Draperisms that help small business owners sell products.
Set in 1960s New York, AMC’s hit show Mad Men chronicles the cutthroat world of advertising decades before “digital” became a word people uttered daily. The characters’ casual, in-office scotch drinking may be passé, but many of the show’s elements still ring true in today’s tech-driven advertising world.
As the owner of a small advertising agency, Denise Blasevick,
CEO of The S3 Agency in Boonton, N.J., is a diehard Mad Men fan. Here, she offers three tips from the show that every
small business owner should implement.
you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.
Spoken by Don Draper, Mad Men’s advertising mogul, this oft-quoted line is relevant for brands of any size.
“The word ‘conversation’ can be so many
things—social media posts, public relations coverage, water cooler chat,
reviews, customer service emails—and any positive engagement can result in
sales,” Blasevick says. “Of course, if what [people are] saying about you is
wrong, bad or both, you’re the only one who can do something to make them
change their conversations.”
customers who respect you.
Another Mad Men line that Blasevick has taken to heart comes from Draper’s response to a copywriter’s statement that “sex sells.” Draper’s reply: “Says who? Just so you know, the people who talk that way think that monkeys can do this.”
“Don’s insights go far beyond advertising concepts,”
Blasevick says. “What he’s really talking about is respect from clients.
Clients who don’t respect your business, clients who commoditize what you and
your team do, aren’t the clients you want to keep.”
As a small business owner, ask yourself if your services
or products are geared toward the kinds of customers you truly want to attract
and retain. “If you can’t prove your value enough to earn someone’s respect,”
Blasevick says, “they may be doing more harm than any amount of profit is worth.”
Draper’s definition of advertising is that it’s “based on one thing: happiness.” Your advertising should make people feel something and associate that feeling with your product or service. “When we create campaigns for clients, we don’t just look at what we are helping them sell,” Blasevick says. “We look past that to see what we want to make potential buyers feel. Connecting emotionally is what separates brands from commodities.”