As a Digital Marketing Agency, we are Idea Farmers
Updated: Nov 21
A Digital Marketing Agency is hired for it’s innovation, and not to pander to conservative, tried and tested methods, that have a low return of investment. As a client, you don’t hire us to follow your every direction, you hire us to creatively innovate, and to revitalize your business.
Without creative freedom, we just cannot do that …
Icarus and his father
So today I’d like to tell you a story. Actually, it is a famous greek myth that has a lot of connotations for marketers who tend to ‘over-evaluate’, us agencies, and quite really, in general, anyone who has taken the entrepreneurial journey.
Towards the south of the Greek island of Samos lies the Icarian Sea. Legend has us believe that this is where Icarus died – a victim of human pride. The story goes, that his father, Daedalus, was a master craftsman. Banished to prison for sabotaging the work of King Minos.
You know the guy that created the mighty labyrinth, a maze of puzzles where the Minotaur (half man and half bull) was housed. Theseus, an enemy of King Minos was sent to the labyrinth to die, but Daedalus, gave King Minos’ daughter a ball of string to give to Theseus so that he could find his way out.
Anyways, with all that brilliance, Daedalus, came up with a master escape plan, quite ingenious actually, and this forms the basis of the myth that we were told when we were children. So Daedalus fashioned a pair of wings for him and his son – Icarus, made out of wax and feathers. And before setting out on the journey, Daedalus explicitly warned his son, not to fly too high, as the sun would melt the wax off the wings.
But Icarus, entranced with the ability to fly, disobeyed as any boy his age would do and flew too high. And it’s common knowledge what happened next, Icarus, the beloved son, lost his wings when the wax melted, crashed into the sea and died.
So the moral of the story: Don’t disobey the king, don’t disobey your elders, don’t imagine you’re better than you are, and most importantly don’t believe you have the power to be a god.
But the part of the myth that was conveniently left out was that in addition to telling Icarus not to fly too high, Daedalus also told his son not to fly too low, because the water would ruin the lift in his wings.
Thanks to society, we’ve forgotten that, which is as important a lesson as the moral of the story, instead, industrialization has created a culture where we remind each other about the dangers of standing up and being different.
How are Digital Marketers Related to the Story?
So how does this relate to a Digital Marketing Agency? It is far too dangerous to fly too low than too high because it feels safe to fly low. Same way, marketers like to look for “Good Marketing Ideas” that are safe, that have guaranteed results, so they copy from other campaigns that have worked elsewhere, or worse they settle in their comfort zone.
The truth is as a Digital Marketing Agency, we are idea farmers, we give a bit of ourselves away and let marketers chip away at our spirit, little by little, every time we pitch. And we agree that it is the normal process that our pitch was not suitable for the client, so we need to tone it down. Or better yet, that the client will respect the confidentiality of the pitch, and not go to someone “cheaper” for execution.
Unfortunately, this happens too much in this part of the world. Pitches go for free for too long. Worse still, RFPs with government agencies, require you as the agency to place a bank guarantee, then say they’ve given the campaign to someone who was better. Bullshit. Many times we’ve seen our ideas used, and we have no recourse but to shrug our shoulders, and say “What can we do?”
So how does this relate to you the client? Very few have the passion for driving their company to new heights. More often than less, your current position is a stepping stone to something bigger, or worse still, you make your money off bribes and cutbacks. You make the agency work, before ever paying. And then instead of paying for the idea, you think that they are too expensive, hence it is your right to go to someone cheaper.
But see this is where marketers don’t understand. Ideas are seeds, to farm them, you need to nurture them, grow them, take care of them, then enable them to explode to a full blown seed. And who better than the Digital Marketing Agency that gave you the idea in the first place to grow it? The ideas are not yours to utilize and give it to someone else for a cheaper price, the ideas take blood, sweat and weeks of toil to generate, and oh yes, they cost us money. Lots of it!
So here’s an idea, throw off the yokes of the safe thinker.
Think big! Because if you think this is a stepping stone for you to get a better job, you better do it right. Don’t copy… It’s not yours to copy and execute. And finally and RFP is not a selection pot for you to choose the best idea and the cheapest executor. It’s meant to even the playing field and select the best supplier, not only on price but on a larger number of factors where the price should play probably 20% of the weight of the decision.
And finally, give credit, where credit is due.
Story of Icarus Deception taken from Seth Godin - We are all Artists Now