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Nov 29, 2018    Burn Book

Stop, Drop, and Roll With It

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Living in Austin, we’re no stranger to the outdoors and the creatures who live among us. Besides armadillos, roadrunners, hippies, and the occasional snake, there aren’t many animals that put fear into the heart of our Austin marketing agency.

However, if we were ever to venture to foreign lands, and there was a likelihood of us running into the company of gorillas, rhinos, or something as lethal as the African buffalo, we’d want someone with a little experience or familiarity with the territory we were in. You know, just so we don’t die.

Finding the Right Guide

The problem is, how do we know who the right guide is? Do we want Raphael, ex-British special forces who lived among grizzly bears for 4 months? Do we want Anastasia, the multi-lingual, professional mountain climber, who researched uncontacted forest tribes in college? Or do we want Moses, a former bounty hunter who belongs to an anti-poaching unit in a remote part of Southeast Malaysia?  

While these individuals are more than capable of protecting you in specific situations, what happens when an occurrence arises that they’re not prepared for? Or have never dealt with? God knows I’m not putting myself between a mountain lion and a bag of trail mix. And I sure as hell don’t know how to tell a group of people who have never seen the real world that my watch, is in fact, not a bewitched tree branch coiled around my wrist.  

The fact of the matter is that in unpredictable environments, you need to be prepared to face any kind of scenario. The best kind of preparation? Experience. Experience in diverse and varying situations that you’ve dealt with before. Which brings us to the focus of our article (sorry, Animal Planet is on at 7): If corporate in-house marketing teams were to be stranded outdoors, they would be the first to die.

The Unpredictable World of Advertising

Every single day, something in the world our media advertising agency operates in changes. Whether it’s a platform adjustment, a Google algorithm update, a new passive-aggressive Zuckerberg-led moral police type policy, or some sort of consumer data litigation, we’re constantly identifying shifts in the spectrum we work in. This is where having more problems becomes advantageous. Once your media advertising agency solves these issues (better than one marketing consultant ever could) that so frequently arise, you can back-pocket the solution and apply it to future scenarios.

As an in-house marketing agency, you’re exposed to a far less range and variety of problems than our Austin digital marketing firm would deal with. While this might seem like a good thing, in the long term it’s not. You think Moses would’ve been made the captain of his anti-poaching unit if he didn’t have experience tracking down humans as a bounty hunter? You think Raphael would’ve had the grit to join the British Special Forces if he didn’t get stranded in the Alaskan wilderness? No way.

When in-house marketing teams try to dissipate an issue, they do so with a limited scope that is entirely different than the approaches marketing companies in Texas would take, or anywhere for that matter. The reason being is that the former have always approached situations with a narrow mindset. That’s why a lot of our corporate clients are in-house marketers, chief marketing officers and VPs of sales.

What happens when a construction company starts facing public backlash for building on land that is being deprived of natural resources? Maybe post a tweet, or a public apology saying how sorry about it they are. But a digital media marketing agency has come across similar PR problems before, and as a result, hired a public relations specialist who knows just how to mitigate disaster.

Or what about an apparel brand, who never realized that where materials came from was just as important as what materials were made of. These are exactly the types of ideas our Austin advertising agency digs deep for, and what it all boils down to is the concept of short knowledge vs. long knowledge.

Short Knowledge vs. Long Knowledge

Short knowledge can best be described as having a particular skill or capability. Knowing how to use illustrator or an application on Adobe Creative Cloud can be referred to as short knowledge. It is a concentrated, often singular skill set that you can apply to different scenarios.

Long knowledge can best be described as having an abundance of knowledge on a variety of topics, or to be well-informed. Long knowledge isn’t so much a skill set as much as it is just a general wealth of knowledge that you can apply through different skills. The easiest way to imagine short vs long knowledge is to compare graphic designers to writers.

A graphic designer contains the short knowledge on how to make animations and graphics, where a writer will oftentimes have an abundance of long knowledge on different topics on which he or she draws upon.

The kicker comes when you have a graphic designer with the long knowledge of what different graphics and animations look like, and has studied related content which he or she can interpret into their own work. Or a writer, with the short knowledge of SEO copywriting in addition to an abundance of worldly topics, for example.

Now you’re cookin’ with grease.

Where In-House Differs

This brings us to the issue of in-house marketing agencies. The members a part of these teams tend to have either short, or long knowledge, and rarely have both. They possess the short-knowledge to address situations that occur on a day-to-day basis, but not the long knowledge to apply new ideas to unfamiliar scenarios. This limits these companies beyond measure, and still, businesses choose to keep marketing efforts in-house.

As the influx of marketing companies in Texas continues to grow, we hope that businesses start to understand the talent that exists outside the confines of their office buildings. Short knowledge and long knowledge can coexist, you just have to find the right team. If not, you risk the chance of making yourself vulnerable to the unpredictable occurrences that so often happen in the marketing world.

So be advised, when designing your marketing tactics in-house, there might just be an assembly of baboons around the corner, waiting to ruin your day.

And if you don’t believe the baboons, believe the numbers.

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