The General Specific. An ode to generalists everywhere.

It used to be an agency professional was expected to be a generalist in the specifics of marketing and advertising. It was understood that it’s impossible for a creative, AE or media planner to know everything about everything. Sure, you better know media buying, strategy and creative but no one expected a mid-level art director to know the mechanics of hanging a billboard or a or how to operate a movie camera.

But that’s all changed. An art director is now expected to know how to program flash and an a account man better know more than a little bit about testing and measurement. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at a job posting for an Art Director these days. It’s not uncommon to see 10 different programs that they are required to know.

Technical knowledge is a good thing. The more you know the better, right? Well, not if we’re now evaluating professionals based on technical knowledge when it’s not their primary job.

I’m not saying this as a technophobe. For a creative, I am actually pretty technically capable. But a great creative or AE, is someone who can think generally about a problem and come up with solutions across multiple disciplines, many which even aren’t considered marketing or advertising. And that’s just not how most technologists think. In the end, generalist thinking is way more valuable to a client than knowing how to manipulate a timeline in Adobe Flash Professional.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Posted on: April 28, 2011, by :