Who’s Been in the Widget Business Before?

Has anyone at your current advertising or PR agency owned a company outside of advertising or PR? Have they owned a company where they must sell something by using advertising and PR? I would bet, most often, the answer is no.

I ask these questions because it dawned on us recently, while updating our website’s design section, that one gets a whole new perspective on marketing when they have to put their own money into an advertising or public relations campaign. If the people you are dealing with at your marketing agency haven’t paid for media, or creative, or PR out of their own budget, they may not have a full appreciation of how these services fit into a company’s bottom line.

Of course, your agency markets its services through PR and advertising, but they’re marketing…marketing. But have they ever invested a whole bunch of money into building a widget or a doohickey and then had to invest even more money to get the world to know about it?

We have. Not on a large scale by any means, but on enough of a scale to know that what agencies provide must pay for itself in the end. If I spend $1.5 million dollars on a television commercial and a media buy, it must make my company at least $1,500,001 in return. Preferably more. A lot more.

Duh. It’s called ROI. We know you know that. The point is, if you work with people in an agency that have experienced the (sometimes painful) process from the “brand” side of the fence, you may be able to trust them a little more.

We truly believe that good advertising and PR agencies can make companies incredibly profitable. We also believe that it’s good for the people in agencies to have been a widget provider at some point.

We’ve created, branded and sold widgets in the form of motorcycle calendars and rock climbing clothing. Neither business was huge, but both businesses required us to put our own capital on the line for both the production and the marketing of said widget. Bottom line is, you learn something from that which can not be taught in advertising school.

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