Archive for the ‘From the chick’s nest’ Category

September 14, 2017

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“Yes, I’ll have a TV spot, some VCM, 2 schedules of radio, a direct mail piece … oh, and refresh my web site with some new SEO.”

“Very good, sir. I’ll be right back.”

If an ad agency were a restaurant, it might go something like that.

But it’s not.

Forgive the restaurant metaphor, but it seems so appropriate. Clients shouldn’t be selecting from a menu, yet there are still agencies that attempt to sell “today’s special”. Isn’t every advertising problem unique?  Shouldn’t it be cooked to order?

While I have been in small market advertising all my life, surely the philosophy is the same no matter if you’re in a diner or a white tablecloth establishment. Clients need to trust that you are preparing exactly what they need. They should feel your passion, concern, interest, and enthusiasm. They deserve lavish communication and want direction!

Clients – and customers – are gold. They come first. Always. It should be the underlying philosophy that drives every agency action.   

And everyone in the agency needs to understand that. Before any programming, coding, writing, shooting, editing, or media placement begins, every creative person who touches the project needs to know the goal of the client. And, just because we have a special on lamb chops doesn’t mean we should serve them to everyone. If you’re trying to sell the thing that will be the most profitable for your agency, then you’re doing it wrong.

Finally, everyone likes to dabble in the kitchen, but there can be only one chef. That’s the Creative Director, who is responsible for serving up a final course that translates into client success.  Even if it’s something that is not on the menu.

 

 

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September 3, 2017

Blog Image 12 years

“I’ve got 12 years on you … and I always will!!”

These words were emphatically spoken to a loud, mouthy, young radio salesgirl by her much wiser manager.

The mouthy sales girl was me. The manager was reminding me that she had more experience and I needed to listen. That woman has been my mentor ever since.

She found me tending bar and offered me a job in radio sales. I initially turned her down, but thankfully, she persisted. Six months later I was selling airtime and my career began. Her blunt observations, guidance, and belief in the abilities that I couldn’t see in myself made all the difference in my professional life.

No matter if you’re fresh out of school or you’ve been working for years, find someone with more experience, with a different perspective and a different approach, to be your mentor. This person doesn’t even have to be in your chosen field. They need to be someone you admire and can cultivate a relationship with.

Take them to coffee or lunch. Ask them for their insight. What did they do in their career that worked for them? What were their failures? Believe me, everyone wants to share what they know. They’ll be flattered as hell you asked and you’ll learn far more than you would have ever learned in a classroom or a book.

After selling radio, I went out on my own, started a little ad agency and spent 32 plus years doing what I loved. Through it all, my mentor has never been out of reach and I owe her more than I can ever repay. I’m still loud and mouthy, but at least I know I’m not the smartest person in the room … and my life is richer for it.

Thanks, Pam.

She’s bossy. And has an answer for everything.

June 17, 2017

Yup. Guilty as charged.

During my time as a media sales rep for a small town radio station, (my first real job) my manager got a call from the owner of a Mexican fast food chain. He demanded I be replaced with someone else.

Why?

“Because she’s bossy and has an answer for everything”, he said. My manager replied. “I understand. I’ll get you a new rep. But I need to ask you, if she doesn’t have an answer to all your questions, who will?”

She had my back for several reasons. A) I had the client spending a ton of money on our radio station B) I was one of the top sales people at the station C) I genuinely wanted clients get to results D) The client was right. I was bossy.  I still am.

In over 35 years of advertising and sales experience, this guy was the only one (at least that I know of) that ever complained about my approach. Others have described me as “nice-bossy”. I have always pushed for my ideas but in the end, the client gets to do what they want.

You get to be “bossy” when A) You demonstrate that you genuinely give a damn B) You have formed a real relationship with the client that has established trust C) You know EXACTLY what you’re talking about and can back up your claims with facts that give you the ability to have the answer “for everything”.

And what if you get asked something you don’t have an answer for?  You say:  I don’t have that answer right now, but I will find out and get back to you.

No matter how big the client is, they need and want direction and leadership. They don’t want another order taker. You’re getting paid to deliver results and ideas. If you can’t demonstrate real enthusiasm for a client’s success, even if it comes down to being a bit bossy (in a nice way), then you need to find another way to earn a living.   Like working the cash register at the Mexican restaurant.

