But What is Happiness?

I’m thinking of an episode of AMC’s Mad Men – the one in which Don Draper and Roger Sterling wait an hour and 45 minutes to meet with Dow Chemicals, before eventually Don hits Dow with the “I’ve been looking at what you are doing and I think you are in a desperate need of change.” Dow goes on to explain that they’re very happy with their current agency.

What Don says next is something that hit a nerve for me, because I believe it reflects what is going on with several agencies and firms in the modern advertising world.

He says, “I am sure they are very happy with you. But you don’t owe them anything. All they have to do is keep running the same kind of work. You are on the back burner over there, subsidizing all the great work they are doing over there and paying for new business lunches.”

The dealers I speak with so often talk about how happy they are with their current marketing partners or the several vendors they contract with each month, only to realize that many of those firms went into auto pilot once those first signs of success began to show.

Don proceeds to tell Dow about his work with another company, London Fog Raincoats, and how he was able to help them achieve 81% market share. Don says, “But we didn’t stop working for them, because 81% isn’t enough.” I understand that achieving this kind of market share today in this extremely competitive automotive environment is very unlikely, but what if we all operated as if this wasn’t some kind of incredible feat that only a select few can achieve?

The problem is that we too often settle for less. Some firms achieve a certain level of success, and then become complacent. When you clear one obstacle, why not move on to the next one?

Dow reiterates, “But it doesn’t change the fact that we are happy with our agency.” But Don counters, “Are you? You are happy with 50%? You’re on top and you don’t have enough. You are happy because you are successful… for now. But what is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness! I won’t settle for 50% of anything! I want 100%. You are happy with your agency? You’re not happy with anything. You don’t want most of it – you want all of it, and I won’t stop until you get all of it!”

Wouldn’t it be great if every traditional and digital creative firm embraced that mindset?

It’s no secret that there are several agencies and firms out there that promise the world to their clients, guaranteeing a substantial ROI on just a small portion of a dealer’s business. But will those same companies deliver results month in and month out? Will those companies continue to work towards providing better solutions, even when times have never been better?

Companies that have the same drive as Don Draper are the ones that helps dealers increase their profits, even when the markets turn.

Those are the companies that provide a total solution.

When you’re able to offer that, dealers can focus on what’s most important: selling cars.

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