Ad Leverage President & CEO Andrew Palosi took some time to offer his thoughts on what makes Ad Leverage so unique and the state of the marketing business today.
What makes a great ad these days?
“When you think about what makes a great ad these days, you have to think through a couple things: I think depending on how competitive the vertical or business you’re in is, you have to think about what people are doing, what people have done in that space, and what you most commonly see. You have to analyze the verbiage, the feel, the sights and sounds of the ads that you’re seeing for that particular category and then you have to think about what you’re going to do that is going to be fundamentally different from what you’re seeing. How are you going to distinguish yourself from your competitors? Now, that’s something that’s easy to say but substantially more difficult to do.
“With the team of creative, buying and response-driven professionals at Ad Leverage, we really try to create concepts and ideas that are not only fundamentally different from what’s out there, but that you can really execute without a million-dollar spot-budget, so that’s what we take a lot of pride in—creating advertising that is response-inspiring, that is fundamentally different than what you see out there, that is engaging, that shows consumers very clearly what the value proposition is in a very creative way, and makes it easy for the consumer to take action and get in touch with the company providing the service and/or product.”
Why use an ad agency in the first place?
“I think when you are a company that does consumer-facing marketing, or even a b2b company, it’s always a conundrum whether you have in-house marketing or you utilize an advertising agency. I think that what Ad Leverage provides is a full marketing suite for clients operating with various levels of marketing individuals in-house, and what we do is fill in the gaps and provide a one-stop shop for every bit of collateral material: research, production, website management, social media, Search Engine Optimization, marketing concept creation and evolution of the campaign, and we are able to be as large a part of the business as our clients need us to be. We feel that is a very unique attribute and we take pride in the fact that if you need us to serve as your marketing department, not only can we do it, but we can do a damn good job of it, and you will feel that you have a true marketing team of qualified professionals behind you.
“That means a lot to our clients, and I would say to think that as an individual business you can see the market as we do with several dozen clients active and looking at data and analytics every day on dozens of campaigns, seeing opportunities and trends and response information and what we see through the vortex of dozens of clients targeting various segments of the marketplace is that it’s really difficult, or to me, next to impossible, as an individual business to say that you can get the same type of experience and the same type of historical data and historical proof of concept without having that breadth and variety of clientele that are targeting the same demographic as we can. It may not be the same product or service but you can bet there are similarities in the demographic that one of our clients is targeting to what a potential client is going to need to target. To think that you can acquire that level of data, information, experience and response information without that type of experience is pretty far-fetched.”
Aren’t marketing services expensive?
“When people think about having an advertising agency working for them, a lot of the time they’re thinking they will be paying higher rates, they think they’re going to be paying through the nose for production, they think they’re going to be paying substantially more than they would by having these individuals in house, and the one thing I can say about that is that at Ad Leverage we’ve actually developed the agency to be anything but more expensive.
“People tend to think they’ll be paying higher rates for spots, paying more for production, they think the services of a marketing agency is more expensive than running things in-house and the one thing I say is that what’s a hell of a lot more expensive than working with us is bad media decisions, and running media that is not most cost-effectively hitting your target consumer. What we bring to the table is decades of buying experience, and decades of historical information and data that is showing the best response for the media dollar of the particular market for whom you’re trying to go after.
“What’s a hell of a lot more expensive than working with us is bad media decisions”
“We are utilizing every facet of media, whether it be traditional broadcast, TV, and radio or online, and we’re pulling from case studies that we’ve accomplished over the years to show us the direction we need to take your campaign. To think that you can have that level of thorough understanding of how to most appropriately craft a message or craft a campaign or have your campaign evolve without that level of experience, to me, is a flawed thought process, and I think that to think of it as an expense is truly the wrong way to look at it.
“The real expense is making bad decisions and wasting dollars, and we find that not only 99 times out of 100 are we actually able to save the clients money even on the current station with the current packages that they’re being provided, but that our experience shows them the changes that they need to make in either their message or approach to ensure they’re operating at, and maximizing every dollar and every media efficiency and that is what we bring to the table—to be a hell of a lot less expensive than them doing it on their own.”
What makes Ad Leverage stand out?
“I would say that actually doing everything in-house is one of the major things that makes us stand out. I would say that a lot of people throw that term around—we have everything in-house, in-house, in-house!—but lo and behold, when you actually look at what they’re doing, the content they’re producing is being written overseas somewhere, or they’re working with a production company that you hope gets back to you by next month, and they have a cooperative relationship, let’s say, with these other entities that are their so-called “in-house” departments, and I think they’re not doing their clients any good when they’re making these representations. When you dig a little deeper, that’s how most of these companies are operating.
“I pick up the phone to any and every Ad Leverage client way too often, just ask my wife”
“Look, I don’t fault them for needing to operate that way, I just don’t believe in it. When I tell a client they we are going to make a deadline, and that we’re going to have them on the air with a buy, or with a certain piece of creative, or with their website, or their new social media campaign on a given day, there’s somebody under the Ad Leverage roof, receiving an Ad Leverage paycheck, that is going to guarantee that happens. So there’s accountability from top to bottom.
“I pick up the phone to any and every Ad Leverage client way too often, just ask my wife, and I’m always available as the president of the agency to work with any client of the agency on what that next idea should be, on how that campaign can improve, and on the constant grind to run the most efficient campaign that we can possibly run.”
What do you see as the biggest trend(s) in advertising?
“I would say that every client wants to talk about how we’re going to make a viral video, or take their social media to the next level. What are we going to do for their reputation management? What are we going to do for them to make them captivating via their social media channels? They know they have to be doing more online but they have no idea what that really is. I think that is the trend I see and hear most from just about every client and business out there; but what I see is that it is one thing to talk about a phenomenal social media campaign, and I think that a lot of people like to throw around buzzwords, but what we try to do is put together plans utilizing our resources effectively to get them there.
“Let’s face it: it is going in that direction. More and more attention and money is being diverted to ensuring that your online presence is as solid as it needs to be, but what we take pride in is putting together plans that are not only fundamentally sound in terms of how we’re going to remain attractive online to a target consumer, but that are also executable, and we also put together something that we can accomplish.
“Just talking about these grandiose ideas that you don’t stand a chance as an everyday business to execute doesn’t really do the business owners any good, and all that ends up happening is that the business owner becomes frustrated and thinking 60 days later that they aren’t any better off than they were when this other company started working on their social media as their “social marketing expert.”
“That is something I think that is an ever-growing trend, but I think it is very troubling—the amount of pure fraud, to be honest, that I see with major promises on ideas that are really un-executable in large part. So, what we try to do is to take the trend and the popularity of social media marketing, but put together plans and ideas and concepts that we can execute and that we can be accountable for and that we can track the growth of and all be accountable to.
“At the end of the day, true social media power comes from a culture and an embracing of what we are trying to accomplish both internally at the business we’re working with, and externally in terms of the ideas we originate to enhance their social media presence. I would say that that’s the biggest trend I see, but coming up with practical ideas is what we take pride in and what we do for our clients.”
To learn how Ad Leverage can transform your business’ marketing, give us a call today at (805) 230-9100.