Back To School

Kids across the country are preparing for a new school year with pristine notebooks, reams of loose-leaf paper and pencils so fresh they’re not even sharpened. They gear up with the hope that the next year will be better than the last.

Funny thing is, no matter how new and improved their equipment, it’s their desire to gain knowledge and their teacher’s abilities that will determine how much they learn.

It’s the same in marketing. You can buy all the new office supplies and equipment in the world and without the ambition to learn and the right marketing partner to help you, it won’t happen.

At WilsonMcGuire Creative, we begin our year, not with new pencils and fresh paper, but in search of new strategies and fresh approaches. In order to find the answers for 2006, we start with questions from 2005. We analyze results and ask ourselves what worked and what didn’t. We review audiences and determine whether or not we are talking to the right people. We look at the behaviors of each target audience and ask ourselves (and our clients) if we are offering packages, products and/or services that appeal to them. We analyze media and determine what worked and what didn’t. And we review advertising executions and ask ourselves (and our clients) if the message was on tone and compelling; if the execution was appealing.

This is time-consuming, brain-draining work. For us and for our clients. But it’s the foundation for every advertising and marketing communication we create. Some people have suggested that we remove the word “Creative” from our name because it’s limiting. After all, we are a full-service shop. Putting the word Creative in our name, they reason, highlights only our creative product. For us, “creative” is not just about putting words and visuals together, it’s about inspiring people. It’s about strategy. It’s about speaking to people in a way that will move them to action. And we can only do that if we thoroughly understand our audience and our client’s product or service.

The great thing about a marketing plan is that it’s a clean slate. A new year. A chance to discover something you never knew before. An opportunity to do better than you did last year. (Which is good because the most consistent thing about marketing plans is that the next year’s goals and objectives are inevitably higher than the last.)

What are your goals for 2006? How are you going to get there? And, more importantly, who’s going to help you?