Guest Post: Funeral Advertising for the Perplexed

August 27, 2009
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image It?s an odd fact that the worst advertisers are ad agencies. I know that from nearly 30 years working in ad agencies myself. I guess it?s like the old expression that the shoemaker?s children are always shoeless. So why this curious ? one might say disingenuous ? phenomenon?

It?s because ad agencies suffer from the same problem most other advertisers face: you can?t easily turn your own eyeballs inward. You can?t be a fair judge of your own marketing and messaging. For ad professionals, who are hypercritical of all advertising, this can be simply paralyzing. When I had my own agency, I recognized this problem and did the only right thing I could ? I hired an outside team to help us. It was obvious to me that we couldn?t get there on our own. We were just too damn close to our own product.

And that?s the way it is with just about any business, and in particular, funeral homes and cemeteries, for whom tradition is sometimes a value, but in this case is a yoke.

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What they and just about every other marketer lack is, in a word, objectivity. They?re not going to admit to themselves that people don?t like advertising, and people really, really don?t like funeral advertising. (Hey, no mother is going to admit that her kid is ugly!) So they do advertising and marketing that feels good to them, or the kind that the funeral industry has always done so it won?t offend anyone. In other words, the kind of marketing that?s rewarded with indifference, or worse, avoidance.

The savvy marketer, at this point, realizes that the company needs professional help?from someone who not only has the talent and skills to create strong advertising, but also brings the objectivity that reflects the audience, not the advertiser.

The objective viewpoint will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear, or what everybody in the company feels most comfortable with. An outside professional can bring that objectivity to your marketing and make sure it resonates with the public, perhaps even to the discomfort of some of your staff. You actually want disruption because nobody ever pays attention to ?same old.?

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Source: Funeral Advertising For The Perplexed

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