What if your doctor had never heard of AIDS?
As I hope you are aware, I am more than happy to accept submissions from my readers. The following is a contribution (and subsequent translation) from Gregory Pouy, who goes by @gregfromparis on Twitter. Please, if you have something you would like to share, don’t hesitate to contact me on Facebook or Twitter!
What if your doctor had never heard about AIDS?
I know that this question seems completely absurd. Who would want to see a doctor who had never heard of AIDS? We know very well that doctors have a duty to stay abreast of treatments and diseases for their patients. A friend of mine, who is a doctor, once said: “We doctors must update our knowledge at least every seven years. We have to re-learn everything we thought we already knew. Without doing this everything becomes obsolete!”
At this point, you ought to look yourself in the mirror, yes you, Communications/Marketing professional, and ask yourself: “When was the last time I’ve read a communications or marketing book? When did I last try to update my skill set?” How many professionals working in communications and marketing are still using what they learned in grad school as their principal point of reference? Do you do this? And yet, as communications professionals, we all know that our profession changes rapidly, especially in the age of web 2.0.
I remember in 2006, when I was working in telecommunications, mentioning to my colleagues that I read sociology books and marketing books while on vacation. They looked at me as though I had lost my mind. I couldn’t even mention my blog, which they considered to be a colossal waste of time.
I don’t mean to suggest that everything has changed since when you were studying marketing in business school. Indeed, I am convinced that many “older” practices of communications and marketing are still very relevant. However, in 2010, it would be impossible to do what we’re doing without a bit of an update. What I find most exciting about marketing is the “real-time” aspect of it, and I think that well-educated professionals should use their education as a base, while constantly renewing their knowledge with recent publications. When marketers try to address a problem by using tactics from 10-20 years ago we know that the job will not be well done. As marketing and communications professionals we owe it to our clients to keep our expertise up-to-date. To put it another way: “What if your hairdresser was still trying to give you ‘The Rachel’?”