Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thanks For The Good Times Blogger!

Thanks for the good times Blogger. It was a blast while it lasted. To all (two) of my readers The Ultimate Account Guy continues on Word Press. Please come over and keep supporting me there.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Problem With Business Today

I watched Food Inc. Friday night and found it very interesting and insightful. What I found so interesting though, wasn’t necessarily the point of the documentary. The point was to expose the food we eat and how it may not be the healthiest because of the way its grown/raised and brought to market. While that was eye opening, I believe this is only a symptom of a larger problem. That problem being the way those businesses are run and to a larger point the way business is run in general.

In an effort to cut costs and raise profits, our food has become a mass produced commodity. To a large degree most of the American economy has become the same thing. Gone are the days of creating the best product you can possibly create and if you are the best, making a nice profit. The end goal has become profit, which has sent a shock wave down the supply line. It doesn’t matter if you make the best product anymore. If you create a decent product at a cheap price, people will buy it, you will make big profits and the cycle continues.

This has slowly eroded the point of business in my eyes. The point of business shouldn’t be to make money. The point of business should be to create the best product/service possible. In doing that, your product/service will be the category leader and thus, profit will be created. Not only does this build trust with the consumer, it builds trust within the company and only makes a company stronger.

From an advertising perspective I think a change in the way businesses are run would improve advertising. When companies start cutting costs, one of the first places they go is advertising. But if the goal isn’t to be the cheapest, but to create the best product, you can invest in advertising, make it part of the product and in the end have a better product.

I understand the need to control costs and I know it sounds like I’m pushing advertising, but I’m not. A holistic change of business, shifting the almighty goal from profits to product greatness would alleviate the need for cut throat pricing, by giving the consumer a choice of greatness, not a choice of price.

Maybe this will happen naturally through the “open market”. The organic foods market is one market showing signs of people choosing the great product over the lower price. If more segments followed in their footsteps, I think business, as a whole would be improved.

What do you think about profits being the end goal for a business? Am I just being naive in thinking about the greater good?


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Resolution. Why not?

While looking at the progress I’ve made with my 2009 resolutions I started thinking about what my New Years resolutions would be for 2010. I ran through the normal list, exercise more often, lose weight, blog more, etc. Then I thought for a minute. Why do I have to wait until January first to start? I don’t have to wait, so I’m not going to. I always get stuck in that nasty cycle of “I’ll start that tomorrow”, but not this time. My 2010 resolutions are starting December First 2009.

So my first, and most important December First resolution is to focus on improving my self as an account person. I know the title of my blog is The Ultimate Account Guy. I hope to one day become that, but for right now I’m focused on improving my skill set everyday.

Since today is day one, I want to know from all of my creative friends out there, what is the number one thing, in your mind, that makes an effective account person? It could be a positive attribute that I should follow or a negative attribute that I should avoid. Either way, I just want to know what is essential to being an effective account person in the minds of a creative team.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reading Adventure

I try to read a lot and on a wide variety of subjects. I just finished The Long Tail and since this book has been out for a number of years now I won’t give you a review. I did however find it amazingly interesting to see how the elements Chris Anderson spoke about are coming true today. Also, I am very interested to see how advertising will reach people as they become more and more niche-centric. If you haven’t already read this book, I highly suggest you check it out.

The main reason for this post though, is to talk about my newest reading adventure. I’ve decided I need to read some classics. I’ve chosen The Republic and Moby Dick as my first two. Both books come recommended by people I highly respect and from what I hear, they are both massive reads.

I’m very excited by both of these books, which is very different from how I used to think about these types of books. I used to approach books of this type with dread. In the past (read – during school), I would be faced with having to read a book like this and just shut down. I wouldn’t even try to read it. Now, I’m taking this on under my own accord. I’m taking this as a sign of intellectual maturity, or at least the desire for intellectual maturity.

First up, I’m going to attack The Republic which was recommended to me by Jim Mitchem . I’m going to take my time. Read it, digest it and hopefully understand enough to learn from it. And even if I don’t, I’m going to be happy in the effort of doing something I’ve never done before.

