Friday, July 1, 2011

7/1/11—Selling Your Ideas

Today's Draw: Ace of Swords from the Haindl Tarot. Are you currently caught up in a clash of ideas? Is your job prone to that sort of thing? Are you prone to fighting back, backing down or picking your battles?

The Ace of Swords is typically a card of clarity and ideas. But what caught me about this particular card is how the sword cuts down and stirs up all the air around it. Ideas cutting through ideas. 
I've spent the last 25 years in (what *I* think is) the enviable position of someone who earns a living being creative and coming up with "big ideas". I remember a book I read many many years ago called "Glamor Careers" and my job as an advertising copywriter was among them. Like the sword, there are two sides to that. One is that it is really fun and "glamorous", whatever that means. And the second side of it is you're often locked in a cubicle, whipped hourly and forced to eat gruel as clients and critics suck every last scrap of joy out of any really good idea you ever have.

I don't know of any other kind of job you can have where you roll decades of acquired knowledge, strategy, creativity into a piece of work that you just KNOW meets all your client's objectives, only to have them say, "I showed this to my niece who took a marketing class in college and she thinks it would better done this way." And then he shows you something that sounds like it was done by someone who once took a marketing class in college. And it doesn't even meet one of the objectives he stated at the beginning of the job. But it's his niece. And invariably, he's already sold on what she's done. Because she took a marketing class in college. And you've only got a degree, a trunk full of awards and 25 years of practical experience in the field. 

Of course, as a professional you have to gauge where the client is. Either you push back and convince them to do something more effective than what the niece suggests...go back to your original idea or go back to the drawing board. Or you do what you can to "fix" the niece's idea. Or you let them "fall on their sword". Sometimes they insist on the last option. Most of the time you just do something that makes everyone else happy and falls short of humiliating for you.

Now, truth be told, I have fabulous clients that love me and value me. I really do. I'm blessed. Better yet, they're very seasoned marketing professionals, so I respect their opinions as they respect mine. Besides much of the time, their input results in something better. But there are moments.... 

So, I ask you, does this kind of thing happen in your business? And by this kind of thing, I mean does whoever you report to bring your work home and show it around to the spouse and neighbors? I'm not exaggerating with this. It happens all the time in our business because they want to get a consumer's reaction, even though the person they're showing it to is often NOT a consumer of the product or service being advertised and usually hasn't been briefed on the particulars of the marketing solution we've been asked to solve. 

But does this kind of stuff happen in your business? Is there some kind of clash of ideas, where the recommendations of "experts" are often overruled by just anyone with an opinion? What's your biggest beef with your career when it comes to thoughts and ideas?

No comments:

Post a Comment