by Jason Wilson

I went to the doctor a few weeks ago for some pain in my lower back. After explaining my situation and answering all his questions, he recommended some blood work and possibly an ultrasound to check for kidney stones. I told him that after 43 years, I think I know what’s wrong. After all, it is my body, and I’ve had this discomfort before. He went on to explain why the tests were important so we can effectively diagnose the issue and make sure the treatment is the right one. I’m not a fan of medical testing, so I decided against it and left.

This past weekend, I ate out for dinner at a local restaurant. After ordering my steak, I wandered back into the kitchen to supervise the chef. I told him when to turn it over on the grill, what seasoning to add and when it was done. I knew all of this from a YouTube video I watched on how to cook the best steak.

Then most recently, I took my car in for service. There was a banging noise coming from the left front and a subtle shudder in the wheels. I knew something wasn’t right. The service tech looked at it and told me I have one tire that’s really worn and needs replacing, but suggested I get at least get two tires so he can rotate and balance all four wheels for me. I wasn’t sure I really needed a second tire. He told me the banging noise under the hood was actually incorrect spark plugs. “It happens,” he said. “You can have deposit buildup in the chamber is causing the knock you hear.” After some thought, I decided on one tire and handled the noise by using higher octane gas. I’m sure that will fix it. It’s my car, after all.

All three of these scenarios should sound ridiculous to you. Why on earth would I not follow the advice of a medical professional, an experienced chef or a certified mechanic? Considering the fact that I am not an expert in medicine, culinary arts or automotive engineering, it would be silly for me to ignore them and do it my own way.

Yet this consistently happens in marketing and advertising.  I experience it, I’ve witnessed it, and I’ve heard about this very thing from countless colleagues in the field.  We often feel handcuffed in the process by personal preferences, decision-by-committee, and uneducated perspectives. The struggle is real.  There are too many conversations that are just about the rate, often with apples-to-oranges comparisons.  Price doesn’t always equal value.

What’s missing?

Collaboration. Brilliant brand stories can easily get lost in the shuffle, miss the mark and fade into the background, drowned out by today’s noisy and cluttered media marketplace.  Instead, try letting an expert in media or marketing help you, the expert in your business, tell a unique brand story.  Each party brings craft and strategy to the table.  Craft is the collection of knowledge, experience, and talent. It can’t be a one-sided relationship. They never last… just like real life.

“Craft is fascinating. A Taxi driver talking about taxi driving is very, very interesting,” says James Lipton, Writer and Executive Producer of Inside the Actors Studio.  You’d be amazed at what you can learn by listening to someone talk about their craft.  That goes for both parties.

When we approach this with the idea that learning from each other is how the best results are possible, collaboration can truly flourish, better stories are told, and the results will follow.

My recommendation is to ask some questions to your marketing partners. There are many talented and capable media professionals out there who can assist you with this topic. Take the time to have some conversation with them about your business and share your craft.  Many of us are more than just media sales reps.  There are decades of experience and knowledge available to you, across multiple media platforms, and we all have a desire to help you succeed.

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