So now you know how I feel about doing spec work to win new business, eh? It's something we abandoned a long time ago, for many reasons.
The main one being that if we did the spec and won the account, we spent the next 6-12 months trying to recoup the money we spent. And if we lost, then we were out a lot of time and money. It also sets up this whole messed-up, dysfunctional relationship that puts the agency at a lower level then the client instead of a valued partnership.
I'm reminded of all this because today a colleague sent me this article in AdAge that talks to the client as to why asking for spec is a bad idea. Denari makes three great points:
Why it's a bad idea #1: Because a spec campaign is typically developed with only the most dangerous input: the preconceived notions, biases and personal experience of the team creating the work.
Why it's a bad idea #2: You'll get a strategy developed without your input. The best client-agency relationships are collaborative partnerships, where strategies are developed together.
Why it's a bad idea #3: You'll get really comfortable, safe work. The spec creative process creates an incentive to please you first and consumers second.
I'd kiss him on the lips for this article (but I'm not into that).
As marketers, what do we have to seel? Our ideas. And when we give them away, they become a commodity. And a devalued one at that. I don't care if it's the golden ticket to your fame. I don't care if it's a "really cool client." It's a waste. Of time. And. Money.
When a prospect who owned a world-wide chain of high-end hotels wanted us to do a complete spec identity for his business, I replied, "Okay. But our team needs to stay in at least three of your hotels in different countries before we decide if we'll do the spec work. If we like the experience, then we'll do it. If not, then we'll pass."
"But we don't give away nights at our hotels for free."
And then he paused and said, "Point taken."
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