If You Had a Hammer…
Looking over the content of this digital-oriented issue, I am reminded of the
expression that a person with a hammer sees every problem as a nail. We have a lot
of shiny new tools in our armamentarium these days, but that’s all they are; tools.
Platforms, apps, new media – all tools. You can’t just pull them out of the box and
whack every nail in sight to get the results you want.
They may be cleverly designed and offer the opportunity for new marketing
strategies and better computation, but there’s one thing they don’t do, and that’s
think. If we buy a bundle of them from the Tech R Us toy store, we’ll still just have a
lot of fancy Legos that don’t know how to put themselves together.
That seems to be the lesson coming out of many of our articles. We still have to do the strategizing.
What is it we’re trying to accomplish? How will that happen? By what means, for what reasons, to which
demographics, with what messages?
When television became popular in the middle of the 20th century, the fear from the movie studios and
the radio stations was that it would steal their audiences. Here we are, over 60 years later, and whaddya
know? Movies and radio are still with us. They just had to take a new look at their purpose and go with
their strengths. And what did that take? Human ingenuity.
Similarly, iPhones, tablets, apps, and other tools won’t replace print media or television advertising. The
“old” media will just find a way to fit into the new landscape. That will require the intervention of human
And all those tools certainly won’t replace the rep. Because the rep will always have an indispensible tool
that exists nowhere else: what Hercule Poirot called his “little grey cells.” Despite the grandiose term
“artificial intelligence,” no digital program is anywhere near threatening the value of the human brain.
Reps – and the rest of their team back at headquarters – have to respond to decisions so complex, subtle,
quick-changing and surprising that I doubt we’ll ever replace their worth.
So cheer up! Not only is there great excitement in playing with your new tools, but they also offer great
opportunity to show the ongoing superiority of the one you were born with. Enjoy it!
As always, we continue to look for the value of your contributions. Let us know if you have an idea for an
article – the people we write for are the people who write for us.
Neil Greenberg, Editor
To become an HS&M contributing author or provide feedback, please email me
Letter from the Editor