This piece was originally written for the Advertising Week Social Club. Lots of great content over there, check it out.
For many years the phrase “Great, fast or cheap – pick two” has been a favorite of mine. A delicious bon mot that creatives throw around amongst each other, rarely however having the courage to actually say it to a client. It was an understood but unspoken truism that was proven correct time and time again.
Even as desktop publishing and various technological barriers to entry began to fall, there was still a feeling that truly great work was something that needed to be crafted over time, and that that effort deserved an appropriate level of compensation. The corollary of course would come after a project turned sour. “Well, you get what you pay for.”
I was recently in a conversation with someone at a marketing agency and we were talking about this and he noted that for those of us who work in the social media field the truth was, “great, fast or cheap – pick three.” Indeed. The rules have changed thanks to the #1 advertising buzz-word of 2013: Real-Time Marketing.
Now, the truth is that the majority of brands putting a marker down on ‘fast’ have done so at the expense of good, and many have thrown away cheap as well, opting to eschew the ‘get the intern’ approach and instead hiring a specialist agency. Of course the brand wasn’t set up for this sort of thing, so legal, marketing, sales and other internal groups hindered the use of the outside agency. But every once in awhile everything comes together and that little part in the middle of the ‘great/fast/cheap’ venn diagram lights up. Oreo now being the primary example.
And so an outlier becomes the perceived default. Now brands are trying to find ways to quickly turn out great content at little cost. But right now that’s a bit like seeing someone win the lottery, asking them their strategy for picking numbers, and heading down to the liquor store to buy your own winning ticket. If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it.
So how does an agency respond to this? How do you manage client expectations while still proving your worth, and the worth of the strategy and tactics you’ve sold in? Here are some tips:
1. DON’T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET
Sure events like the Super Bowl or MTV Video Awards are a prime opportunity to strike Real-Time gold, but make sure your plan is bigger than that. Your strategy should be an on-going one, not all or nothing.
2. DON’T LET SOCIAL BE ISOLATED
Bake the social strategy and tactics into other above and below the line executions. Social, real-time efforts should be one leg of a stool – remove it and the whole thing topples over.
3. DEFINING “FAST”
Make sure your definition of “fast” and your client’s definition of “fast” is the same thing. Does one day for you = one week for them? Does one day for you = one hour for them? Either way it can be a problem.
Great, Fast, Cheap may be the present for marketers, just make sure you slow down and think about how you are going to make it happen.