If you want your product to succeed, you can’t just hire an ad agency and forget about it. Your agency is good, but less so if they’re working for you instead of with you.
I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s book “Free Prize Inside” lately, and like all devotees of his anti interruption-based marketing philosophy, I’m loving it. What I’m interested in specifically is his thesis that everyone in the organization is (or should think of themselves as being) involved in product marketing.
With a majority of my experience coming from agency-level campaigns, I see Godin’s thesis from a different perspective. We were never part of the company, we were hired by the company. Not sharing any offices with them, we were almost always cut off from their product development. Usually, we were given a product to promote with a quick, “go make me money, kid.”
Other times, the client would be entirely available to us, taking an active role in the campaign. While we still weren’t involved in their product development, we could at least get the right information about what made their product stand out on its own, which we could then use as the message.
My point here is that if you are going to hire an agency to do your marketing, you still need to get involved in the campaign. This doesn’t mean calling every day to harangue the Account Executive about what’s being done right now, but to offer your own suggestions as to what makes your product work, and being open to their interpretations and analysis as well.
Hiring an advertising agency is not something you should do in order to get the sticky business of promotions out of your hair. Your entire company is involved in your marketing.
And when you hire an agency, they must become part of your company.