Change and Multimedia Strategy

Two events struck me in how much the environment changed in the past 18 months…and continues to change. Leaders in this environment must integrate many more information sources and ways to communicate in reaching their goals than we have ever needed to consider before.

Mrs. Edison herself

Mrs. Edison herself!

I visited with my friend Sarah Miller Caldicott last week and listened as she laid out a strategy to make her second book a New York Times Bestseller. We talked for over an hour about her goals and how she will make them a reality.

In the past, writing and promoting a bestseller was a matter of much talent, a little luck, and who you knew to put you in front of the right publisher. There were limited channels to tackle, limited ways to deliver your message, and the limits of scale constrained the number of people who would have the opportunity to be a successful – or even published – author.

Today it’s a much more democratic process…and much more complicated. Sarah and I invested a minor Man reading teletypesportion of our time on content. Instead, we worked on the ways she could deliver her message, promote her book, and realize her goals. As we sat with a large, blank sheet of paper, it became obvious that there were many different platforms to consider and choose. Personal appearances, networking, websites, social networking, email, and all the other channels open to a modern communicator. Considering and integrating the message across all these platforms are a new complication all of us have yet to fully grasp.

Later, I also worked with a senior marketing executive in transition. He is a diverse executive, with experience in operations as well as major CPG companies. Tom lived his professional life promoting new products and successfully using the tools of the trade. During our lunch, we explored how all the new channels could help – or hurt – him find a new position.

typewriterFew things have been more affected by technology than the job search. Two decades ago, I made my first transition by answering a newspaper ad. The process changed through the use of computers, email, specialized websites, and social networking. In fact, the process may now use too much technology. Technology makes it possible for companies to cheaply reach millions of possible candidates; and it enables candidates to respond to hundreds (thousands?) of open positions. The overuse of the available technology makes it critical to integrate old school techniques – personal networking, company research – in any successful job campaign.

Working through these two people hammered home the need to understand and evaluate all of the channels available to us. As leaders, we need to be able to understand the concepts or message we want to communicate, and the work we need to complete. Then, we need to understand which channels and tools can be most effective for us in any particular situation. This is not so much an insight as a statement of the (almost) obvious.

Less obvious is why we need to be engaged in the marketplace. Sure, the outbound messaging requirement to marketing ideas and products is fairly clear. Just as important is the need to engage the marketplace in order to receive the inbound messages. These messages enable us to learn – more quickly and easily than ever before – about trends and how our actions mesh with these happenings. Leaders engage the marketplace through the new media in order make themselves more effective.

Laser LoveAt the end of the day, it’s critical to deliver a consistent message through the most efficient and effective channels. That’s Marketing 101 and still the core of any effective campaign. It is easier to deliver a consistent message, but much more difficult to select and coordinate effective platforms to deliver that message. It is worth the effort, because a clear, consistent message, delivered through effective platforms creates more power and has more impact than ever before!


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August 2009
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