Marketing ideas your ad agency probably won’t give you

There has been a long running debate about how an agency should be compensated- with the old model based on media commissions failing both clients and agencies for the last 50 years. And in the age of Chief Marketing Officers rotating out every 27 months at huge salaries- and little demonstrable impact- one should wonder where the real values are in marketing. But the sad thing is- we’ve known all along where the value is:

Marketing value is in the ideas

It’s that simple. Big ideas, the lasting ones, bring value far beyond what the agency could charge. What was the value to “Just do it” to Nike? Or “The ultimate driving machine” to BMW? Did an agency get compensated for the value of the idea- doubtful. If you hired The Next Wave on an hourly basis- and we came up with the greatest tagline ever written for your business- like “The first place to look for every last thing” as we did for Mendelson’s Liquidation Outlet- and it took 10 hours at $100 an hour- were we compensated fairly? Unfortunately- yes and no.

Ping Logo largeBig ideas that won’t come from most ad agencies

Recently, we got a viral email in our inbox. You know the kind- forwarded to everyone and their mother. But this one was actually verified by and made the company look good to an awful lot of people.
It seems the golf club maker Ping, has been donating custom fitted golf clubs to severely disabled veterans.

Here is a video about how this program affects the vets:

While the first reaction is so they donated some golf clubs, you can see the dramatic impact this program has from the video.

It also strikes a deep emotional trigger in potential customers- be they veterans or those who consider themselves patriotic- this is the kind of emotional messaging that advertising has a hard time buying- but, through a donation program Ping is probably getting more free goodwill and brand allegiance than the cost of the clubs they donate.

Ping doesn’t mention its free program on it’s site-  it does have a veterans and troop discount program in effect now- it’s on their site: but, it’s doubtful that they will run ads on National TV bragging about it- like the Pepsi Refresh program- they just do the right thing and probably reap a lot more benefit from it- see these google search results: Ping Golf clubs to Veterans

Walmart logo largeHow Walmart embraces RV owners

Everyone loves the idea that Mom and Dad bought an RV and are seeing the country. But Walmart sees this as an opportunity to reach out to one particular community and win them over. From the WalMart site:

Can I park my RV at a Walmart store? [Back to top]

While we do not offer electrical service or accommodations typically necessary for RV customers, Walmart values RV travelers and considers them among our best customers. Consequently, we do permit RV parking on our store lots as we are able. Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws. Please contact management in each store to ensure accommodations before parking your RV.

via Most Frequently Asked Questions.

It was on page 2 of the search results from Google- since so many RV sites point this out. Of course, Walmart is counting on the RV’rs to stop in and restock, but the reality is that this idea gets them a lot of free publicity. Most ad agencies won’t make these suggestions because there is nothing in it for them- and many clients don’t think there is value in an agency talking about business process or policy as part of the marketing efforts. If you relegate your “Idea people” to only working on “advertising” you may be missing a whole lot of good ideas.

Do you have examples of ideas that add value to your brand that an agency can’t put on an invoice as a line item?

Share them below in comments- thanks.