Confusing Technology and Behavior

Once again Adcontrarian hit the nail on the head.

Confusing Gadgetry With Behavior.

It rings true to just about anything that is technology-related. I’m watching TV. I’m on the phone. Doesn’t matter the method, the action is the same.

On my side of the ad agency fence – squarely in the middle of the making sure things get done department – technology is frequently confused with behavior.

When things go wrong in an agency, as they all too often do, the first inclination is to turn to technology. We need a[nother] new software program. What we have doesn’t work, is too hard to use, the UX looks funky, blah, blah, blah.

New software will Fix Everything.

I have seen agencies and in-house marketing departments spend tons of money – the cash kind and hours (that could be billable) kind – in project management and workflow solutions hoping to achieve workflow nirvana.

Sometimes the tools (not the people – the technology) that are in place were selected by accounting, IT, or God forbid, a committee comprised of management who know nothing about what it takes to juggle a boatload of work, and resources that are hiding at Starbucks.

Often, the tools were not setup or implemented properly, training was done as more of a features overview, or worse, via five- or ten-minute videos on YouTube.


I don’t care if you’re using the biggest, baddest enterprise solution, or an easy-entry freeware, cloud-based app. You have to set parameters for use, or else everyone will do whatever they want, however they want.

Technology does not change behavior.

If you’re not getting much in the way of consistency or compliance in what you’re using now, it won’t happen with something shiny and new.

That’s why I have a job. (I can help you)

There’s more to keeping your agency humming along, and preventing people from hatin’-on one another. Tools (technology) are one thing. Process is another (I can hear The Adcontrarian now), but yes, you need a process – just basic, clearly defined steps to get things done works fine.

Then there are people.

People. They’re the ones using the tools. They often don’t know why they’re required to use them. They’re getting their work done. Thank-you-very-much. So back off. And please don’t say Process again.

Bottom line; involve users (especially creative folk) in evaluation and decision-making of technology. If they understand why you decided to do this to them, they’re just a little more inclined to use it – and use it the way you intended it to be used.

Ask for their recommendation. Don’t make it an ordeal. Involvement takes 10 minutes. Any more than that and you’ll lose all of the creative folks. You take care of the rest, and then give a 5-minutes or less dog-and-pony of the awesome solution you found.

There will always be a few who refuse to comply. If the culture allows it, then that’s part of your job: find out how important it is for management, then they have to do their part. Compliance can require tough love. You don’t have to be a jerk – help them get over the resistance.

Last, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times – customize your solution to fit your agency.

Out of the box, plug ‘n play, is a complete lie. Trust me on this.

Technology doesn’t change behavior. We still do what we have to do. These days, we don’t have keep timesheets on a three-part form, we click a button.

The inclination (or lack thereof) to do so will never change.

And in case I didn’t make it clear: I love the creative guys. I really do.

Your work pays the bills.