I’m in the middle of traveling across the country (currently in California heading towards Arizona) as I write this (no I’m not typing while driving.) And I’m deep in thought and about things - what I’m doing, accomplishing, and how I can be better in my personal and business life. Over the years I’ve watched this crazy industry re-invent and 180° so many times that it’s literally forced some to run and seek employment in different industries, and I’ve personally watched and helped people who burned out to the point of not knowing who they were anymore. Unfortunately I’ve witnessed breakdowns, heart attacks and a stroke (not me thankfully) as well as fantastic monumental events that domino effected and reshaped people’s lives. I have to say that I’ve enjoyed most of the ride, and have been able to maintain my balance while keeping my head above the clouds. For the most part.
The marketing industry is crazy. There’s no denying that. It takes a special breed to allocate the energy necessary to succeed. And expending that energy doesn’t always guarantee success. We’ve lost out on many pitches over the years, including those that we thought were slam-dunks. We’ve acquired many great accounts, and some not-so great ones. My agency has lost out to DIY advertisers that believe a computer and Facebook account is all you need to grow your business (by the way, good luck with that.) We’ve had marketing proposals and creative concepts blatantly stolen from underneath us.
On the flip side, we’ve been greatly appreciated by clients that have gone out of their way to thank us. It’s those recognized moments that are special. But it’s truly the relationships developed with people I’ve met along the way that I appreciate the most. I’ve made some lifelong friends that are/were clients, outside suppliers and employees. I’ve made friends with other agency heads, which may sound strange but is more common than you might think (because in some ways we’re all in this thing together.)
I’ve been asked many times what the “key” to success in advertising is. I know the answers, but I would be doing a disservice to those just starting their journey if I mentioned them here. What I will say is this – you need to first jump on the train and hold on tight for the ride of your life. Take everything in along the way - you’ll find what you are looking for in the process. And never believe that you know everything that there is to know.
One more parting thought – the mountains in Southern California heading towards Arizona look very similar to giant piles of shaved chocolate. Now I’m hungry and it’s currently 111° out. Talk soon.