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"One thing that's somehow bothering me is that it seems we get caught up in our own BS.... I know it looks foolish if we don't follow the hottest trend in marketing, but we should know better... is it really a new big thing or did we drink some of our own poison...?"


When I read that comment from Katia, and an earlier one from CK on a recent post here, I knew I had to shake the trees and see what fell out.
Blogs opens doors to inspiration, motivation, new ideas, old ideas revisited, and community. Those are some of the upsides. I think there are a few downsides, as well. But today I want to focus on tools. That's right, if we aren't careful and thoughtful and remember the basics, we might get caught up in thinking that tools build the house.
What are some of the tools professionals carry in their tool belts to get the job done? We are talking blog, vlog, podcast, direct mail, Skype, Webinars, advertising, creative, public relations, and so on. At the end of the day, these tools do nothing. To be useful they have to be handled by knowledgeable, thoughtful, creative and innovative tool users.
Again, I quote Katia:
I have never felt so much pressure to be on the leading edge of being creative and innovative, but I'm not 100% sure "fads" such as CGM and others are the answer I'm looking for. Honestly, we need to spend more time looking inside the box to really get to know our consumers/clients.
So much truth coming from so few words.
We spend lots of time discussing tools. That is a good thing, as long as we remember there is very little useful and new about the tools. We can use a podcast or a megaphone, and either can succeed or fail. We can create dynamic 3D graphics or etchings on a cave wall, and unless they send the right message to the right audience at the right time, they are equally useless.
Tools are the means to an end. But we must begin with the most basic of all tools, an integrated communications/marketing plan, a road map to success. It might be the size and detail of War and Peace or written on a napkin. But however it is created, it is the box containing the action items that must be launched, managed and executed.
When we open and look inside the box, if we fail to see what's inside as tools and instead think of them as somehow elixirs and the newest and greatest mediums of all time, we miss the point and mess up the formula for success.
To borrow from one of my earlier comments:
Communications (the right message to the right audience at the right time), no matter the tool, should be:
1) compelling
2) engaging
3) short
4) concise
5) and audience-focused
The last is critically important. Using podcasts to reach baby boomers may be dumb; writing sales letters to 18 - 25 year olds may be even dumber; thinking that technology solves business challenges may be the dumbest.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lewis Green, Founder and Managing Principal of L&G Business Solutions, LLC, (http://www.l-gsolutions.com) brings three decades of business management experience. L&G Business Solutions, LLC, represents his third company. Additionally, he held management positions with GTE Discovery Publications, Puget Sound Energy and Starbucks Coffee Company.

In addition to his business experiences, Lewis is a published author and a former journalist, sports writer and travel writer. His feature articles have appeared in books, magazines and newspapers throughout North America. He has taught in public schools; lobbied for organizations both in state capitols and in Washington, D.C.; delivered workshops, seminars, and training programs; and made presentations to audiences in colleges, businesses and professional organizations. Lewis also has served as a book editor with a large publisher, the Executive Editor overseeing four magazines, and a newspaper department editor. Lewis served eight years in the U.S. Air Force, where he received the Air Force Commendation Medal.