I was reminded of this quote that was on a whiteboard at our office at International Network Services back in the early 90’s. One of our network architects wrote it because he was frustrated that one of our clients thought all of their network problems would be solved by using a Sniffer from Network General. This morning I had an email exchange with a former colleague informing me that his company elected to license a social media marketing tool to manage, publish and analyze their social media interactions. It will of course fail.
Tools bring efficiency and leverage to a defined process. A process isn’t useful or meaningful unless it is defined as a facet of a strategic initiative tied to a business objective. My former colleague’s company has a weak pipeline in a highly competitive market. Implementing a tool will give his colleagues some short-term gratification, but without a definitive plan it will ultimately fall into disuse and end up being a complete waste of time effort and money.
Imagine a scenario where there are two piles of building materials with each having everything needed to erect a small house, including lumber, hammers, nails, saws, etc. Then, get a monkey and a journeyman carpenter and tell them each to create a house from each pile. The monkey will start hammering away on everything, make a lot of noise and create a lot of damage. The first thing the carpenter will do, if he/she is any good, is ask where the plans are.
A good carpenter can build a house without plans, but it likely will not fulfill the requirements of the homeowner. So, if you hire someone that has good technical skills, expect him to build something really solid; it may not, however, be what you need. That is what an architect is for. If you ask an architect to design a home for you, the first thing he/she will do is ask you a bunch of questions, for example:
1) Is this your primary residence or a vacation home?
2) What neighborhood is it in?
3) How many people are in your family?
4) What are the ages and gender of your children?
5) What general style of house appeals to you?
6) Do you do a lot of entertaining?
7) What is your budget?
Using this information, prior knowledge and experience, the architect will design a home that is suited to your needs and your budget. It will also take into consideration different rules, regulations, codes and best practices.
Building a cost-effective, executable, measurable marketing plan is not unlike having a custom home built. There are many materials to pick from and many tools available. However, without a credible, detailed plan correlated to specific business objectives you will build a (what may be an attractive on the surface) house on a shaky foundation that will certainly collapse in the first storm. This is particularly true now of social media marketing. There is a lot of noise in the space with many tool vendors claiming to have the answers to the problems. For most companies, the questions have not been formulated so there are no answers, yet.
Architects design. Carpenters build. Monkeys play and make a lot of noise.
We help companies plan, design, manage, analyze and optimize social media marketing plans. We have cost-effective 3-month and 6-month starter programs to help companies optimize their time, budgets and resources. Our specialty is with B2B companies with a complex sale. Contact me to see if we can help architect and build a meaningful social media presence for your company.
Bill at thruthenoise dot com