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Idea: Software Is a Tool, Not a Solution

Imagine if someone applied for a senior finance position at your company. “What are your credentials?” you ask. “I’m an Excel rock star,” they answer. “But you have no business background or training in accounting,” you respond. “But have you seen how great my charts look?”

Of course, the interview ends there because you know that someone’s ability to use Excel doesn’t mean they know how to be a chief financial officer.

e079753edf5595bb527df8aa_256x226Yet today in marketing, constant advances in the ease-of-use of software tools make it seem like the key to success is mastering the latest software rather than mastering the essence, experience, art and skills of a job.

As we’ve written before, “desktop publishing” was the first wave of marketing software whose promise to make publishing easy fell flat. The technology of “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” design tools and content creation promised to make it a snap for the “rest of us” to become effective creators and communicators. Who knew a simple thing like “fonts” would quickly prove the rest of us aren’t talented designers?

PowerPoint is another software trap that can be the equivalent of Excel in the finance department for marketing and sales. Mastering the software tool is not the same as mastering the understanding and experience necessary to generate sales or develop deep customer relationships.

Today, we are seeing a new generation of software for the “rest of us” that promises to automate marketing, organize sales, personalize products, yada-yada-yada.

Those tools are powerful and should be embraced and used.

But great tools are not what creates great marketing. Talented, trained and experienced people using those tools is the magic.

Painting: Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1919, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York via Wikipedia