If you’re interested in becoming a client, beware. Wingman Advertising is the nosiest advertising agency you’ll ever meet. Clients that sign on with us should be ready to have our creative director, Rich Kagan, and his band of copywriters and new business people snooping around every aspect of their businesses. Sometimes you’ll know it’s us, other times we’re in disguise. This intense discovery process is mandatory to uncover the story the public needs to hear about your product or service. It’s not always the one you thought you’d tell, but that’s why you hired us.

Most advertising agencies take an outside look at your marketing efforts, listen hand-in-chin to your CEO, throw together a creative brief, and then get to work. We’ll look at your business and talk to your CEO, but that’s only the beginning. We dig even deeper to get a 360-degreee view of your company. During this invasive “Creative Archeology” process we always stumble upon nuggets of gold that most companies had no idea they were hiding.


The Process

Step 1: Talking (and Stalking) Your Salespeople

If you’re talking with Wingman you probably sell a considered purchase for the home and have a team of sales people. Wingman was started by two guys that honed their skills in the sink-or-swim world of radio sales, so we have a soft spot for sales guys. We also know the good ones understand your product in ways the CEO never will. Most importantly, they know what drives your customers to buy better than anyone. Good sales people always have tried-and-true sales pitches and instincts forged through thousands customer interactions. Honestly, the insights sales guys give us about selling their products are so valuable that we feel like we’re cheating. But we get over it pretty quickly.


Like hungry press hounds we’ll follow your sales people to the point that they’ll consider a restraining order. But we always pay them back by buying them lunch. This gives us more face time to grill them with work-related questions. Another important reason for this interrogation is your sales guys have to answer to our advertising. When the brand messaging and sales process are aligned, the customer interaction becomes seamless and deals begin to magically close by themselves.


Key Insight:  Last year, we invited six of O.C. mortgage giant Intelliloan’s top loan officers to discuss how we can improve our radio marketing. What we learned was astounding and we’ll admit, shot a few holes in our mortgage marketing theories. When we incorporated the interest rate in our ads, the amount of calls the loan processors received went through the roof. But more often than not, the callers hung up after only a few seconds on the phone. When our ads pitched specific products, the loan processors received less calls but they turned the leads into closed loans at a higher rate. So we changed our strategy from picking the low-hanging fruit to creating down-the-funnel messaging that led to closed loans. It worked.


Step 2:  Skimming the Surface

During this phase we’ll meet with your CEO, marketing director, and account executives to get the low down on your business. We’ll learn about your positioning, competitive marketplace, goals and objectives.


Key Insight: During these meetings we’ll always bring Matilda, our trusty .mp3 recorder. It was during one of these meetings that California Deluxe Windows’ (CDW) CEO Aaron Adrim uttered his famous potato-chip close: “At California Deluxe Windows each of your custom-to-order windows are installed using our proprietary installation system that’s so precise, we never break your stucco. Even if your house is covered with potato chips, we wouldn’t crack one chip.” This phrase has since become iconic on L.A.-area radio and helped catapult CDW’s business to new heights. If we hadn’t brought Matilda, we probably would have forgot this nugget and homeowners across L.A. would be stuck with drab windows from Home Depot.


Step 3: Shopping You

During this step, we turn the tables and look at your company from a consumer perspective. This begins by scouring the internet for online reviews, interviewing your customers, and visiting retail outlets to catch a glimpse of your product in the wild.


Key Insight: During our creative dig for Rhino Shield, a ceramic house coating company in Los Angeles, we interviewed one of its customers, Yahoova Einstein. Mrs. Einstein is the granddaughter of the famous physicist, Albert, and a lifelong academic herself. Most importantly, she had no problem speaking her mind. Before our conversation we were prepared to discuss how she enjoyed the house coat’s quality, the installation process, and price. But Mrs. Einstein couldn’t stop talking about how confident she felt in the product after speaking with the franchisee, Sam Chapetta.


After speaking with Mrs. Einstein we realized that Chapetta was the perfect ambassador for his company. Getting people to switch from traditional house paint to a relatively new longer-lasting product meant earning their trust. Chapetta, a military veteran with a genuine down-to-Earth charm, was perfect at earning people’s trust. So we created a radio strategy where Chapetta used his boy-next-door charm to discuss the benefits of switching to Rhino Shield.


Step 4: Shopping Your Competition

We’d never say this to your face, but one of the reasons your competition is still your competition is because they’re doing something right. Your customers are already researching your competition so knowing how they denigrate your product and debunk your benefits is an important job. It also reveals important insights on your product’s benefits that make it stand out in the marketplace.


Key Insight: When we first engaged Scott Robinson Honda we realized that other L.A.-area Honda dealerships had very similar pricing. So we gave them a reason for consumers to skip their local Honda dealership and see Scott, his lifetime powertrain warranty. The powertrain warranty separated Scott Robinson from the competition and increased foot traffic to his dealership.


Step 5: Do it Again!

Sometimes we go through the entire process all over again. Just in case we missed something. You can never be too sure.


In Conclusion

Our hands-on approach to learning about your company may be invasive, but it’s effective and necessary. Advertising is a game of inches played out on a market-size playing field where you can never know too much or examine too many possibilities. One small appeal broadcast to millions of people can make or break your marketing success and we see it in the numbers every day. If you hear us breathing, don’t turn around. We’re watching you read this and gauging your reaction with Matilda set to “Record.”

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