Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ad Biz - from the Corner Office in St. Louis

Charlie Claggett agreed to be the master of ceremonies for the long overdue panel presentation from leaders in advertising and marketing communications firms in St. Louis on April 19, 2012 presented by the American Marketing Association. The luncheon attracted a full house (nearly at room capacity of 120 people). Tom Townsend (Rodgers Townsend), Tim Leon (Geile-Leon), Angie Lawing (Mercury Labs and Ad Saint), Joe Leahy (Hughes Leahy Karlovic), Stacey Goldman (Cannonball), John Nickle (Switch), and Dan Curran (4orce) spoke for the marketing and advertising community in a robust, engaging and thought-provoking session.

Charlie, an advertising icon in St. Louis, was charming and efficient at moving though introductions and questions. Each of the panelists had meaningful morsels to offer as take always from the function. Here are some of the points I found particularly noteworthy. Note: I am paraphrasing.

Tim Leon: “We have found that our agency is helping clients in areas outside the marketing department – including IT and HR. In fact, we’ve invested in a merger that expanded our expertise in employee engagement”

Joe Leahy: “We also have clients that have a roster of agencies. (Asking them to stay in their respective swim lanes). Clients don’t seem to want generalists, they want specialists. At our shop, we aren’t trying to anticipate the future so much as we are chasing the present.”

Dan Curran: “What is great about digital is the amount of data. You can’t lie behind metrics. Clients are a little scared and confused. There are a lot of charlatans out there who present themselves as experts. Let’s face it, it is like drinking out of a fire hose.”

Angie Lawing: “Video has the capacity to produce great emotional depth. That can be a powerful thing. Ad Saint is a vehicle for connecting the marketing communications community in St. Louis. There isn’t anything marketers need that cannot be produced in St. Louis. We do great work in this town”

Stacey Goldman: “It’s about being a good listener. And sometimes you need to convince clients that 10 things is too much – you might be better off identifying two things that people are more likely to remember. And if they don’t remember those two points, at least they might recall the style and the way the information was presented.”

Tom Townsend: “We are big believers that there is more than one great idea. We know it can be disappointing for creative people to start over but it’s worth it. That’s why we like to showcase the work that made it.  Featuring work in award shows is important.  It is a way to get a kind of validation and celebration of quality work as judged by piers.”

John Nickel – “It might be an overused word but we think engagement is important and often it is accomplished through a combination of tactics. A sampling program, with radio and digital overlays might be a good combination for some brands.”

Thanks to all who participated in this event. I hope a few marketing decision-makers were influenced too. I also hope this in only part of a continuing dialogue.

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