One day recently, I watched a craftsman carve letters, using hand tools, into a marble wall. My intent was not to just watch, but I was so intrigued by the work – he used only a hammer and a chisel – that I simply stood there. With great precision and unique tools, this artist was writing.
The craft-communicator had a specific skill, he was a technologist with tools of steel. As the work progressed, I saw names forming – names of financial donors – but the names weren’t what struck me first. The tools and his use of them, however, mesmerized me.
When I left the building a couple hours later, I read the names. They were important. And with tools and craftsman gone, I saw it wasn’t about the tools or how they were used. Sure, the process was interesting, and I hope the craftsman was well paid for his writing. The message he carved endured after he was gone; the names and the stories told had a lasting influence.
Marketers, are you focused on the tools used, or on the influence of the message?
Hammer and chisel. Pen and paper. Computer and keyboard. Tablet and touchscreen. Customized or automated. The message matters most. The words and the story, they make the difference, they create the influence.
But for too many marketers today, words matter less than tools. Instagram provides a great tool with “Stories,” but what are you saying with that tool. Email automation lets you respond instantly, but does saving time improve communication? Emojis show more facial expressions than we’ve seen in human form, but is there a human ear listening for a response?
Whether sending an e-mail or a tweet. Whether hand-writing a Thank You card or leaving a What’s App message. Pay attention to the words regardless of the tool used. Choose your words with care (and spell them properly). Deliver them like they’re important – because they are. Of course, tools are important; they help you reach a specific audience. But the tools don’t send the message, they don’t create the influence. The quality of your words is more important than the speed of their delivery.