What you say?

Well it happened again… the sun rose in the east, the stock market continues to fall, my tax bill is sure to be going up, and the Phightin’ Phils refuse to lose 2 in a row!  I promise not to turn this into a Phillies blog, but it was a challenging weekend dropping 2 of 3 to the Nats.  But like I previously wrote, I hope all of you placed a friendly wager (of, I don’t know, maybe your MORTGAGE!) on them winning each game after each of the 2 losses.  I am not using creative license here:  After losing Friday to the Nats, they win Saturday… and after losing Sunday to the Nats, they beat the Mets last night… for a combined score of 15-0!  That’s not a football score my friends (two TD’s + one 2-pt conversion… I think). 

Pet peeve time.  If you read my previous posts, you’ll know my disdain for sports broadcasters and most politicians.  The need to be heard is at an all time high.  With only a cursory view of sports this weekend, the following continue to haunt me:

  • FP Santangelo, Nats ‘Broadcaster’ (as loosely defined as possible).  Granted, Friday night’s Phils/Nats game was marred by a 2 hour rain delay so perhaps the ‘master of the obvious’ was feeling a bit punchy.  Top of the 3rd, two outs, runner on 2nd. Wilson Valdez smokes a single and 3rd base coach Juan Samuel windmills Ibanez to score from 2nd but is gunned down at home.  Pretty clean play … except that our boy FP indicated that Ivan DeJesus waved Raul around –  IVAN DEJESUS?????  Granted, he was Samuel’s partner for many years at shortstop while Juan was a stalwart 2nd baseman for the Phils, but being jarred awake at 11PM with the notion that he’s now a coach was first annoying and then mildlly comical.  Chalk it up to another broadcaster trying to outsmart the masses (or the lingering impact of HGH use).
  • Dateline, Friday Aug. 19  2011, Miami – Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins:  I know… ‘who in their right mind is watching this slop’?  Chalk it up to 1) Cam Newton intrigue and 2) an otherworldly desire to be in Miami on a Friday night.  Crack announcing crew addition Bob Griese, pontificating on a great play by Panther LB Dan Connor (that of a tackle after a 3 yard gain, about as mundane of a play you would see at the Pop Warner level):  “What a great play by Panther’s LB Dan Connor.  A former Miami Hurricane standout…”  Nice try Bob, Dan went to Penn State.  Thinking that he took one too many Csonka raps on the head after the NFL’s most recent undefeated team took their first lost preserving the “72 Dolphins as the NFL’s only undefeated.

I realize that these are nit-picky but when I invest my valuable time in your broadcast, it better be relevant and correct.  Cue the marketing lesson here…

While it’s true that many marketers have been fishing for the next best thing in order to either keep their product relevant or, if a seller of marketing services, to remain viable in these uncertain economic times, best to adhere to the old axiom that it’s “better to keep your mouth closed and assumed a fool than open it and remove all doubt”.  As a direct marketing agency, we not only develop home-grown direct marketing solutions for our clients but we also broker products/services that are already on the market that make sense for our clients.  Accordingly, we entertain a lot of vendors who claim to have invented a ‘better mousetrap’ when in effect, they are merely recycling yet someone elses services which it turn – you got it – continues to raise the price to the end user.  Perhaps the most nauseating part of this process is sitting through calls/meetings where you just know that the presenter is clueless – like our boys FP and Bob above – and the ole’ clichés start entering the room:  “We’re talking value-ad, win-win, outside-the-box thinking, at a holistic level that drives ROI”. Then comes the mixed metaphors, botched clichés that occur after minute 10 of said presentation.  And I sh*t you not, this one is real:  “Let’s not mince hairs here…”

OK people, keep your discourse to what you truly know.  For a while, I crept into other areas of marketing that moved away from the measureability of direct without even thinking ‘wait, I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about’.  And it can happen without notice as we’re tasked as marketers to find viable solutions for our clients.  But what I learned is you have to remain grounded to certain principles:  If you are a direct marketer, you need to keep your toolbox packed with measurable, trackable tools and not become a brand marketer overnight.  If you are a branding agency, and a client asks you to perform a prospect email campaign, there’s nothing wrong with stating that you have a tremendous direct partner that you would like to bring into the conversation.

After all, there’s nothing worse than finishing a meeting, asking for questions… and getting only, ‘what you say’?

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