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MarCom Matters

October 2013
Issue: #48

Keeping a Toehold

After a nearly two-month hiatus, I played a round of golf the other day.

And it wasn’t a pretty sight…

As it happens, the reason I missed a big chunk of this year’s golfing season is because in the early part of August I broke the big toe on my left foot.

I’ll spare you the details of how it happened because I feel obliged to protect the guilty – that being my own poor judgment.

Anyway, it dawned on me during the ensuing weeks that the big toe plays a big part in everyday mobility. I know this comes as no surprise to you because you’re smart. But anatomy was never my strong suit. Turns out I don’t know my femur from my elbow.

What I did learn though is that when I walked, I favored the outside part of my foot. That in turn caused new aches, which resulted in me doing more sitting and less walking. And the more I sat the more I lost overall nimbleness.

So when it came time to hit the ball, my mind said, “Yes,” but my body said, “Not so fast, pilgrim.”

Now, I don’t blame my poor golfing performance entirely on one toe, no matter how big it is. But it did have an impact.

And lucky for you, it occurred to me that lots of marketing communication organizations and small companies also suffer from Broken Big Toe Syndrome (BBTS).

What the heck is that?

It’s this: There is often one key part of the communications process that, when it breaks, causes the entire system to lose its nimbleness.

And any attempts to compensate only make things worse.

For example, maybe you create a company Facebook page without first assessing whether buyers will interact or how the page integrates into the rest of the marketing and sales process.

When the page doesn’t work as expected, the finger-pointing begins, communicators scramble to “fix it,” and inevitably the page becomes inactive. All of which results in a loss of trust among organizations.

Think of the lack of proper channel assessment as BBTS.

With that in mind, I’d like to offer the following self-diagnosis guide for determining if BBTS is indicated (just don’t tell the AMA). And if you answer No to any of the questions, I’ll have to send you to a specialist for follow-up…

Now there are many more questions like these you could ask yourself, but you get the idea.

Here’s the bottom line: Marcom is a complicated machine with lots of moving parts. But left unchecked, seemingly insignificant planning or operational issues can lead to unsatisfactory outcomes, misspent resources and organizational rifts.

So take a close look at how efficiently and effectively your communications organization creates value for your company.

And don’t let BBTS become your Achilles heel.