This year will see an urgent reappraissal and reorganisation of the structure of the marketing process.
Recently there has been an increased emphasis on building the ultimate team as a core component of a successful marketing drive. Jan Smith at the RAC and David Brook of Channel 5 are keen exponents of the need to assemble a tailored taskforce. Such moves on the client side are a symptom of the growing desire to experiment with the conventional marketing process to produce the supremely creative dynamic.
Last year, when I was seeking advice about setting up my own company, leading figures in the advertising business said their key concern was the ability of individual employees to interact. All too often the advertising agency vision had made people blind to the import-ance of team relationships. A look at agencies’ family trees proves the point.
Cynics will say: “We all know this. After all – whether in an agency or a marketing department the people are paramount – we are a people business.”
But an increased focus on individuals and the working environment in which they are placed raises the broader issue of co-ordinating the whole marketing mix. And this is where the obvious is often ignored.
Harnessing the energy between team players has a direct bearing on the level of pleasure they experience and the number of “insightful climaxes” they achieve. Creative teams (art director and copywriter) seem to have exclusive rights to this sort of relationship; the description creative team speaks for itself. Outside this unique relationship a team spirit is often valued but rarely striven for.
The traditional working relationships of agencies and clients, and the suspicion with which one type of agency regards another, does not help to engender spirit.
These relationships do not encourage an holistic approach to marketing campaigns, rather they produce a series of partial solutions. (The marketing director is often left to glue the parts together.) Instead, the fusion of the elements should be a natural, lively and intrinsic part of the process.
It is only when the team ethic extends to all areas of the marketing mix that a campaign can be fuelled by an energy that goes beyond the bland rhetoric of integrated communication. Great marketing campaigns have a momentum and luck all of their own when they are driven with passion by focused teams. Sir Paul McCartney knows that better than most. Hopefully the Sega and Sky teams have an inkling.
Marketing is about the gut feelings and energy of individuals. Great marketing is not that of a checklist and arse-covering variety. Indeed, success can often be the greatest enemy of successful brands, and the original team often becomes removed from the coal-face, leading to a loss of momentum.
Everybody is searching for the ultimate creative solution and how best to facilitate the generation of great ideas. For marketing people, the answer partly lies in building a team dynamic across the whole of the marketing mix.
James Redfield says in the Celestine Prophecy: “When each member of a group uplifts whoever happens to be speaking, remarkable levels of energy and insight can be achieved.”
Here’s to numerous “climaxes” in 1997.