Standard Services, Set Prices, Same Old Results

What’s that quote from Lewis Carroll?  

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.
If you order a double cheeseburger at McDonalds, it cost a dollar (more or less now that Mickey Ds is testing a new pricing structure).  It’s a standard and available at a very reasonable set price. It makes a fine lunch. But a regular diet of McDonalds, as Morgan Spurlock demonstrated, will kill you.
So who eats at McDonalds?  Pretty much anyone and everyone who really doesn’t care what they put into their bodies.  Is the food healthy?  No.  Is it tasty?  Sure, if you love the taste of salt.  Is it affordable?  It can be if you only eat from the dollar menu and never, ever supersize your order.
If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?
And yet lots of people continue to eat at McDonalds.  Why?  They have no will power… they have no money… they don’t know any better… they like living on the edge… who knows? Regardless, they do [eat there].  Sales in 2008 were way up (drum roll please) at $23.7 billion and profits were up also at $4.6 billion, while the stock rose 11%.
So, what could possibly be wrong with that?  Clearly standard services and set prices are a good thing.  Well, yes, if you are McDonalds.  But no if you are one of the millions and millions of unfortunate customers spending good money on bad food.
And double no if you are a company – of any size – that is investing hard-earned money into a marketing campaign that offers no more value than a happy meal.   
[Editorial comment: I am not against McDonalds; in fact I still eat there on occasion. But if you think I am being too harsh, consider that less than 19 years ago it was still okay to smoke on domestic airline flights. Sooner or later McDonalds will be forced to change its ways.]
Think about it. You wouldn’t go to H & R Block to get your company’s taxes done.   You wouldn’t go to Walmart to buy furniture for the lobby of your corporate headquarters.  And you wouldn’t go to Kinko’s to print your annual report. So why would you even consider going to anything less than a full-service, strategy driven agency for your marketing needs?  Do you really believe that a “one-size-fits-all” shelf product will get you to where you want to be? Really?
But in fairness, it’s your money, it’s your company, it’s your decision.  So I will just eat my fries and shut up now.
It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.