If you've been reading my recent book reviews - you can check them all out in the Product and Book Reviews section on the right hand Categories menu - you'll see that a number of the recent entries have been about advertising and negotiating.
I just finished another advertising book called Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy.
If his last name sounds familiar it's because he founded the advertising company that is now globally known as Ogilvy & Mather.
While working in New Zealand for Telecom New Zealand in their Business Marketing group, I had the opportunity to work closely with both Ogilvy & Mather and Saatchi & Saatchi and got to see how the ad business works albeit from a client's perspective.
Advertising has always fascinated me. As I've gotten older I find myself paying more attention to various advertising messages I see. Print ads, tv ads, radio ads and Internet advertising to name a few.
Certainly when David Ogilvy first wrote this book in 1963 the Internet certainly didn't exist but he does refer to a number of the famous print ads and campaigns he and his company was responsible for.
The famous Dove soap ad - "Only Dove is one-quarter moisturizing cream" - was one of his most successful and enduring ads. The American Express "don't leave home without it" tagline was another.
The book shows his beginnings as a young ad man in London and follows his career to the US where he became famous.
Although the book was first written over 45 years ago, I did take away a number of things that are certainly applicable today that he mentions as being important to his success:
1. He only worked with companies whose products he actually used. He listed major clients of his such as Rolls-Royce, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Dove and others and how he uses all of their products personally.
2. He only worked with companies whose products he liked and believed in. A further to point #1.
3. He only worked with clients that made sense for him to work with. He wasn't afraid to fire clients who were too difficult to work with or ones where he wasn't profitable.
4. He wouldn't work with clients when he felt that their current advertising agency was doing a better job than his agency could do. I thought that one was very interesting: he wouldn't take a client if he felt his company couldn't outperform their current agency.
One of the things I really liked about the book was that he names names. He gives specific examples of companies and of situations where he fired clients or refused to work with them for whatever reason.
He gave one example to illustrate how he hated working with industry associations and in this instance, was invited to attend a pitch with a number of other agencies who were competing for the business of a rayon industry association. At the beginning of the presentation, he was told he had exactly 15 minutes to complete his presentation at which time the head of the rayon association's search committee would ring a bell (!) signifying that his time was up and that the next ad agency's 15 minutes had started.
After asking the committee a few questions about their requirements, their ad approval process and their budget - and realizing that he really didn't want to work with these people - he said "ring the bell!" and left without doing his pitch.
In other words he fired them before they even hired him.
From a sales perspective there were a number of key points in the book that anyone in advertising or sales - or anyone who is interested in these fields - would find interesting.
Just like we've learned that in sales you need to deal directly with the decision maker and not one of their underlings, David Ogilvy also believed that if you had to deal with too many decision makers - which was just one of the reasons he didn't bother with the rayon association - you were probably better off letting someone else deal with them.