It is an infrequent occurrence to see and/or hear clients debate each other in a meeting with agency partners tuning in. Typically, if there’s any disagreement going on, it’s the agency taking the bruises from a team of locked-arm-and-ready-to-pile-on clients.
How refreshing, then, to listen in on this aside (paraphrased here) last week:
Client #1: “I’m just frustrated that our company doesn’t seem to acknowledge where consumers are going. Five years from now, no one will be reading newspapers, yet right now we still spend a significant amount of our media budget on print.”
Client #2 (with higher seniority in the client’s Marketing department): “You might be correct in your assessment of the future. Who knows – it might even happen sooner. But right now we need to run a business that brings in the most customers possible. So right now we’re going where a lot of them still are – print.”
Too bad this wasn’t a videoconference, for Client #2 would have seen us trading high fives, turning cartwheels, and raising the roof (although, we suppose Client #1 would not have been amused).
The lesson here is illustrated all day, every day in the marketing trade press. Take the Google Fiber story (please!). Now that the venture has tapped Austin as its second city for build out, well, “Google Fiber Is Destroying The Cable TV Companies” blah blah blah.
Except that, right now, the cable companies lead Google by something like 110 million to 1 million. Five years won’t be near enough to close that gap. (Especially if Google continues to [over]price its premium packages like HBO - with NO to go option ! - at a 25%, er, PREMIUM to the local competition, as it just announced it would in KC, build out area #1.)
The people who sop this “the future is now” stuff up are the same people who love that shopworn maxim, supposedly coined by Wayne Gretzky: “I skate to where the puck is going to be.”