The Secret Marketer fears the digital age has led to sloppiness


So far it’s been a super-fast start to 2012, though not as fast as I ended last year. Back to work this week to find a speeding ticket on my desk. For going 37 in a 30 zone. Oh well, at least I wasn’t caught stealing cheese and wine from my local Tesco like chef Antony Worrall Thompson.

A few of my brand team are still on festive leave while the others who are back at work look as though they’re still on festive leave. I’m now having to do a good impression of caretaker brand manager on their various projects. It’s rather like a trip down memory lane as I attempt to check and sign off packaging artwork to ensure we stay on schedule.

The design agency keep sending me email after email with latest versions of the artwork. I can’t keep up, not to mention print anything in a size I can read without a magnifying glass. Whatever happened to those days when they would courier over one proper full-size run-out that you could scribble on and send back with comments? At least that way they checked it properly themselves before they sent it. I fear that the digital age has led to process sloppiness, though I have no proof.

A few of my team are still on festive leave while the others who are back look as though they’re still on leave

The truth is my artwork paranoia is borne out of a troubled past. They say you should learn from your mistakes and I had to learn the hard way. I’d like my team to avoid the same trauma and not print two different packs with the same barcode. Yes, that happened to me, and sadly I didn’t notice until I got home from the print run. Ouch.

I feared for my job after that incident and was fortunate that there was also a packaging originations manager involved in the faux pas so I could rely on contributory negligence as my get-out-of-jail card.

If truth be told, I was actually saved by a very forgiving boss who said it was all part of the learning curve for a young marketing trainee. I later found out that he’d made a similar cock-up in his youth. I was a lucky boy.

Based on our latest trading results, I doubt I’d be as forgiving if the same were to happen with one of my team. Memo to all readers unfortunate enough to be on print-run duty: take a barcode scanner with you; check the pack scans properly; and, more importantly, check the barcode number is the right one. What sort of idiot wouldn’t check that, hey? Don’t join the club!

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