Does Your Agency Have a Hammer or a Hardware Store?

Yesterday, the unimaginable happened.

The technology broke.

Yep, in a world where we rely upon technology day in and day out, a tool we depend upon to do our job stopped working. I won’t go into details or name names, but it’s an expensive tool and a critical one. Our hammer. We planned to use it for a client today and when we went to log in yesterday, we found error after error and called customer service to find out that basically, the system was down – indefinitely.

Not. Good.

Does your agency have a Plan B?

We needed a hardware store. Fortunately, having been in the business for more than 20 years, we knew that there were other tools available that could do a similar job.

So, I don’t think of myself as old. Ask anyone over 40 and they’ll say the same thing (Millennials, stop laughing). But, I do remember when we didn’t rely on the Internet or email to do our jobs.

Now, I’ll preface that this situation was not related to a media database – I’ll just state that right off the bat. But, using that as an example, a lot has changed in two decades. In the 90s there were these monster books called Bacon’s that listed every single journalist’s name and contact information and – get this – they were updated YEARLY. And they cost a fortune. Around 1998 a service called MediaMap was introduced and the agency I worked for at the time hired a full-time IT guy who spent his days in the server room uploading the CDs they sent us every week with contact information so we would be up-to-date with journalist contact info. I think I slept at that agency more than once having stuffed envelopes to mail press releases or process fax jobs when we issued breaking news for clients. Oh, and we made phone calls. Lots and lots and lots of phone calls. Email became popular around 2000 and hasn’t slowed, and social media picked up around 2010. We have come a long way, baby.

So when this situation arose yesterday, we took it in stride. I called the client and told them we were going to do things a different way because the original way wasn’t an option (and actually, in retrospect Plan B is a creative alternative that might be more beneficial as it is a bit outside the norm…).

We launched the campaign this morning and all is well in the world.

How does your agency handle change? An emergency? Do they only have a Plan A or do they plan for the alphabet (A-Z)?

One of the things we say to prospective clients when we meet is that for the cost of an internal marketing associate you can have a team of senior professional consultants at your fingertips (with none of the overhead, benefits or risk). In this case, I don’t think a junior person would have been able to pivot due to a lack of knowledge of prior practices. It’s not their fault – it just comes with experience. We pivoted and prevailed.

Still, I can’t wait for the tech to work again. I won’t lie.