So my question to you is, what is the best way to approach a book like this? Have you read The Republic, any advice on my adventure?

- Dennis

Full Disclosure – I have no affiliation with the authors of these books or the publishers.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A New Agency, With A New Model

Crowdsourcing has been a hot topic recently. Whether you are for or against crowdsourcing, you can’t deny the impact it is having on the advertising world. That impact has led to the first crowdsource driven agency, Victors & Spoils.

At the core of this agency is the “goal to provide businesses with a better way to solve their marketing, advertising and product-design problems by engaging the world’s most talented creatives.” The agency will consist of in house talent (the overseers) as well as the collaborative talent that will be providing the crowdsourced ideas. You can check out the details on their website and follow them on twitter @victorsnspoils.

Personally, I like the idea of crowdsourcing. I think there are limitations built into it, but at the same time the benefits could outweigh those limitations. I especially like this group’s (Evan Fry, John Winsor and Claudia Batten) adventurous attitude in taking a controversial idea and building an agency around it.

Advertising is an organic being of sorts. It is always changing, learning and growing. Crowdsourcing is a direction that advertising is, if not moving toward, at least showing some interest in. Taking the chance and exploring this direction will undoubtedly lead to some great work. Whether or not it is sustainable is still to be determined. Ultimately only time will tell how this experiment pans out. But I for one can’t wait to see the work that develops and where this idea goes.

What do you think about crowdsourcing? Is this the future of advertising or just a passing fad?


P.S. Where is the account guy crowdsourcing? How come we don’t get any love?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sheer Joy

When I first saw this video it gave me goose bumps. The joy the players are experiencing led me to send out a tweet proclaiming, “This is what college football is all about”. I then went for a run and during my run I realized this moment caught on camera is so much more than a great football moment.

This is a moment that everyone should experience. It reaches beyond sports. It’s a moment shared with your kids when they get an A on a test. It’s a celebration after a promotion or winning an unexpected account. It’s finding those moments in life when you get to be David and slay your Goliath. Most importantly it’s a moment that I don’t see very often outside of the sports world. You see athletes celebrate after they win a big game or a championship. But you never see a group of people in suits jumping up and down.

This could be for any number of reasons. It’s not professional; it’s not practical (being in suits and all), celebrating is childish, the list goes on and on. I think the real reason is very few people care about their career as much as these young men care about football. Maybe if we all cared about our jobs as much as they did, we would celebrate a little more.

So my question to you is, when was the last time you celebrated like the Iowa State Cyclones? Is it appropriate to celebrate like that as an “adult”?


Monday, October 26, 2009

Fear – Motivator or Restrictor?

I recently watched the new Tyson documentary. Besides being an interesting take on a very complex individual, it revealed a side of Tyson I had never seen before. The big theme throughout the film was fear. Early in his career, Tyson used fear as a motivator. He was afraid of being embarrassed. He feared embarrassing himself in front of millions of people by losing a fight. So he used that fear to push himself to train harder.

Later in his career, after his release from jail for a rape conviction, fear changed for him. He was no longer afraid of losing or being embarrassed. He was afraid of being betrayed by those closest to him. He no longer trusted anyone after his (in his mind, false) rape conviction. The fear that once molded him into one of the badest men in the world, now became his demise.

This got me thinking about fear and how it affects everything. Everyone has fears that shape their lives. Fear of commitment, fear of moving to a new city, fear of moving to a new job, fear of taking a risk, fear of not taking a risk; you name it, someone has a fear of it. The thing I find most interesting is the difference between people who use fear as a motivator and people who allow their fears to hold them back.

Fear plays a big roll in business. The good companies seem to use fear as a motivator to try new things. Attacking the competition or going after a new target market, could open your product to a new line of consumers. Going with the new campaign, even though it might alienate a few members of your current customer base, takes a healthy control of fear. And if the new campaign is a total flop, using that fear to learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again is key to managing fear in the future.

So my question to you is how do you handle fear? Do you use your personal fear to make you better? Do you use the fears of your clients to make them better?