What CEOs Need To Successfully Advertise

“Add THIS To Your Coffee For Perfect Poops Daily”

The above is a real headline for an ad selling a supplement that helps you… Well, it’s pretty obvious what it does. I guarantee you stopped to read this to find out what “this” is, which is the entire purpose of a headline – to stop you in your tracks and entice you into reading the ad. And since I DO so love a good attention-getting headline, I just had to share it with you. 

Sadly, I have to hunt for brilliant headlines and great advertising these days. So many marketing campaigns are just flat-out boring, uninteresting and poorly designed. I’m rereading the book Confessions Of An Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, a must-read for any serious marketing pro, and wanted to share this excerpt from the section titled “4 Problems,” where he lays out four major problems facing the advertising industry. These all ring even more true today than when he published this updated book in the 1980s, but for the sake of time and to stay on topic, let me share this one with you: 

The second problem is that advertising agencies, notably in Britain, France and the United States, are now infested with people who regard advertising as an avant-garde art form. They have never sold anything in their lives. Their ambition is to win awards at the Cannes Festival. They bamboozle their unfortunate clients into paying millions of dollars a year to exhibit their originality. They aren’t interested in the products they advertise, and assume that the consumer won’t be either, so they say almost nothing about their virtues. At best, they are mere entertainers, and rather feeble ones at that. Many of them are art directors who, being visual-minded, don’t read anything themselves and make it impossible for consumers to read the copy I write. At a luncheon recently I heard an angry manufacturer refer to these self-indulgent idiots as mincing pansies. Given my education, I might have fallen into this trap myself if I had not spent five years selling kitchen stoves door-to-door. Once a salesman, always a salesman. 

If you’re unaware, David Ogilvy built one of the largest, most successful advertising agencies of his time, as well as being the originator of multiple home-run campaigns that helped many brands become the powerhouses they are today, such as Dove soap, Shell Oil, American Express and Rolls-Royce. He’s known as the “Father Of Advertising” for a reason – he knew how to use marketing to SELL things.  

I’m very fortunate to have started my early career in sales, discovering that it was the fastest and best route to making a lot of money, giving me the power to secure a raise in income at any time, also ensuring my ability to get a job anywhere I wanted, regardless of the economy. Smart CEOs running successful organizations are always hiring great salespeople, even when their budgets for operations, tech, management, etc., are limited. That’s because great salespeople aren’t a cost to the organization. They pay for themselves in multiples.  

I wish more of you reading this would take that last statement to heart and start investing in your sales and marketing engine instead of trying to do it all part-time yourself. Yes, yes, good salespeople are hard to find and you don’t know how to train them, compensate them, manage them; they’re costly and painful when they don’t work out, etc., etc. Yes, those are all true and obvious obstacles to overcome – but you’ll never figure out how to overcome them by sitting on your hands and doing nothing either.   

Besides, if all of those challenges were HARD, immovable obstacles (and they’re not, they’re merely your chosen hard limitations you refuse to work at until you break through them), then hire more techs and managers and pour all of YOUR time into heading up sales and marketing so YOU learn how to do it correctly and then start hiring people to support and replace you in the various roles and responsibilities.

No salesperson cares as much as you do about your business or clients, or knows the value you bring. YOU should be the best salesperson for your company, and that IS absolutely a worthy skill to develop. It is worth putting time and effort into your sales process and marketing communications because for you – the CEO and leader of your organization – what could be more important than knowing your customers’ thoughts, needs, objections, concerns, desires, and then using that information as FUEL and the basis for designing your business? 

Ogilvy correctly attributes his accomplishment in creating the most successful advertising business of his time to his experience in going door to door to sell a kitchen appliance. It taught him tenacity, humility, how to communicate, read people, quickly build rapport with a stranger and ultimately get them to trust him enough to hand over their hard-earned money for a product they didn’t know about and weren’t thinking about buying just one hour prior to him knocking on their door. 

This is true for all of the most successful copywriters and CEOs over time. They have also had similar sales experience at some point in the past, and that experience has been a powerful catalyst for the overall success in their careers. That’s because only until you master how to sell to a customer one-on-one can you create marketing strategies and advertising campaigns that also sell.  

And let me drive this home yet again: your #1 job as CEO and leader is to design your business, and the products and services it delivers, so that your customers WANT TO BUY from you regardless of price. Yes, clever, well-designed marketing can improve lead flow and uncover more opportunities – but it’s not a panacea for a mediocre, average product or service that lacks any unique benefit or application. 

The advice to fall in love with your customer, not your product, is a statement worth spending a little time on. How well do you really know your customer? Where are you lacking in knowledge?  

If you’re truly tuned in to your customers, your knowledge base and experience will grow, giving you the ability to provide more accurate insights over time. And if you know the answer, have you shared it with your team? Do THEY know your customer’s wants, desires, values and decision-making process? Do THEY know what keeps your customer up at night, frustrated, anxious and afraid? Do THEY know what a “day in the life” of one of your clients looks like?  

It’s important to love your clients and keep your relationship strong, moving it beyond a mere transactional relationship to one of transformation.  

To get a list of questions to determine if you really know your customers, opt in at https://mspsuccess.com/bonuscontent and select the below image for a target market scorecard and worksheet.

There’s no doubt about it: Robin Robins has helped more MSPs and IT services companies to grow and prosper, liberating them from stagnation, frustration, drudgery and low incomes. For over 20 years, Robin has been showing MSPs and IT services firms how to implement marketing plans that attract higher-quality clients, lock in recurring revenue streams and secure high-profit contracts. Her methods have been used by over 10,000 IT services firms around the world, from start-ups to multimillion-dollar MSPs. For more information and a FREE copy of The MSP’s Ultimate Guide To IT Services Marketing And Lead Generation, go to https://www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com


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