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March 4, 2016

First Impressions

You never get a second chance...

I’m dating myself a bit to admit this, but I remember the commercials where legendary voiceover artist Harlan Hogan intoned the immortal words “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Of course Head & Shoulders and, presumably, their ad agency, were hardly the first to make such an admonishment. Everyone from Oscar Wilde to Will Rogers to someone named Andrew Grant has been credited with uttering, or penning, the phrase.

So, with that thought in mind, picture, if you will, me exiting my apartment one sunny, winter morning. I live on the second floor, so as I began to descend the steps from my landing I noticed several flyers scattered upon them. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence, as scaling the last few steps to my door is, apparently, an inconvenience to the pizza parlours and restaurants who like to pepper my doorstep with their menus.

These, however, were not the the brightly colored, glossy leaflets that typically dot my stairwell. Instead, they were black and white and printed on a sturdy card stock, cut with rounded edges. Classy. So imagine my surprise, as I bent down to pick one up and read the minimalist copy inscribed upon it, to find these beautiful flyers were advertising… a housecleaning service.

That’s right. To advertise their cleaning services, they chose to litter my apartment building. As Alanis once sang, isn’t that ironic.

And remember that phrase about first impressions? Yeah. That too.

Now, this could be the greatest housecleaning service on the planet. But I’ll never know. Because I have no interest in hiring a cleaning company that would aim to get my attention by making more mess for me to clean up.

The point of this diatribe is not to call this particular company to the carpet, but to remind you, gentle reader, that everything about your marketing matters. Your website might be awesome, but if it isn’t as awesome in some browsers or on my mobile phone, that matters. If your copy is clever, but illegible or misspelled, that matters. If your video is super cool, but so big that it constantly buffers, that matters.

And if your flyers are absolutely gorgeous, but you hire some kid for minimum wage and he drops them all over my stairs, well, that matters too.

In other words, a great idea is only as great as its execution.

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