Posts filed under ‘Mad Men’

Marketing Lessons Professional Services Firms Can Learn From Mad Men – “Signal 30”

This episode, directed smartly by John Slattery (Roger Sterling) is a classic. Pete Campbell is yet again one of the biggest creepers on the small screen – this time flirting with a high school girl while attending a driving safety class. Mothers hide your daughters indeed.

We also find Lane – essentially the agency’s COO – unexpectedly developing business. Lane, who is British, is dragged along to a bar full of Brits to watch soccer. He ends up enjoying himself and returning to the office with an unexpected dividend – a business lead. It seems Jaguar may be interested in Sterling Draper Cooper Pryce’s expertise. The lesson here is that you just never know where the next lead will come, so you need to be ready with your elevator speech and a business card at all times.

There is a great line told by a huckster on The Simpsons and voiced by the late Phil Hartman – “A town with money is a little like the mule with the spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it, and danged if he knows how to use it.” Well, much is the case with a Lane and this potential client. Enter the great Roger Sterling.

Roger gives Lane some great advice, very well summed up by Esquire in this blog posting:

  1. Find out everything you can about him before you get there; if you still like him, let it show.
  2. Order a Scotch rocks and water. Drink half. When it turns see-through, order another.
  3. Then it’s kind of like being on a date. It’s best to smile and sit there like you’ve got no place to go, and just let them talk. Somewhere in the middle of the entree, they’ll throw out something revealing.
  4. Wait till dessert to pounce. Let him know you’ve got the same problem he has, whatever it is. Then you’re in a conspiracy, which is the basis of a “friendship.”
  5. If for some reason he’s more reserved, flip the script: Feed him your own personal morsel.
  6. Get your answers; be nice to the waiter; don’t let him near the check.

The reality is that there is a method and a strategy that should be employed when dining with clients and prospects.  Just one lesson here is that you have homework to do before you walk through the door. You need to read and digest your companion’s biography. You need to search for all mentions – including social media – of them online. Perhaps, most importantly, you need to identify what issues are likely important to them and just how you can be a problem solver.

A well-done dining situation (in this case it sadly did not work out for Lane) can yield enormous dividends. The reason why Roger was so successful in his career is that he listened to his clients and spent time with them – even if it was in places of ill repute at times. Business relationships won’t work if they are cold and calculated.  Take it from Roger. Truly his advice is Sterling’s Gold.

Michael Bond

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May 9, 2012 at 10:43 pm Leave a comment

Marketing Lessons Professional Services Firms Can Learn From Mad Men – “Tea Leaves”

As the season of Mad Men progresses, Michael Bond will be providing a short summary of the marketing lessons professional services firms can learn from the advertising drama.

Last week’s episode seemed like it was setting up a number of events for the future. Betty –Don’s ex-wife – made her seasonal debut and had a brief cancer scare, Pete continued to play with Roger’s mind and a bit of tension is starting to develop between Don and his new bride, Megan. This was all great stuff, but hardly very relevant to professional services firms.

An interesting event that does seem relevant is the H.J. Heinz Company executive asking Don to convince the Rolling Stones to record a jingle for them that changes the lyrics to the song “Time is on my Side” to “Heinz, Heinz, Heinz is on my side” for a commercial.

Don and Harry (the agency’s “new media” guru) trek off to see the band only for Harry to be fooled into signing an unknown band called the “Tradewinds.” Hardly what the Heinz executive wanted.

The lesson in this is that it is important to know your limitations. It is important to understand what you are trying to promote or market and have realistic expectations about how the campaign will unfold.

It is paramount that you undertake a thought-leadership or marketing campaign with both aspirations (such as being quoted in high-profile, national publication) and more readily-achievable goals (such as being quoted in a regional publication or authoring a byline article in a trade publication). The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we have found that the later set of frequently makes it easier to achieve the former.

–          Michael Bond

By the Way –– Just for fun, here is the Kellogg’s Rice Krispies ad that Don references:

April 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm 1 comment

Marketing Lessons Professional Services Firms Can Learn From Mad Men – “A Little Kiss” Parts I and II

This past Sunday, Mad Men returned for its long overdue fifth season. While the two-hour debut lacked Don Draper working his magic in pitching clients, it did not disappoint in drilling into the marketing lessons relevant no matter the era.

Peggy Olsen (played by Elizabeth Moss) presented a cutting-edge (for the time) ad proposal to executives from the H.J. Hines Company. The idea was to use high-speed photography to show beans dancing. Here’s Peggy, taken from a scene replayed in a recent interview on NPR’s Fresh Air:

And so we take a bandage of this new micro photography and high-speed camera to show a bean ballet. Spinning in air with their delicious perfection. The beans pirouette in slow motion. They somersault in slow motion. Some of them spin clockwise, some counter-clockwise so they’ll appear to be moving towards each other, until they drop into a full can, first seen from the top. There’s a splash of mouthwatering sauce as each one lands. Then we cut to the front. The iconic label…

And the client’s reaction, one that invokes the tone many professional service marketers receive when they pitch new and different:

You ever seen beans up close? They’re slimy. They look like a bunch of bloody organs. And it’s not just for fellas like me that saw things in Korea. Kidney beans are called kidney beans because they’re shaped that way. But you could call all beans that. They look better in a group, in a bowl. Hell, what’s wrong with a spoon?

Replace high-speed photography and a spoon with print and electronic and you could have had a similar conversation regarding the transition from printed firm brochures to websites. This was a paradigm shift much like Peggy was proposing to the Hines executive.

At times, we can become very limiting in how we present our core information – beans or expertise. It may feel right to have that spoon in there with the beans, or to have a firm brochure to hand clients, but are you making a statement? Are you effectively differentiating your product in the marketplace? With all due respect to tradition, today’s professional service companies need to consider the “high-speed photography” of today – social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs). After all, a good product needs great presentation.

–          Michael Bond

March 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm 1 comment


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