Monday, May 9, 2011

Speed Thrills

One of the influences that the explosion of social media has generated is the speed at which information is disseminated. If you are a marketer you cannot ignore this new paradigm.

Those of us old enough to remember when printed communications were a marketing staple may fondly recall that developing, producing and distributing a brochure, advertisement or direct mail piece was a process that took weeks or months. It required advanced planning and coordination, significant resources and lots of patience.

That's gone. Now you can have an idea over breakfast, craft the message by lunch, distribute in the afternoon and start measuring results before the evening meal is on the table. In fact, customers are coming to expect this sort of instant communication.

This incredible acceleration in the process is wonderful for marketers. Or is it?

With such a short cycle to work with, there is no time for consideration or deliberation. There is barely time for editing. Which means that, from time to time, the message that goes out is going to be less than compelling, misdirected, or perhaps even damaging.

Speed must not be a substitute for effectiveness. Just look at the news media professionals and politicians who rushed to announce that they had viewed the "real" photos of Osama Bin Laden after he was killed; only to find out that the photos were fake. In their rush to be first, the talking heads and eager pols allowed themselves to be duped - willingly so, it seems.

So when you get that great idea at breakfast, make sure you stand back and assess it with a critical eye. If it passes muster, take the time to craft the message so that it will be accurate, compelling and effective. Only then should it be released. It may take a little longer to enter the communications stream, but the end result should be more to your liking.

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