Magazine article Marketing

Analyze, Create and Prove Your Salt for Adland

Magazine article Marketing

Analyze, Create and Prove Your Salt for Adland

Article excerpt

"I sold my interest in Benton and Bowles when I was 35," quipped Senator William Benton, founder of the hugely successful agency which bore his name, "and I'd been making three or four hundred thousand dollars a year. Any business where a kid can make that kind of money is no business for old men." And that was 50 years ago.

Was he right? As you climb the greasy pole in the quaint little village of adland, the only unique selling proposition you can offer clients is experience. Youth, radicalism, lovability all wane: only experience waxes, and exponentially at that.

As a proposition, experience gets to be unique (well, jolly nearly) because an awful lot of ad people - marketing people too - discover the truth of Senator Benton's maxim the hard way. The first wisp of grey hair and they receive the order of the boot faster than you can say Grecian 2000. Yet paradoxically, at the same time, experience gets to be a selling proposition because only those few who survive the Benton hurdle can offer clients its benefits.

Nonetheless, though it's painful for those of us who are something-something to admit it, Benton was basically right. In advertising, experience is much over-rated. Almost every prospective client asks whether our agency has previous experience of their market. Well, at some point in the haphazard concentration of events that I call my career, I will almost certainly have dabbled in their market: I've dabbled in most. But if I were a prospective client, I wouldn't give a toss. My previous experience is more likely to be constraining and retrictive than helpful and encouraging. …

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