Marchand--Digital Investments - Production vs. Client Comm.
Golden Gate Opportunities
I'll use my small marketing company to provide an example. We're located in San Francisco's Multimedia Gulch, just a few miles north of the Silicon Valley and purportedly the epicenter of innovation in the world of digital communications technology and content: the Internet, telecom, video, CD, print—in all their combinations and permutations.
Sometimes the location makes me feel that I have my finger on the pulse of innovation, especially as it affects marketing for companies in the printing industry. Other times I think our presence in San Francisco is only of limited relevance to the work done by my firm or any other business that makes significant use of digital technology.
We've had a network, a LAN, since the late '80s. Internet access and e-mail were brought to the desk and home of every single employee more than six years ago. Our Web site has been up for almost as long. Not bad for a small firm with hardly more than a handful of employees.
Does our location in the Gulch have much to do with our use of technology? Perhaps we're earlier adopters than we would be if we were located in some other setting, but not necessarily. I recently encountered an ad agency located in Montana and a marketing firm in Oklahoma. Neither serve clients in industries that are early adopters, yet both are making sophisticated use of digital communications.
Is my firm's work better because of our use of digital communications? In some areas, the answer is an unambiguous yes. We work with clients in geographically remote locations, all across the United States and abroad in Europe and Asia. In a few days we'll do our first video conference. Our perspective has been changed by this—broadened and deepened—making us undoubtedly better at strategic thinking for our clients.