I honestly have no idea how many presentations and interviews vetting companies and discussing media choices I have sat in on and at times suffered through, but it’s easily in the thousands during my thirty years!
At our agency we are always looking for the next “real” platform, software and medium, before they become common place. We believe we owe our clients to do so. We want to utilize the best tools possible to catapult their brand and their sales. That’s not just our job, it’s our duty! And during those years we have vetted some serious contenders. Those ARE NOT the ones I intend to discuss here.
Being as experienced as we are with this process, typically within the first five minutes we know whether we have a snake oil huckster or someone of true substance and knowledge on with us.
I would like to make a few suggestions to the hucksters and their agency list, if I may:
- If you have no idea how your software system works and cannot demonstrate it, bring someone to the meeting that does. Please don’t tell me that this requires a follow-up meeting. Trust me, there won’t be one!
- If you can’t explain exactly what quantities or qualities our clients will receive and your medium or system costs a small fortune, and all you can say is “trust me it’s a lot”. Trust me, I don’t trust you!
- If your selling data and it’s incorrect and you don’t realize that, and we must call it to your attention. Trust me, it doesn’t add up!
- If you are showing us out of home choices and your beauty shot of the board needs an arrow in the picture to show me where your board is. Trust me, I can’t see it!
- If I ask whether you have a cost sheet or some plateau pricing structure and you tell me “that you need to work on one”. Trust me, you should have done that before you lined up the call!
- If I ask you for a case study that could prove your claims and you don’t have any. Trust me, I don’t believe you!
- If your software is so expensive that our clients would lose money on sales even if your system worked 100% of the time. Trust me, you need a new business model!
- If I ask a very specific question, one I expect can be answered, but your answer is open ended and vague. Then trust me, I know you’re just trying to tap dance around the answer!
- If you are supposedly an expert on a topic and I ask you a reasonably typical question and your answer, is, I think. Then trust me, I think you don’t know!
- If you are selling cookie programmatic and I ask you what your plan of execution for a digital program will be, once cookies are removed, and you tell me you are contemplating that now. Trust me, you’re already late to the party!
- If ratings you have been selling for years suddenly get turned upside down by cleaner measuring metrics, but you insist your media is still worth the same money. Trust me, it’s not!
I could have made this list probably hundreds of “what-ifs”, but you get my point.
My point is as a media agency you work for your clients and you are supposed to protect their interests and budgets like it were your own. When the hucksters proudly boast about how many clients they have and drop big names, I just shake my head and think…there’s another company being bamboozled by their agency.
No one can know everything. And to be honest and say “I don’t know but I’ll find out the answer for you” is completely respectable in my book. But very few people do that anymore. They just try to razzle and dazzle you with BS. I call them diabolical schmoozers!
In the media industry you need to work hard, be honest and equally as important, you need to stay up on all the changes occurring month by month and day by day. So, you can weed out fact from fiction. If you don’t, you’re not only doing a disservice to your organization but your clients. And trust me, that will come back to bite you and your client in the AS*!