After reading Study: Marketers' Budgets Likely To Plunge Further, an article by Sarah Mahoney, I started to wonder when ‘ad agency’ language will evolve into this century. Journalists and practitioners seem to be equally behind the times.
The article talked about the decline in ad budgets within the next six months and she mentioned what kind of spending most likely be cut or eliminated.
Immediately, I thought wrong verb choice. Clients and professionals in marketing communications are focused on “investing” not “spending”. And, oh my, in times of economic turbulence or not, everyone has to be thinking about Return on Investment and Return on Ideas.
If I felt my broker was just spending my money on his recommendations in order to pad his commission income, I would be bringing my account back in-house and start e-trading the next day.
Is this just a matter of semantics, spending versus investing? You betcha. Words have meaning. As people in the business of creating meaning (i.e. brand experiences for customers and prospects) we have to walk a talk that the clients value. And it has to be an authentic win-win-win effort. The customers win (or they don’t come back), the clients win (their business builds) and the communications firms win (because they are providing value).
For what it’s worth, ad agencies that spend their clients’ money are going to get what they deserve—a declining rate of interest. The upside for them is at least they will have more time to catch up on past episodes of Mad Men.