Good ads wear in, not out

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Seb Mackay is the Creative Director and Co-Founder at Soba: Private Label. He’s held multiple senior end-to-end marketing roles. His copy and campaigns have marketed cybersecurity products to Fortune 500 companies and governments, newspaper advertising packages to SMEs, and conversational AI solutions to the world’s biggest BPOs, among many other things. He has more than a decade in the trenches, where he’s managed and built teams and marketed international products across APAC, North America, and EMEA. Seb firmly believes in three things: that B2B marketing doesn’t need to be boring; copywriting should sell; and that even numbers are superior to odd ones.

Biggest fuck up 

I deleted an entire trade website for a corporation the first time I was given access to it. 

At the time, I was a Content Marketing Executive for a national media company. My job was creating B2B content to help support the sales teams in selling ad space in print media.

I was given the keys to the kingdom and told to update a couple of pages on the website. We were using a drag-and-drop builder, and I’d been shown how to do it but was by no means a master at it. 

I fucked up one of the pages I was working on and hit delete. Except, instead of simply deleting that one page, it was the delete button for the entire site. And just like that – it was gone. 

When I tell you I ran out of the building, I mean I ran out of the building. There was a park opposite the office, and I sprinted across a main road (through traffic) and disappeared into the trees. 

My boss was on an inner city trip and I knew I needed to call them. I must have walked around that park for more than an hour, absolutely bricking it. Cold sweats. Clenched cheeks. All of it. 

In the end, I walked back into the building, took the lift to the top floor, hid in a meeting room with my laptop, and worked out how to restore the site. It was back up before anyone even knew it was gone. 


Agency owners expect their B2C marketers to also be B2B legends. And that’s not how things work. 

Most small to mid-sized digital marketing agencies are worried about cash flow and about having or acquiring enough clients. So they tell their B2C marketers, ‘Hey, we know you’re working on client projects, but can you also do the marketing for our agency for no extra money and loads more added pressure?’

These marketers can’t really say no. 

So what you get is piecemeal B2B marketing by people who don’t have the skills to do it (this isn’t the fault of the B2C team, by the way). 

What agency owners need to do is think about their B2B marketing and what that entails, and hire B2B marketers, with specialist B2B skills, to do it for their agency.

That will help with positioning, client acquisition, and everything else. It also takes pressure off the client-facing B2C marketers and allows them to get on with the things they’re actually legends at. 

Useful advice

Condition your beard, or get a really nice beard shampoo and beard oil. It stops it from being itchy, gets rid of the dry skin, and makes the whole thing much softer. 

Oh, you meant business advice?

Good ads wear in, not out. 

There’s this fallacy among marketers that, even if it’s working, an ad should only be run for a couple of months before audiences will get sick of it. So they go away and have their agencies design new ads, maybe based on premature data from their previous campaign, and run the new ads for a quarter or so before doing it all over again.

As it turns out, that’s a terrible idea. Research by System 1 shows that effective ads that aren’t tied to a limited-duration event (like Christmas, say) are likely to stay effective over a long period of time.

We wish more people knew this – both agency and client-side. 

If they did, agencies wouldn’t be getting flak from clients for creating new ads that ‘aren’t as good as the last one’, even though they’ve most likely created ads in the past that would’ve blown up their clients’ bank accounts if they’d only been given the proper chance; and clients would be getting more bang from their budget by using it to keep effective ads running longer, instead of on creating new ones just for the sake of it.


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