Everyone in “marketing” is busy selling creative. And metrics. And buzz. But where have the ideas gone?
I got excited the other day when I saw a commercial that led me to believe McDonald’s was going to give away coffee for free. Everyday. To its customers who made a purchase. That would blow the head off of Dunkin Donuts and maybe even put a chink in King Starbucks armor. But no, it’s just a short-term come on.
When LL Bean came forward generations ago with the lifetime guarantee, old Mr. Bean meant LIFETIME. That was an idea and a half and it served as the catalyst for one of the great success stories in business history.
Two facts to consider:
-Today, most big ideas get shot down because people are afraid of them. Along the approval chain, someone kills it. Safer to do without it. (Was Disneyland a safe idea when Walt gave it the green light?).
-Too much of what passes as “marketing” is just arts and crafts in disguise. Kindergarten finger painting. Creating beautiful ads that are Technicolor loss centers. Great marketing has to be built on great ideas. On the iPod. On the WalMart price epiphany. On the genius of American Idol. And great marketers, or those who want to be, would be well served to remember that when you place a big idea on the table, with a plan for how to make it work, you will be perceived as one of the rare people who can turn coal into diamonds.