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MarCom Matters

September 2013
Issue: #47


The Big Easy

Sometimes easy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Take digital cameras, for instance.

On the one hand, gone are the days of waiting until the Fourth of July to finish the roll of film you started at Christmas. Now, snapshots of you sporting those bunny slippers from Santa are up on Facebook before you can say, “Thanks. Where’s the gift receipt?”

On the other hand, the immediacy of digital photography has pushed anticipation out of the picture (so to speak). It’s just so easy to “click and peek.” Which, granted, comes in handy when making sure Uncle Al didn’t close his eyes again during the family photo session.

But if your job is to take pictures, then continually switching between photographer and editor can be disruptive.

This notion struck me over Labor Day Weekend when my wife Janet and I attended a three-day music festival in Rhode Island. What caught my eye was how some professional photographers documenting the event spent gobs of time critiquing each exposure they made.

What’s the problem? Well, a couple of things…

Rather than an uncertain reliance on camera technology, I expected these pros to exhibit a confident command of technical fundamentals and tools of the trade. Then apply that knowledge to the job at hand – making memorable images.

And that ain’t easy.

So how does all this translate to the world of digital marketing communications?

Like so…

As communicators we each have our own job to do. It might be to create awareness, generate demand, nurture leads, or support customer and partner relations.

And many of the tools that help do those jobs make it easy to create and publish things like email drip campaigns, brochures, videos, infographics, webinars, articles, presentations, surveys, blogs, press releases and books.

Heck, there are even tools that let you create your own comic strip. Not to mention (fabulous) e-newsletters.

Thing is, the ease and immediacy of these tools can often lead to an uncertain “Let’s try it and see what happens” approach. But it’s that “click and peek” uncertainty that can result in poor outcomes and – worse – lowered expectations inside the company.

So how can we remain focused in the face of a growing number of cool, easy-to-use tools?

First and foremost by sticking to the prime directive – know your audience and subject matter. As the foundation for all good communications, this understanding is particularly important in deciding which tools and channels will contribute most to positive outcomes.

And then…

The bottom line: If you find yourself trying digital tools because they’re new or popular. Or you’re in a pattern of using then abandoning them. Or you’re deploying tools without a plan. Or you’re kicking the tool because you don’t get the results you want.

Then take a step back and reassess how to you can evaluate, select and learn technology in a way that lets you focus on doing your job better.

Give it a shot. Then see what develops.