Today at the Omaha AMA's Hot Topics event, I gave a talk about Finding the Ying & Yang of Marketing 2.0. I'll post the video later this week but tonight, as I sit here at 30,000 feet blogging (so cool) I thought I'd expand on a thought I shared with the group today.
As I sat writing my notes for my talk, it occurred to me that it was odd to be asked in 2009 (almost 2010) to give folks tips or a road map for integrating old media and new media. Yet, I'm often asked to speak to various groups on just that topic. So why is that?
My answer is that we're all asking the wrong question and we're looking in the wrong place for the answer.
First, we're still asking folks how to do it versus asking how to think about doing it. That may sound like I'm splitting hairs but stop for a minute and think about what I just wrote. When you ask someone to tell you how to do something, you're asking for a process that you can replicate. But that is just one process. Sure it worked for them this time, but is it truly replicable. Will it work tomorrow or the day after that?
Instead of asking "how to" do social media we need to be asking "how to think" about social media, digital media, old media and the blending of all of it. We need to be asking folks that "seem" to have it figured out or at least seem farther along than ourselves for a framework not a solution. You see if I give you a framework for thinking, I've empowered you to think for yourself. If I give you a process to replicate, well I've just made you reliant on me to give you a new one when the old one finally fails to be effective anymore. But a framework, well you can take that learning and build upon it, make it bigger, stronger and better than I could make it myself. Sort of how the Open Source peeps write code.
So my first suggestion to the group and now to you is start asking the right question if you hope to get the right answer.
Second, we're looking in the wrong places for that elusive answer. We keep looking for experts. Social Media Experts, Digital Experts, Traditional Experts. But here is the problem with experts, (social, digital and traditional). Experts are looking in the wrong direction. Experts become experts by focusing on the now and more importantly the then. They look backwards and study what has been done and what is being done. That's gives them this huge depth of information, which we as a society define as expertness -- if that is even a word. Now don't get me wrong, he who thumbs his nose as the value of studying history is doomed to repeat the mistakes of history, but at some point you need to stop looking behind you and start looking in front of you. Experts by and large don't do that...otherwise they risk being less of an expert.
So my advice today was instead of hiring experts, hire explorers.
Explorers spend their days looking forward. They may not know everything there is to know about the past, but that is because they are busy dreaming up a future. Find the people on your staff or at your agency or at another agency for that matter who explore. Find the people that are bigger, bolder and dream more than the rest. Find the folks that are not afraid to fail, that embrace failure as the necessary precursor to knowledge. Find the folks doing things not because someone is paying them to do it but just for shits & giggles because they want to see what will happen. Find the people that don't know what questions not to ask. Get out of your geography. Get out of your industry. Go to places you've not looked before and find the explorers. Find them and then hire them. They are the key to the promise land of effectively leveraging old and new media.
I go more into detail in the video... which you can see tomorrow. But for now, what do you think? Hire experts or hire explorers?