Monday, 9 April, 2007

Kill the pilot

Your boss wants you to find out if direct marketing will work. You call five agencies. Order them to present. Tell them nothing else. They ask nothing, so it’s not all your fault. The most desperate one comes with speculative creative. Which you put on a presentation and show your boss. He nods. They have the job.

You start haggling. They agree to slave rates. Once the relationship is established… the whore will become the wife.

You’ll run a pilot, on profit-sharing basis. Even as your company pays a multinational consultant millions for advice you’ll never use. They must, if they believe that direct marketing can produce results, share the risk. Never mind your share, as a fraction of your marketing spend, is a tiny fraction of their share, as a fraction of their turnover.

The pilot ‘fails’. The agency insists it’ll succeed if it’s scaled up. You know better. Direct marketing cannot work for your industry. Why leave it at that? No, let’s go a step further. Direct marketing doesn’t work in India. Because nobody reads.

If only the couples of this country piloted sex as marketers pilot direct marketing, our population would have been a tiny fraction of what it is today.

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