scorecard evaluation, for each campaign or project. Or, it could be an agency that specializes specifically on promotions and driving product trial. By taking the time to learn more about each agency’s strengths, you’ll be in a much better position. Return on investment: the sky’s the limit.

So next time you’ve got a project, challenge yourself. You don’t need to be selecting a new AOR. Do a little research, try out an agency on a project basis, and see if you can discover a sleeper agency to get the competitive edge and return on investment that you need in today’s dog-eat-dog world.


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Filed under Ad Agencies, advertising

Ban the Strategic Buzzwords

We’ve all been there.  A meeting is called to discuss marketing strategy, and the result is a carefully crafted value proposition, brand promise or campaign strategy that is nothing more than a series of carefully connected buzzwords:

Our commitment to excellence provides exceptional value to our customers.

Our innovative product design and best-in-class sales team provide service and quality that exceed any customer’s need.

We are driven to provide the best customer service in the industry.

Trust and confidence built on a history of innovation.

Our people make the difference.

We do the right thing.

Who wouldn’t say they do the right thing?  What company doesn’t believe they are committed to excellence? How many organizations try to claim that their people are different and better than everyone else?   Are these referring to a bank, a car or a box of cereal?  These statements satisfy everyone but inspire no one.

To develop a more powerful marketing strategy, first understand what your customers truly want, and then articulate how you solve that problem or address that need better than anyone else.  If you ban the top 10 buzzwords from your strategy meetings, you are one step closer to a relevant and inspiring statement that will set you apart in the marketplace.

Here are my nominees for the top 10 marketing buzzwords.

  • Best-in-Class
  • Commitment
  • Customer-Focused
  • Expertise
  • Innovation
  • Integrity
  • People
  • Quality
  • Trust
  • Value

What buzzwords are on your list?


Filed under Branding, Uncategorized