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The Marketer and the Mouse

January 24, 2011

This is a guest post from a colleague at Eric Mower and Associates. It was first posted on our internal EMA blog. It is being re-posted here with permission.

I work downtown at a marketing communications agency. And there are mice in our office.

Yes, 19 floors up, a few small rodents run rampant.

Every once and a while you’ll find “evidence” of a visit, catch a glimpse of a tail, or follow the motion of a furry silhouette scurrying across the floor.

Having grown up in an old small country home next to a vast hayfield, I’m fairly unaffected by these occurrences.

baseball bat
Image by erik jaeger via Flickr

However, one person’s response caused me to chuckle a bit, “I’m going to invest in a baseball bat.”

“Go ahead,” I thought. “Try using that apparatus to catch the darn thing.”

The problem is, even if you catch one, you’re bound to find more. It might take you weeks—even months—to eliminate the pest.

If you think about it, mice are most-likely the result of much larger issues.

Office cleanliness? Likely. Aging building construction? Could be. Urbanization? How unfortunate.

And back to the baseball bat. Waving that thing around won’t help to make the office cleaner. No matter how hard you swing, it won’t likely serve as a good construction tool. And unless you’re a radical, anarchic protester—a baseball bat won’t serve you well in the fight against urbanization.

The frantic (and somewhat understandable) responses by a few of my colleagues serve as a reminder of our purpose as a strategic marketing communications agency.

In marketing, no matter what level you operate at, there will always be mice. Those small, yet disruptive distractions that suddenly become the absolute center of attention. And, like my colleague who suggested using a baseball bat, there will always be irrational, short-term reactions that fail to address the larger issue. Like the baseball bat, most knee-jerk ideas will be an insufficient way to address the larger problem at hand.

“Oh my! We have negative-tone Tweets!”

Better get the baseball bat. Wrong. Stop right there. Calm down. Breathe. Call on your experts. (For the mice in our office, we called the building maintenance team.)

You’re bigger than the problem. You’re more sophisticated than that baseball bat. And most likely, your “marketing mouse” is simply a single symptom of a larger issue at hand.

Brainstorm what the larger issue could be.  Consider your options. Clean up your act. Improve your infrastructure. Confront bigger concerns. Execute. And move on.

Just remember. No matter what you do, there will always be more mice.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 25, 2011 5:10 pm

    Ha… I love the idea of buying a baseball bat to catch a mouse… What a fitting image!

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