Are We Communicating or What? (Part 1)
One of my favorite forms of confusion is the “high-level” discussion! Every time I hear someone say high level in a meeting, I know it’s probably going to be a line of bunk. We live in a world of direct and catalog marketing where the details are everything. A world where lists drive mailings, which drive mail plans which drive the top line. You can forget that top-line hooey; it’s below the line where our best business discussions need to take place.
Said another way, you can’t grow the top line in a multichannel business; it’s impossible — well, almost. You can have a high-level discussion about top-line growth while your circulation planners are snickering in the corner.
Maybe people who have high-level discussions forget all that. Or maybe they just don’t want to understand the details. Could they be the people who changed the saying from “God is in the details” to “the devil is in the details?”
Any time someone wants to get into a high-level discussion with me, I instantly become wary. You know, that same kind of reaction — a raising of the hairs on the back of my neck — that I get any time someone tells me to think outside the box. (Note to readers: Thinking outside the catalog marketing box can have deadly consequences. There’s a reason for the “inside the box” rules we have in this business.)
The joke is, we do all of this business communication to better communicate our ideas and thoughts to each other. That is, until the “four crappy communicators” arrive and get in the way.
In my next column, I’ll help decipher some of the most common (and possibly ridiculous) business terms. Then, I’ll offer a foolproof method for communicating more effectively (all about the four crappy communicators). Don’t miss this column; it will make your career go much smoother.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.