Michelangelo once said
In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.
Artists have a way of seeing what could be instead of what is don’t they? Where we would have seen a block of marble, Michelangelo saw a statue.
As companies grow and mature they polish and clean the same big block of marble — they tend to improve and optimize frameworks and processes. It’s partly because what’s shared with new employees is best practices. The advantage of course is efficiency, which drives down costs. If you consistently implement marketing campaigns in a similar way with similar tools, you slowly get better at it. Until the day when it’s no longer a framework — it’s just the way your marketing is. It’s no longer about figuring out what your prospect’s biases and worldview and fears and beliefs are, it’s about getting it done quickly and efficiently — preferably before 5pm.
The thing is efficiency doesn’t lead to efficient work. If the day’s work is done before the actual day is, busywork tends to fill the gap — not because your employees are incapable of more, but because that’s what they’re trained to do. As marketing tasks become increasingly efficient, the job gets done faster and the day gets filled with more busywork and the cycle continues.
What could be
The biggest drawback is then being blind to what could be. The stronger the framework becomes, the more it becomes reality. As marketing tactics and strategies repeat themselves, they stop being tactics and strategies and become marketing itself. The process becomes more important that the result. Trying, testing, improving is not longer allowed because we don’t care about the result, we care about how it’s being done and the best way to get it done is how it’s always been done. It’s not the time or the place to try something new.
Frameworks and change
Could we use the benefits of frameworks — efficiency — with the necessity of experimentation and change?
Let’s try this: instead of using the framework to add more busywork, once the day’s work is done, can we just try one new thing? Scope out prospects on LinkedIn, buy Google AdWords, reach out to media reps and see what they have to offer, try a new revenue stream…whatever you would like, as long as it’s new and different — as long as it’s art.
Why do you think companies like Facebook have hack days?
(Photo credit: kak k)