Digital Marketing

How your marketing campaigns can learn from Mad Men

Mad Men change the conversation

"The day you sign a client is the day you start losing one."

The client-agency relationship has grown much closer since the 1960s, evolving into much more of a partnership. However, you should never rest on your laurels. Today's savvy Mad Men (and women) are constantly on the lookout for ways to strengthen marketing campaigns, whether it's through more sophisticated reporting, new marketing channels or by devising fresh positioning.

"Change is neither bad nor good, it simply is." 

Don Draper is such a big fan of change, he smoothly took another man's identity without blinking an eye. In the context of an agency, one of the strongest examples where change was embraced was when Harry Crane brought in an IBM 360 supercomputer to assist with media planning and wow clients. Technology and marketing automation is here to stay and smart marketers learn to embrace it.

"Success comes from standing out, not fitting in."               

As the marketing arena becomes more and more oversaturated, brands have to work that much harder to stand out. The brands that do this well often challenge the norms of society - just like Don and his team challenged the stereotypical Ponds adverts of the early 1960s that depicted women as housewives, mothers or sex objects. When a psychologist suggests that the angle be that Ponds improves women's' marriageability, Don decides to instead stand out with a marketing campaign that focuses on self-empowerment. Sometimes it pays to be bold - like the time Don pitched the nostalgic Kodak campaign, giving the client the opposite of what they briefed but entirely what they needed.

"If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation."

Probably one of the most memorable Don quotes, it came from an episode in which angry New Yorkers protested against developers who planned to tear down Penn Station to build Madison Square Garden. In a brilliant brand-building exercise, Don painted the new development not just as a stunning new public space but as a new beginning for the city. Brand building is all about changing perception and turning attention away from reality. When the Lucky Strike account and Don's job were on the line, he came up with the genius line "it's toasted". It didn't matter that all cigarettes were in essence toasted or detrimental to your health. He changed the conversation to make consumers feel safe in smoking, with feelings of comfort and homeliness.

"Fear stimulates my imagination."

A healthy dose of apprehension works wonders in any business. If a new direction is making you feel uneasy, that is probably a good thing. Trust your gut instincts and you will reap the rewards. Luckily, these days there are many types of media where you can experiment without spending a TV campaign-sized budget. Doing things like AB testing on your most popular web pages or a low run SMS campaign can help you gauge a new target market or idea. In today's always-on world, marketers face more challenges than ever to stay ahead, stand out and be heard. Smart marketers turn to mobile marketing to amplify their marketing campaigns. For more ideas on using SMS in your marketing campaign, download Clickatell's Mobile Marketing Guide.

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