|barron in 1979, with ruth pritchard|
anyone who's ever done this knows what a beast it is. you have to try to drag in an enormous number of people, each of whom is typically invested in his/her unique environment and doesn't often understand how the whole is better than the sum of the parts. sometimes they come willingly, sometimes kicking and screaming, and sometimes not at all. we had some of each of these in our project. to try to drive to a specified completion date, we pressed on without complete input, hoping that we were getting it right enough to start and we'd fix the rest on the fly. one thing we didn't do, though, was to involve our distribution network, because we weren't intending to change any of the extranet tools they use to interact with the business. it was supposed to be business-as-usual for them; our thought was that their input on the website itself would be represented by our internal group of testers as well as a number of external users we surveyed for content organization, site usability, intuitiveness of navigation, etc.
many years ago, i went to high school with a guy named barron blackman, who was one of the most brilliant, creative people in my circle of friends. we stayed in touch throughout college and afterwards, during which time he formed Ate Trax, a small media production company, with his younger brother and another friend of ours. Ate Trax -- and barron directly -- was responsible for some of the most creative B2B industrial work i've done in my career, including for square D company, where i worked in the early 1990s. here's a clip of barron trying to help us market some important educational content that wasn't seeming to get noticed via traditional means:
barron sadly took his life last week; he had just turned 51. he'd been struggling with depression and a host of other issues for many years. i'd not been in touch with him in some time, and i feel terrible about that. but i'll always remember his comments about "the real audience and the actual audience." his advice, as i recall, was to stay focused on the real audience and hope that the actual audience eventually comes around.
in keeping with my company's social media policy, it should be noted that this blog represents my personal views on marketing and communication, and not necessarily those of my employer.