Marketing consultants tend to be divided between poets and plumbers.


The poets are usually the older set, raised within the TV-Industrial complex and smitten with words and phrasings and all things visual.  They love TV and media and demographics.  They are great communicators.  Which is what they want to do all day long…broadcast thought waves to the world.  They don’t like to hear that broadcasting is dead and they get really antsy when there is talk of ROI and accountability.  They understand people and market in emotion.


The plumbers, on the other hand, tend to be from the younger crowd and raised in the Digital Age.  They are quite at home using technology to generate results and expect and want to be measured on their performance.  At times, they will speak a language that only other plumbers can understand, but usually it is related to some cool new tool that makes it easier for them to get stuff done.  They are process oriented and detail driven.  They eat data for lunch.

Digital marketing requires both poets and plumbers.  One Dutch firm went so far as to name themselves after that very concept.  See here.  Notice we are not talking about straight regular old marketing, but digital – using digital distribution channels to promote products and services.  You can still get away with using a poet for print ads and writing press releases and the like.  But be honest.  When is the last time one of those things really hit a homerun for you?

You can get lucky and occasionally find someone who is both poet and plumber.  Someone who understand and has experience building digital platforms and staying present with ever-evolving technologies.  But for the most part, poets who are plumbers are rare.

Just know that you will need both, always.

The plumbers like to think that the poets are becoming obsolete.

But that will only happen if human beings evolve to become unemotional robots with no desire to connect.

And that’s not happening any time soon.