Sometimes it might seem that Mad Men is all about 60s fashion, advertising and smoking cigarettes. But as we introduced to you last week, there's quite a lot Mad Men can teach us about business.
Let’s delve again into the world of Mad Men to see what you can apply to your own business.
1. Make your customer feel like a rock star
Roger Sterling has a certain way of courting and wooing his clients. He doesn’t just wine and dine them. He makes them feel special. He gets at the bottom of what they want, how they want to feel, and makes them feel that way. He uses any information he can get to get to know them, for example when he uses tips from his flight attendant girlfriend to get to the executives at Chevrolet.
In one episode, Roger teaches Lane Pryce how to get to the client over dinner. He tells him to find the client’s source of regret, and relate to it. This connection would form a conspiracy between him and the client - allowing the client to open up to him in a way he otherwise wouldn’t.
How do you take care of your customers? It’s not just about reaching over to them over social media. Do you understand what they want? What they’re looking for? What really keeps them up at night? Understanding these things will help you create a personal connection with your customer, and create the kind of loyalty that goes beyond just buying your product.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
2. Talk to your team members
When CGC’s Frank Gleason seems unsatisfied with his work and acts erratically in a partner meeting, Ted Chaough doesn’t get mad at him, and doesn’t accuse him of anything. Instead, he cancels the meeting on the spot so that he can talk to Frank alone. When the two are left in the office, Ted is anything but confrontational. Instead, he reassures Frank that he loves his work, and tries to find out what is actually bothering him.
That’s the sign of someone with emotional intelligence.
Instead of jumping to conclusions about why Frank Gleason might be acting the way he does, Ted tries to find out for himself. He understands that Frank’s behaviour is a symptom of other problems, possibly sensitive, personal problems. And he’s right. As it turns out, Frank informs Ted that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Pay close attention to the interactions you have with your team members. When they do something you’re not thrilled with, do you think to yourself “How could they do this to me/the company?” If yes, you might want to step back and take a look at things from their perspective too. Sometimes, the problem might be so deep that you can’t really get to it unless you have a heart to heart with them.
3. Stick up for quality
What Don and Peggy have in common is that they won’t settle for mediocre work. Neither of them are willing to compromise quality.
In the season premiere of season 7, we see that Peggy is tweaking the tag line for a kick ass campaign that Freddy Rumsen pitches her for Accutron watches. She acknowledges that the campaign is a “home run,” but she still wants to make it better.
Later in the episode, she has a confrontation with her new boss and Don’s replacement, Lou Avery. When Avery chooses a less catchy slogan that he was presented with, Peggy stands up to him, and points out that there are stronger ones. Avery dismisses her, but Peggy doesn’t give up. Later on in the episode, she tries to start over with him, convinced that the tagline Rumsen pitched is better for the campaign.
It’s not the first time she’s a stickler for quality work. In past seasons, we’ve seen her become quite the tough boss, as she’s always expecting the best work from her team - to the point where she’s often mocked by them!
And Don is even more of a stickler for quality: he's willing to drop accounts if the client isn't in the market for elegant, intelligent work.
How far are you willing to go for quality?
4. Reputation is better kept than recovered
In Mad Men, we often see men fall through their own actions. Take for example Pete Campbell, who loses the Vicks account after he runs into his father in law at a brothel.
Nevermind that both men are in the wrong here, and that they’re both caught in an uncomfortable predicament. Campbell’s father in law is also the client, and he has the right to withdraw his business if he doesn’t like who he’s dealing with it. And in his eyes, even though his actions were equally unpardonable, Pete Campbell is not worthy of his business.
The same goes with Don Draper, when he gets pushed out of the company at the end of season 6. After having convinces Hershey’s chocolate to have a meeting with SC&P, Don scares them away by telling them that he used to buy Hershey’s bars with the money he stole from johns who came into the brothel where he grew up. His partners are stunned, and later in the episode they tell him he’s been given a few months off without a fixed return date.
A good reputation takes a long time to build, and can be destroyed in a matter of minutes - both in front of clients and in front of team members.
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently. ~ Warren Buffett
5. Sometimes you just have to join forces with the enemy
When both SCDP and CGC are invited to pitch ads for the newest Chevrolet car, it doesn’t take long for Don Draper and Ted Chaough to realize that neither agency is big enough to win the account. But they both know they have the creative power to make an amazing campaign for Chevy.
That’s how the merger between SCDP and CGC came about. Two rival agencies came together in order to snatch a huge account from the bigger agencies. Sometimes, joining arms with the perceived enemy might be the best way to get the business.
If you enjoyed reading this, you can also check out the first article on what Mad Men can teach us about business.
What lessons have you learned from Mad Men? Share them with us and our readers in the comment section below!