Advertising should

Ian Lurie

Marketing is what we do. Advertising is what we often make as a result. It sounds very fulfilling. Alas, the process usually looks something like this:

  1. The marketing team builds out brilliant messaging and brand story.
    the happy marketing team
  2. They brainstorm some nifty ideas.
  3. Then, they pull together a completely incomprehensible collection of marketing platitudes creative brief around the ideas, which they pitch over the wall to management.
  4. Every yahoo who thinks they know anything about marketingAll stakeholders review the brief. All draw their own conclusions. None of those conclusions agree.
  5. Armed with these insights, the creative team staggers into a separate room to spawn beautiful but confusing creative that complies with corporate branding guidelines.
    the happy creative team
  6. Stakeholders review the creative and say “This is great!”
  7. The marketing team reviews the creative and says “This won’t convert!” Then they pout.
  8. In response, the creative team adds a ‘click here’ button.
  9. It goes live.
  10. Everyone gets drunk. I have a Diet Coke.
  11. Congrats! It’s advertising!

The result is an utter turd that converts about as well as opening your office window and yelling “BUY MY STUFF.” But by then the process has sucked out your will to live. You crawl across the finish line, then go hunting for chocolate.

phew - we made it

Yes, I’m prone to exaggeration. It isn’t always this bad. Once in a while everything falls into place. But I’m stuck in a middle seat on a 7-hour flight. So I’m grumpy. Er. More grumpy.

Why? Please, tell me why?

Why does this happen over and over?

I could name all the usual suspects: Poor communications, lack of organizational clarity, no sense of vision, no accountability, blah blah blah. But I think it comes down to discipline: We all know what we need to do. Getting everyone to do it every time, day after day is something else entirely.

Consistency is a butt-kicker. Anyone who’s tried to get their teen-ager to carry his damned dishes to the dishwasher and actually put them in after each of his 9 daily meals knows whereof I speak. We repeat the same mistakes, over and over. And over. When it comes to creating great marketing, we’re teenagers.

Somehow, we have to keep the real goal of marketing and advertising front-of-mind, even when deadlines, political squabbles and turf wars drive us all nuts. My solution: A USB-capable work monitor and kidney-puncher. But I’ve been told that’s not practical.

The better way: #AdvertisingShould

Fortunately, the folks at Copacino & Fujikado came up with a much better idea. They’ve started

It’s a Twitter-based scrapbook of ads wisdom. You can contribute to and learn from the yummy advertising goodness within by doing 3 simple things:

  1. Bookmark it, and check back every day for a nice reminder what we should be doing.
  2. Keep an eye on the #advertisingshould hashtag on Twitter.
  3. And contribute: Tweet how you think advertising should work, and use the hashtag #advertisingshould. Keep it going and it’ll keep us all on our toes. And, see your name in the dim light of my d-list celebrity status! I’m going to do a list of my favorites in a few weeks.

This may seem like a little thing. But it’s the little things that make projects successful, and marketing great: A little reminder now and then goes a long way. And it’s better than USB-administered corporal punishment. So go contribute your ideas to #advertisingshould.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Hey Ian,
    Love the tips (and of course the creative graphics) You make a great distinction between marketing/ advertising and one i have for sales vs. marketing is marketing gets the horse to the lake. Sales make the horse drink the water. Look forward to more of your posts happy 2013

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