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I spent part of last week at the home office of PPC Associates where I connected / reconnected with my fellow co-workers and attended the company Christmas party. It would be shockingly simple for me to talk for a long time about specific co-worker behaviors that illustrate how our SEM agency differentiates itself from others…however, something far more compelling on this topic crystalized in my brain one morning as I was working out in the hotel gym.

I was using the elliptical machine in a rather compact gym when a young woman walked in and began using the other elliptical machine. Then, a second woman entered the gym and she had a choice between the treadmill and the stationary bike. She elected to use the former but the treadmill electronics were a bit on the fritz. She pressed a couple buttons before throwing up her hands and giving up with only five seconds of effort. She then began to ride the bike.

The women apparently knew each other. Apparently, some tech company had brought them in for either some sort new employee orientation or a group interview process (couldn’t figure out which). They seemed to be of college age, and they talked innocuously for a while until a 40-year-old guy entered the gym. He only had the “unusable” treadmill available to him. He pushed the same buttons as the woman did and got the same “lack of results.”  He then looked at the machine for several seconds before realizing there was a little key affixed to the body of the treadmill. He fiddled with it a bit and finally inserted the key in the proper slot. The exercise machine came to life and he began his workout.

I wrote a while back that that certain behavioral nuances observed in isolation can offer deep insight not into just a person’s though process but how they might handle any type of problem in life that they might encounter. I’m not sure which tech company “invested” in this woman, but if an interviewer either witnessed what I did or picked up the same behavior trait in an entirely different situation, her future career path might take a less promising turn. She didn’t even do try the universal fallback solution of pulling the plug out of the wall and plugging it in again. When faced with a solvable problem that required a bit of creative thought, she settled for using the second choice machine instead of working through the problem presented to her – which, if successful, would have enabled her to achieve her goal.

Lots of agencies that I’ve seen create and manage campaigns in a very simplistic, one-track manner. Sometimes, simple does work and ROI can be achieved. However, when wrinkles are thrown into the mix, the agency doesn’t know what to do, and while they won’t likely just give up (for that would involve not getting paid), the campaign effort becomes more focused on preserving the cash flow and less on problem-solving and innovating. Our company has certainly faced some challenging issues with some of our clients, and frequently we have to work through several plans of attack that fail before we hit on one that solves the problem. There’s enough depth and breadth of experience on our team that we can go very deep and become very creative on most anything challenge a client can throw at us.

Ultimately, some problems aren’t solvable.  After all, things do sometimes break and can’t be fixed.  But, we work through a lot of processes and procedures before we arrive at the same conclusion that woman in the gym so quickly seized upon.

Todd Mintz, Senior SEM Manager

– Questions? Comments? Email us at blog at ppcassociates dot com.