Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Marketing Paladins RoundTable

My apologies to King Arthur, and to
Charlemagne, too, for that matter!
As my long-time readers (and friends!) know well, we here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC are nothing if not inveterate travelers. We try each year to manage a grand tour of these United States - and sometimes our friendly Provincial friends to the North (eh?) - meet-ing, greet-ing, and seminar-ing our way hither, thither, and yon.
On one of my recent gala-vants, I was able to sit down with some of the finest minds in marketing and advertising. Sadly, it was not an actual RoundTable as our title indicates, but rather a series of conversations in a series of venues (most of them at Red Roof Inns - many having both indoor pools and free in-room Wi-Fi!).

As my most recent missive may have made clear, I (along with most of my bi-athlete prep-school chums!) have long had a fondness for military strategy, history, and so forth - not that I'm the model of a modern major general, by any means! Nonetheless, among the tomes over which we would pore in those days (and nights!) were the recountings of the exploits of the knights of King Arthur's Round Table (there was surprisingly little mention of flour or other wheat-like products, but I digress) and those of the Paladins (though not the one from San Francisco, I fear!) of the court of Charlemagne.
Granted that these were distinct groups, operating in different regions and at different times, I was drawn to the camaraderie and bonhomie evidenced in both groups of men. Accordingly, when I find fellow professionals who seem to embody the absolute best of the marketing (and advertising!) field, I have come to dub them the Paladins of Marketing, or Marketing Paladins. I imagine them sitting around the RoundTable, discussing at length, and with great vim and vigor, the most important topics and disputations of the day.
Thus, when I have the chance to sit down with one of these modern day Marketing Paladins, I feel it's a chance I must take - and a record must be made.
This, then, is the first in an occasional sub-series of newsletters which will grant you, the reader, an insider's look at the workings of some of the finest minds I know. This first installment is the record of a conversation I had with one of my good friends, and one of the earliest supporters of our full-motion-video-equipped beverage vending machines (sadly, our business deal was never - quite - consummated).

"Joe" did ask that I disguise his identity, as there was some chance of his leaving his then-current employment in a simply peachy Southeastern metropolis and heading for dryer climes out West. I have endeavored to keep his identity somewhat hidden - not least by slightly editing (or even leaving out!) the answers to some of the more personally-identifying questions, and by employing that in-famous "blue" oval. Still, I believe that all and sundry of our readers will find "Joe's" thoughts both enlightening and refreshing. [In case you're wondering, "Joe" may (or may not!) be a pseudo-nym or "nom de guerre" for my actual interviewee - but I'll have to keep you wondering! Yoiks!]

Jay: What's the most important thing you've learned about advertising?
"Joe:" The ability to deal with change isn't good enough. You must have a passion to drive change.

Jay: Is there any food that helps you think more creatively?
"Joe:" To what food group does a cigar belong?

Jay: If you had to live on a desert island, what would you miss most?
"Joe:" How about some more details? Does the island have a golf course?

Jay: What got you into this business in the first place?
"Joe:" I was a pre-med refugee who stumbled into a marketing major. I really enjoyed my advertising classes (both of them!) and had a portfolio, comprised of the best of my college art courses. Looking back on it, it's a wonder why anyone hired me after they saw it.

Jay: Who was a big influence in your career?
"Joe:" I was fortunate to have several mentors during my career. They taught me media's technical skills, how to manage and inspire people, and how to have fun along the way.

Jay: What was "your finest moment," the thing of which you're most proud?
"Joe:" I'm proudest when someone I taught along the way has become successful in their ad career.

Jay: Do you have a method for coming up with ideas and solutions for clients?
"Joe:" Get to know a client's business, then, get to know their customer. Not just who they are, but how they live, act and think. I want to understand all of the rational and emotional factors in their purchase decision process.

Jay: What talent do you wish you had?
"Joe:" To write music and carry a tune. Not a perfect note, just one good enough so I could be the lead singer in a punk band. [note: At this point, I was pleased to introduce "Joe" to my associates, Morgan and Shannon, who were two of the members of the (sadly) now-defunct Celtic-Punk band, Left Sister Down. It seems nothing ever came of that meeting.]

Jay: What makes a great brand?
"Joe:" The ability to listen to their customers, then adjust to those customer needs. The great brands will continue to have relevance and give value to their customers.

Jay: What was your most embarrassing moment in this business?
"Joe:" Back in the polyester days, I had a pair of pants literally fall apart at the seams in the office. I learned a real life lesson on the value of quality that day.

Jay: What are your plans after advertising?
"Joe:" Lots of travel. With golf clubs.

Jay: What's your favorite sports team?
"Joe:" Anything [hometown]...[NBA Team], [NHL Team], [MLB Team] and yes...even the [NFL Team].

Jay: What frustrates you the most?
"Joe:" Negativism. I want to beat bloody hell out of people who aren't positive. @ssholes. [sic]

Jay: Do you have any pets?
"Joe:" No pets. I have a tough enough time making sure that [my boss] goes on the papers.

Jay: What was growing up like for you?
"Joe:" I grew up with [Y] brothers, [X] sisters and a whole gang of kids on a playground in a small [Midwestern] town. Every day was a blast!

