What Marketing Agencies Can Learn From Dick Clark


Unfortunately, one of the great legends in 20th century television broadcasting passed away this morning.

Dick Clark passed away as the result of a stroke at the age of 82

Clark leaves 3 children, 2 ex-wives, 1 current wife and nearly $200 million in net worth behind.

For someone like myself, who as a young child would tune in to his Rockin’ New Years Eve television program every December 31st, it’s tough to imagine a figure like Dick Clark not being around to welcome the English speaking world into the new year.

In honor of the legacy Clark left behind, I'd like to share three things that I believe marketing agencies could learn from the life of Dick Clark.

How to Listen

One thing Clark did a great job of doing was really listening to the people he was interviewing, a skill that not everybody truly has (agency or not).

Skills that could agencies could learn from Clark’s listening skills include:

  • Eye Contact: So simple, yet so effective. Instead of multitasking through client meetings, agency employees should shut down their MacBooks and iPhones in order to actually look the client directly in the eye to hear what they're saying.
  • Mini-Communications: Dick had a great collection of mini-sentences to encourage his interviewees to continue speaking. Phrases like 'oh', 'I see' and more helped keep the subject talking. Agency folks should use these same phrases to encourage clients to speak in a) more detail, and b) more freely in order to identify ways that we can step in and provide value to their organization.

How to Put on a Show

If there’s one thing Dick Clark knew how to do, it was how to put on a show and entertain a crowd.

Marketing agencies could tear a page out of Clark’s book to engage with their clients more often by trying out some of the ideas below:

  • Interactive Presentations: Everyone hates 50 slide powerpoints -- STOP USING THEM. Move the room by walking around, introduce a 'surprise guest' or bring in a white board to walk them through your concepts in real time.
  • Reward Your Clients: Clients put a lot of faith (and financial investment) into their agency relationships. Agencies should repay the favor by rewarding those clients with something of value (preferably sentimental) that the client would truly appreciate.

How to Acquire Wide Ranging Clients

Dick Clark wasn’t just a one-hit wonder – the man appeared on dozens of radio and television programs. The range of programming that he hosted was absolutely astounding, as you can see below:

  • Game shows like Scattergories, Pyramid, The Challengers & more
  • Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve
  • Host of Miss USA & Miss Universe Pageants
  • Radio host at WRUN-AM & WOLF-AM

Let’s get to the point: Clark worked across a WIDE range of programming. The same lesson could be learned by agencies – just because you promote yourself as a specialist for one vertical or another does not mean you can’t transfer those skills and apply value to another category.

May you Rest in Peace, Dick Clark

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