One thing I know that I am not = A developer. (HT: Tom McFarlin)
One thing that I am not, but sometimes feel like I am getting better = A Designer
One thing that I used to have a better feel for, but now ask Ben Woodard for advice on all the time. SEO
One thing that I know that I am… A Marketer.
I wrote this post for the Howard Brothers Intranet site last week. There really isn’t anything in this that is trade secret, so I figured it was safe to post here with a few edits. Hope someone finds it relevant.
Before I came back to Howard’s this time last year, I was working for an interactive web agency that primarily dealt with Hospitals and Healthcare systems. Often times, we were brought in by the hospital’s marketing department because they needed an outside firm to help them develop web strategy that ultimately would lead to a redesigned website and content for that site. We had the challenge of being the go between amongst MANY departments. Think about it. Hospitals have major clinical departments like the Cancer and Heart Centers or Children’s Hospitals, they have ‘minor’ departments like the voice and swallowing department, they had on campus groups such as volunteers and nurses who were always pushing for a voice to be heard in marketing messages. They had Doctors and Executives who thought that they knew everything, and often times they had board of directors who really did know nothing.
We used to joke that the doctors thought that MD stood for Marketing Director… They thought that they knew the best way to run the print/web/radio/TV advertising campaigns, and anyone else just needed to bend to their wants.
However, that all being said, we often ran into situations that were closed down. The LEGAL department would say that you couldn’t speak to anyone about anything related to the hospital. Everyone was worried about talking to the media, and that meant that there was one spokesperson who handled those calls. Of course, you don’t want to break HIPAA compliance laws, and in major situations, you have to have a crisis or disaster plan that includes a point person to handle the message of the organization, but in most cases, the majority of organizations don’t face this challenge.
But here’s my question, who is the media today? Who are marketers today?
WE ALL ARE
It doesn’t matter if you’re a small or big business, a church, a bank, a school… we’re all forced with dealing with the marketing of our brand and how it is perceived by anyone with a blog, twitter or facebook profile. Anyone who walks in our store and checks into FOURSQUARE or leaves a review on YELP should be seen as a voice of the media who will or can be heard by many.
We have no idea who the guy is who we’re helping find a plumbing fitting or sharpening his lawn mower blade. We don’t know the KLOUT score of the the guy who we’re forcing to be left on hold while we can’t answer the phone. With social media today, that person has the ability to create huge amounts of negative press about us or can influence his circle of friends to consider us for a future purchase.
That means that we all need to be aware of how we are presenting our organization to that person.
This means personal appearance is important. Clarity of speech is important. Listening skills are important. In the past advertising part of the key to an organization’s success, but now evangelism is as important or even more important. Are you focusing on that 1 on 1 relationship as much as you can? Are you deceptive or are you transparent?
30 second TV spots or Radio ads are no where near as important as word of mouth. No sale price will ever mean as much as you taking the time to listen to the customer, ask questions and provide a solution that works for them.