August 10, 2010

The "Give-Up" Strategy, Part 1

Among my least favorite aspects of new age web-centric marketing philosophy is the idea that the "big idea" is dead.

According to Seth Godin
The secret of big-time advertising during the 1960s and ’70s was the “big idea.” In A Big Life in Advertising, ad legend Mary Wells Lawrence writes, “... our goal was to have big, breakthrough ideas, not just to do good advertising. I wanted to create miracles.” A big idea could build a brand, a career, or an entire agency.
Alan Wolk says...
...orienting your web messaging around the sales-oriented “Big Idea” is a mistake.
Joseph Jaffe says...
I'm sick and tired of this notion that there is a singular BIG IDEA out there....Big ideas take too much time to find and we don't have the time to find 'em. 
From what I've read, the logic of "small idea" thinking goes like this: Since the consumer is now "in control" we can no longer force-feed her messages. Instead we have to be everywhere she is on the web with an "engaging conversation," not a sales message.

This means lots of small ideas all over the place, rather than one big idea defining and representing all our messages. I've heard this idea repeated frequently by digital agencies and their representatives.

Although Godin, Wolk, and Jaffe are three very smart guys, I couldn't disagree more.

If anything, a big idea is more important now than ever.

More about this in our next exciting episode, The "Give-Up" Strategy, Part 2.

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