So there you have it. The first full download of a wide-ranging and stimulating conversation with one of my Marketing Paladins sitting with me at the RoundTable.

Last time, Jay wrote about combining skill sets in unorthodox fashion:
Holger Hesten responded:
"Jay, I felt I was really a part of your chess boxing match as I read your newsletter. I still don't see how it helps me as a marketer, though. Of course, there are plenty of times I'd love to grab a client and punch him silly...."

Hold on there, Holger! There was no call to arms meant to be included in my last missive! Rather, it serves (or should!) as a reminder that we often have skills which are apparent only in our avocations which can be of great use in our true vocations (or callings!). That's how it should help you as a marketer. Should you desire further guidance, we here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC stand ready to help.


-- Jay


Lionel Paddington said...

Not the type individual I would prefer on my team. This man is nothing more than a cut-up. It's the likes of him that have driven this economy to the brink of collapse.

I'd expect more from you
Stained-Dish. Times are tough. How about some meat with the rotten potatoes you are serving up?

Jay Standish said...

Mr. Paddington -
I had hoped to wait until my "blood" cooled before replying to your (perhaps unintentionally?) inflammatory post. However:

Please note that I take great pains to avoid misspellings of names, places, and other proper nouns - even to the point of not making fun of others' "funny" names.
Stained-Dish indeed, sirrah!

Whether or not you are interested in having "Joe" on your team is much less of an issue than would be his regard of you in the same sense. As a Marketing Paladin, I fear he is much more likely to be in the "hiring and firing" line than are you.

Not only do I find your dis-respect of my friend, "Joe," to be somewhat reprehensible, but I also feel your incohate pessimism regarding our economy to be at best an echo, and at worst a part of the vast main-stream media program to cause economic problems in order to have something about which to pontificate and report. Times are only as hard as you allow them to be. If it's too hard, do some push-ups. Still, I doubt that excess hardness is your problem.

Based on the bold aggression in your comment, I can but assume that regardless of the type of hat you might wear, it is quite unlikely that you would be taken home from the train station - by anyone - to be cared for and "loved" as was the original Paddington.

In future posts, I hope you'll display more grace and aplomb.

Excelsior nonetheless!

Dan said...

You just ripped that off our website, putz!

Philmon Gouche said...

Although most of us will not admit it, at least publicly, we all know that media bloggers are biased. All web crawlers lean one way or another as it relates to the subjects and/or people they cover. Mainstream hacks lean to the left, while the alternative wankers, such as talk radio lean to the right. Whether it be in politics, music, film, or the fashion industry, the blogging community has its favorites and often makes it known.

Of course, for appearances of objectivity, most take painstaking measures to hide it. Although some are better at hiding it than others, seldom is their bias undetectable. For example, this 7 year college lad Standish, apparetnly blogs his own site with different names (don't ask me how I know--while Standish lives in an Atari world I'm the Lone Ranger--he won't get this reference but I digress).

Unfortunately, today most of the news rooms have gone from media bias, to engaging in media corruption. While media bias is a breach of the fundamental journalistic standards that may lead to loss of the public trust, media corruption is the use of criminal devices to manipulate or defraud the public, and destroys our societal moral fabric.

With the proliferation of technological advances, and subsequent increased ambitions on the global socio-political/economic platform, so too have the ambitions in newsrooms across the nation increased. No longer do media journalists prioritize source accuracy and reliability in news reporting over ratings.

News sources are now competing for popularity, high ratings and advertising dollars. With full access and control of the news outlets that reach the masses, and no one to "answer to," media has ceased to be reliable tools for information, but become powerful tools for fraud and manipulation. Unthinkable as it once was, today journalists fabricate stories, create fraudulent documents to pass them off as evidentiary facts, and for personal gain even collude with elements of society to sabotage rivals, hurt their enemies, and control the masses. Right or wrong, they do whatever pleases them.

Who wouldn't? Given the tenets of the press, they can make up "undisclosed sources", fabricate stories of events that never happened, slander/ libel individuals, engage in every level of criminality, and in the name of journalism arrogantly invoke the protections of the profession, make millions, and become "red carpet stars." Hah and meanwhile Standish compounds the issue.

Jay Standish said...

Mr(?). Gouche -
It's not immediately clear to me why you thought a slight edit of a 2004 Blogcritics magazine article would be relevant here - even with the slight emendation to make it appear to have been aimed at this humble "blogger."

Whatever the reason, I do find the general thrust of your purloined posting to be quite perspicacious.

One last thing, am I to take it that you are the commenter who has used "Clayton Moore" as a nom de plume in replying to posts on another (also excellent!) "blog" here on the internet (viz detroitmediaguy, to which you may find a link on my own "blog")?

At any rate, I'm glad to see you are well read, although perhaps not quite up-to-date, and that you seem to be a thoughtful fellow.


Anonymous said...

Jay -
In your studies of King Arthur and his pals, I wonder if you ever came across this tidbit that just appeared in my inbox today:
The largest of the knights of the Round Table was Sir Cumference.

tee hee!

Jay Standish said...

Well, anon, I must say that was a clever bit of word-play.

Thank you for sharing, and feel free to post with your own "actual" identity next time. We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC don't bite!