The Marketing Democracy is a consulting firm that helps marketers, marketing services agencies, and the media integrate their various marketing assets into powerful, integrated marketing solutions. We have specific expertise in finding the powerful intersection between creative (content) and media (channel).

The Shifting Burden of Quality Control: From Gatekeepers to Consumers

December 2nd, 2009

“Use the Macy’s accessory wall, thoughtfully.”….Tim Gunn

Spoken like a true Sage, Tim Gunn instructed the designers of Project Runway to carefully consider the resources available to them as they embellish their creations.  I believe there’s a powerful marketing lesson in Tim’s words.   Open access to resources cannot turn into a “free for all”.  We must carefully edit our choices:  to ensure that the experiences we put out are “thoughtful”. 

Let’s explore this idea on two levels:  first, from a content development point of view and next, from a channel planning point of view.

* Anyone can create and post content!  I don’t need to sell an editor (insert any type of content gatekeeper here) on my ideas: I can post them to my blog, and if you’re so inclined you’ll read and share my posts.  But, with the blog comes a big responsibility.  I owe it to my followers to edit my ideas “thoughtfully”.   Otherwise, I have shifted the burden to you, “the follower” to do the editing yourselves.   You have limited time, and unlimited access to content.   If you have to spend too much time “editing” my work, I will lose you.  Unfortunately, many content creators are missing the point: they are opting for frequency over quality.  Channel capacity is far greater than available, high quality content that is worth your time.  Now, more than ever, we need to “edit” ourselves:  only put out ideas that are truly “thoughtful”.   The  old adage “less is more” holds even more weight when the potential is boundless.

* The same holds true when it comes to integrated channel planning.   The Macy’s accessory wall is a great metaphor for the vast menu of brand touchpoints that exist in a multi-channel world.  To paraphrase Tim Gunn, brand experiences must be planned  “thoughtfully”.  I can’t think of a single brand that belongs “everywhere”.  Yet, many confuse integrated marketing with 360 degree ‘stalking’.  The discipline of Integrated Channel Planning involves the “thoughtful” selection of those touchpoints that can create contextual relevance:  a brand experience that is both important and meaningful in the consumer’s life.   Not all brand experiences can hold such power.  And, it’s dangerous to assume that consumers will simply edit out those experiences that do not hold relevance.  Despite the vast footprint available, brands should opt for quality over quantity.


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