Seven quotes from the greatest minds in advertising

21st century advertising technology offers an almost limitless ability to create a buzz around your company.

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2015-01-14

No successful business owner will ever debate the strategic importance of advertising in our continually-evolving business landscape. Due in no small part to the advent of the world wide web, it is now within reach of virtually any business owner to implement thoughtful, targeted advertising campaigns to fall directly under the eyes of prospective clients, creating new opportunities to earn their business.

From classic billboards to mobile marketing, 21st century advertising technology offers an almost limitless ability to create a buzz around your company. Today, we’ll ignore these modern advances and get ‘back to basics’, if you’ll pardon the tired, old cliché. We’ve assembled a list of authentic pearls of wisdom from the past and present, brought to you by some of the minds which made the greatest impact on the advertising industry and ultimately, the business world.

We thought our readers might find it interesting to see how Azura’s team of strategists, copy writers, designers and developers apply the wisdom imparted by these great innovators, within the context of your brick & mortar and online business presence.

Do your homework. Or we will.

Widely-regarded as ‘The Father of Advertising’ for his work from 1949 to 1999, the late David Ogilvy previously worked as an analyst in the British Intelligence Service during WWII. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand the origin and significance of the wisdom summed-up in our first snippet:

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It behooves all business owners to know as much as possible about their marketplaces, competitors, customers and also, changes in their respective industries. Knowledge is power but it’s of no use to anyone if it isn’t decisively acted–on. Running your business leverages your core competencies but tireless industry research is one of the critical elements that Azura brings to bear on your marketing initiative, all in the goal of delivering the right message, directly to your new customers.

What’s the plan?

Celebrated professor, author and researcher Jef L. Richards has devoted his career to advancing the understanding of the many individual facets of marketing and advertising. One of his most famous statements is simply-worded, yet delivers a deliciously-insightful message:

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The measure of any strategist is in how effectively he or she makes use of limited resources to reach a desired outcome. A grave error made by many business owners is to initiate marketing campaigns without a clear game plan, resulting in little or no return on investment. At Azura, we combine our extensive experience with the knowledge gained in the research phase of our customer projects to formulate a strategic plan, spanning the numerous advertising disciplines and types of media available, all to achieve the coveted ‘desired outcome’. This outcome is of course, that your message is a) presented-to and b) read-by your new clientele, whoever and wherever they may be.

If it isn’t so, don’t say it.

By the mid 1900s, when consumers saw something on TV, in a magazine or a newspaper, there was a general propensity towards naiveté, leading many to believe whatever was being said on faith. A statement as simple as “As seen on T.V.” added a significant kick to any campaign, often with no actual merit whatsoever. Another gem from David Ogilvy was coined in consideration of this phenomenon:

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In that era, unscrupulous advertisers exploited good-natured consumers to the point where the advertising industry would ultimately fall under a negative light. Consumers are far more jaded in the 21st century, and rightly so. In an age where consumers in general are more educated and have instant access to all manner of information, Azura’s exhaustive research and disciplined copy writing ensures that you leave a credible and favorable impression of your organization with your new customers.

Stand out.

Seth Godin is a best-selling author, marketer and public speaker, primarily on the subject of marketing in the digital age. He aptly summed-up one of the pillars of Azura’s creative philosophy in the following statement:

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The road less-travelled can be a scary place. It takes not only imagination, but courage for creative resources to be innovative and not to simply repeat cookie-cutter or tried & tested (translated: unoriginal) formats for marketing materials. We’re in an age where consumers are bombarded with so much information that unless there’s something remarkable about it, whatever that information is, it’s unlikely to be noticed, much less remembered or acted-on.

Keep it simple, silly.

OK, while he technically wasn’t a ‘great mind in advertising’, perhaps you’ve heard of this next fellow anyway. Leonardo Da Vinci was almost unarguably the most genius and creative person in all of human history. It is with great reverence and humility that we share with you, this gem of his:

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As a general rule, marketers have a very short period of time to engage a viewer and get their attention. The first precious seconds determine if the viewing continues or if the viewer moves-along. Successful advertisers manage to get their point across by applying as simple of a strategy as possible to making materials appealing to the viewer.

Some of the most memorable ads of all time have often been ones which appeared as though they took mere minutes to come-up with. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. Elegant simplicity almost always belies the creative ingenuity employed in the development of a successful ad campaign.

Sow. Reap.

Most people think of Henry Ford as the man who built cars and pioneered the moving assembly line. In truth, he was also a visionary leader in the area of marketing. Despite year after year of stellar business growth with his legendary Model T, Henry Ford continually committed an enormous amount of his company’s resources to building a mammoth publicity machine, reaching ever-rising numbers of prospective customers.

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When do you advertise? If we pay heed to the wisdom imparted onto us by business legends, the question should instead be phrased: “When don’t you advertise?”

For many less savvy business owners, there can be a tendency to react to slow periods by reducing advertising budgets in the goal of leaning-out operational costs. This short-sighted view highlights the perception by some of advertising being considered an ‘expense’, as opposed to a profit center.

If anything, a decrease in activity or slow seasons can actually be taken advantage of by preparing marketing collateral to bolster your position in the marketplace. If there are two competing companies and only one seizes the opportunity to reach out to a common client base, the outcome of such a scenario is easily predicted indeed.

Make it interesting.

Known as ‘the Socrates of San Francisco’ for his pioneering work during the ‘mad men’ era of the 1930s and 1940s, Howard Luck Gossage was a notorious non-conformist who so brilliantly captioned the obvious when he quipped:

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Well-written, flowing and engaging sales copy is not only a form of art but also a necessity, if marketing collateral is to actually be read by its intended audience. Without compelling content, advertisements invariably become white noise and are ignored, depriving businesses of the opportunity to attract the valuable prospects who discard the collateral in question. It’s for this reason that at Azura, we employ knowledge gained from the research performed at the onset of every project to determine the most relevant content and also to choose a suitable writing style to achieve any given marketing objective.

Still not convinced? Consider that this blog entry is a (very) thinly-veiled advertisement, extolling the virtues of Studio Azura and our ability to create engaging content. To illustrate our point, we threw-together a 1400 word ‘mountain of text’. While this would ordinarily be unthinkable for advertising collateral, by employing the lessons taught within, we tried to make it an interesting and compelling read for you. Do these concepts actually work? It would appear so… you just finished reading every word of it!

About the author

Natasha Yefman is the founder and creative director of Studio Azura, a digital agency specializing in branding, web development and inbound marketing.

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