Working in an ever developing industry that requires a balanced knowledge of data management, strategy and creative flare is a never ending challenge. A wonderfully colourful challenge that demands any given media agent (of any typical agency that works with technology) to submit to a never ending practice of constant wit sharpening. A wit that demands the knowledge of new channel developments, digital capabilities, creative possibilities and therefore new opportunities for the clients and brands they represent. It is no less than mortally essential that even the most mediocre of agent must stay abreast of most, if not all industry updates and news to maintain a competitive edge by developing an inherent and intrinsic curiosity.
Developing and maintaining a healthy curiosity can take up time but it doesn’t have to be a lot of time. With customisable apps and news feeds, the routine task of reading can be carried out in minutes and selecting what is useful for further investigation can become a pleasure of exploration. It is key to be constantly evaluating the value; persistently asking the question: is this useful? This will help you to decide whether to persist in finding out more about a given subject or drop it fast, so as to save time.
Test and prove
The core social media channels are always updating! These are streets of our industry, we work on them and much like the cities around us, there’s always road work going on, they change and grow rapidly. Just think how many channel announcements have been made about Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat in the last 2 weeks (Dated 9th March 2016). A lot, yes, but this is pretty standard, right? All the more reason it is essential to be curious with these developments, discover and explore them and find out what they’re really about. It is important to measure the true value of any new feature fast and then confidently include (or exclude) it from your next strategy. Safe in the knowledge that it has a clear and valid application.
Do go mental. Use new apps, tools and features; Make sure you experience the practicality, just be conscious of time used. As soon as you prove the essence and value of a feature or tool put it down, bank the value, don’t ‘waste time’ experimenting but do justify time spent discovering usefulness versus uselessness. It is better to know a feature or tool is useless than to never know at all.
Share the knowledge
Healthy conversation, and truly debating subjects with peers is a fast way to learn and discover. Exercising the value of new features or tools should be fundamental in any such agency. This may sound like a given but it’s easy to take shared knowledge for granted, especially if you only bounce ideas off peers of similar skills or experience to yourself. Taking the time to find out and compare learnings with a range of opinions can give fresh perspective on new learnings and speed up the evaluation of value; Is this useful? Does this work? How can we use this? Has it been done before? What further issues does this create? In what context would this work? How would it fail? Is this really what we need or is it being used for the sake of it? A big risk for media agencies to use new features simply to demonstrate freshness without a thought for real value or validity.
In all, be very curious about industry developments, with information updating inch by inch and the accessibility of info at an all time high we can easily waste time dwelling on all kinds of things. Don’t go too far down ‘the rabbit hole’. Keep questioning value, keep assessing time spent and keep discussing knowledge.