Your Baby Is Ugly (and Why You Need To Hear It)

Does your marketing look like this?The marketing industry, like most industries, has some funny quirks. One of the quirks I find most interesting is how few business owners and marketing managers really, really want to hear the truth from their advertising agency.

You see, TONS of business owners understand how a marketing agency can help them increase sales, strengthen their brand and all of that other marketing stuff we agencies specialize in. The problem is many of those business owners treat agencies like a servant rather than a collaborative, strategic partner. They don’t need new ideas, they just need people who can keep doing the work “the way it’s always been done.”

Sure, they’ll say that they want to do whatever it takes to “increase their market share” or “build their brand reputation on Facebook,” but they refuse to budge when you point out that their website from 2003 probably needs an upgrade. Or they might insist that they want their materials updated with a new look, new colors, etc., but they demand that you leave the logo unchanged because “everybody knows/loves/has tattoos of that logo.”

Here’s the problem with that approach – a good agency should be hired for its expertise and creativity, not for its ability to keep making ugly brochures and forgettable TV spots.

Unfortunately, these business owners are the people who don’t realize their baby—or in this case, their business’s marketing approach—is ugly. And because no one has ever told them so, they never realize they need to fix it (even though, unlike an ugly baby, a bad marketing approach CAN be fixed). Instead, people just make fun of them behind their backs and the business owners never know there’s an issue.

So here’s our advice to you business owners. Make sure you can trust your agency to be honest with you. Hearing that your baby is ugly might not be your favorite news flash of the day, but it’s better than working with someone who doesn’t have the guts to tell you the truth. Besides, one of these days somebody is going to see your baby and react like this.

Wouldn’t your rather work with an agency that helps you fix the problem before that happens?

-Mike B.

Photo c/o AntToeKnee Lacey. Thanks!