This is one of an occasional series featuring direct marketing leaders who will share five key insights they have learned from their career in marketing and advertising.
This week your Friday Forecaster spoke with Geraldine Newman, CEO & Creative Director of NEWTHYNK/Geraldine Newman Communications, a New York based creative agency that blends branding and selling for Fortune 1000 companies as well as entrepreneurs and start-ups. Her broad spectrum of successes includes iconic campaigns for fitness products Buns of Steel, The Firm, and Zone Pilates, as well as best-of-class category leaders that include Kodak, Hyundai, and Colonial Penn. An award-winning creative, Geraldine commits a portion of her profits to efforts that she is passionate about including women-empowering and animal causes. Here are five insights Geraldine articulated during our conversation:
- Focus on What’s Important to the Audience
“If you think about advertising as a linear path, then you really have to start with the end game. For me that means focusing on who you are talking to and what’s important to them; in other words, your audience. It doesn’t matter what medium or mechanism you choose – whether that’s television, radio, print, online, or retail – no matter what you are using to reach people, you can never forget that you are still reaching people. One must take a Shakespearean approach that plumbs psychological and emotional depth to create something meaningful to their intended audience.”
- Eschew Formulas in Favor of Creative Thinking
“A good many people in this industry promote the idea that there is a formula to successful advertising communication. One only has to look at the success rate – or lack of success rate – to ask the question, ‘Who would want to make that recipe?’ Formulaic approaches are a weak substitute for analyzing and thinking through a problem and then devising a solution that works, as opposed to being hidebound to a process that consistently delivers failure.”
- Don’t Overemphasize the Functional at the Expense of the Emotional
“Too often marketers over-rely on the functional aspect of their product. They ignore or fail to understand the emotion that motivates all behavior. For example, I once worked on a campaign for a product in the pet category. While the marketer did a great job of showcasing the product benefits and features – the utility of it – they left out all the love between owner and pet. Never forget that we humans are emotional creatures, and it is that emotional payoff that rewards viewers and motivates them to want to take action and embrace a product.”
- Be Sensitive to The Differences in Gender Sensibilities
“There are profound differences between a male and female target audience. It’s a bigger contrast that a lot of people seem to understand. For example, the genders have totally different senses of humor. I’ve worked on a variety of campaigns including beer, cosmetics, and fragrances. Men will respond to more rank humor, such as one-upmanship where, say, one character gets put down at the expense of another. On the other hand, that approach might not necessarily appeal to women. You never see a successful perfume or skincare campaign with such broad humor; wit perhaps, but not the kind of high camp that would appeal to men. It’s not a question of sexism, but of sensibility.”
- Embrace an Innocence of Discovery
“You can’t enter into a project thinking you already necessarily have all the answers. For example, I’ve learned you can never know too much about your target market. You have to be open to finding out about a breadth and depth of new things that you can then use to make your communication more effective. It is this innocence of discovery that feeds all creativity. It isn’t a principle that just applies to writing or directing, it’s something that people from all aspects of marketing such as media, telemarketing, customer care, and so forth, need to embrace.”
Rick Petry is a direct marketing veteran of over 25 years who has been involved with campaigns that have generated over $1 billion in sales. He provides creative services to both B2C and B2B marketing campaigns and recent projects have included Actegy/Revitive, Education Connection, GOLO, Joybird, and OYO. The author of over 200 articles on direct marketing best practices, Petry has a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema/Television from the University of Southern California and an MBA with a Concentration in Marketing and Sales from Marylhurst University.