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Why I Sucked at Owning an Ad Agency

June 13, 2017

I started my agency before I was 30 years old with no college degree, no real experience other than selling radio time, and a passion for writing. I wanted to exercise my creative muscle, produce commercials, work with clients to make their business better. All lovely notions.

People typically go into business for themselves with their one skill. But they lack the other critical traits it takes to avoid heartache and failure. For example, I had no idea how to read a balance sheet or a profit and loss statement … I figured I had an accountant for that.

I had zero management skills. My old boss used to tell me, “Managing creative people is the hardest thing you will ever do.” How right she was! Your employees are working for completely different reason than you. It’s not a family. It’s a business. I thought if you cared for employees like family members, nurture them and provide what they needed to be successful and do good work, we would all live happily ever after.

Wrong.

My codependent approach to managing staff was my undoing in the end. My naïve, yet well-intentioned method in handling people ended up in several misunderstandings and broken relationships. I trusted too much and trusted the wrong people, leaving my faith in humanity shattered.

After 32 years as an agency owner, I sold the company almost three years ago. I started in a spare room and ended up with Emmy nominations, Telly awards and other recognitions. I made a living, was responsible for livelihoods of 7 other people, and worked with an incredibly diverse roster of clients. Most of the creative now is “cut and paste”, which saddens me, and much of my work is still out there, which is a compliment to my talent and passion that started it all.

Business ownership is not for soft-hearted, pie-in the-sky thinkers. It takes structure, discipline and the ability to “know what you don’t know”.

Lesson learned.

I’m Baaaaaack!

June 12, 2017

I took a little hiatus from the blog.  Since I sold my little agency almost three years ago,  I moved to the family farm, where my nearest neighbor is a mile away and I learned poison ivy is a real scourge.  I missed advertising, though, and my outlet here, where I’ve met some interesting people over the years.

Several months ago, the new owners of my agency asked me to come back and help out a little.  THAT has been an interesting experience, with some moments I’ll share in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, let’s get a new conversation started, one-sided as it may be in the beginning.   AdChick is BACK in the nest!

Chicken

Pardon the redirection

March 3, 2010

It’s an I. T. world we’re living in. Face it, I. T. people control how we communicate, shop, be entertained, learn. So do what your I.T. person tells you to do. Don’t try to understand it. Just do it. My I.T. Guru tells me to move this blog to a new place. I’m doing it. He’s a helluva lot smarter than me.

So now, if you will, please click HERE. And Voila. You will be whisked to www.someadchick.com

Bookmark The Chick. Please visit regularly and comment often. I need contact with the outside advertising world.

It can get lonely here in Hooterville.

One way ticket to http://www.someadchick.com

How to meet men…uh-huh

March 2, 2010

Adchick is moving to a new site soon, so in the meantime, take good notes on The Art of Meeting Men. Yes, a good conversation starter might indeed be a “small stuffed animal”. “Oh, pardon me, but I couldn’t help noticing…Is that a  Tickle Me Elmo you have there?” Also, I love the set. It’s so…eighties.  Hilarious.

As Seen on TV…HAT?

February 26, 2010

Yes, it comes in camo….for all the Hootervillians.

The Bud Parody

February 25, 2010

I sense a theme coming in this blog. Parodies…hmmm. Yes, let’s continue. Thanks to Designer Extraordinaire, Tim, for the find.

95 Years of Cool

February 22, 2010

In 1915, my Grandmother Nellie Lee was born. This past weekend we celebrated her 95th birthday with a little shopping and too much to eat. Many say it’s amazing how, “at her age”, she is so sharp. And it’s true. She met my Grandfather, Paul, when she went to work for his parents at their farm. She was only 16 years old. They fell in love. Nellie Lee had twin daughters (born on the farm in the house where they lived their entire lives) when  she was 20 and she and Paul were married over 50 years. She’s always been a farmers wife. She knows how to get fifty cents out of a quarter.

A life long Democrat, she’s quite sure that Obama could get things done if he didn’t have to deal with all those “other” people. When she found out her daughter was a Republican, she said, “Well, she wasn’t raised to be that way.” (Doncha love that?) Nellie Lee is witty, honest and observant and will strike up a conversation with any one at any time, putting everyone instantly at ease. Doing the right thing is what she’s all about. We could all take a lesson.

Happy Birthday, Nellie Lee!