My first grade twins recently incubated and hatched over a dozen baby chicks in their school classrooms. For those of you who remember this phase of life, it’s tender, innocent and enlightening all at once.
In a short period of time, your children grasp big concepts like birth, maturation, life and death. They understand why and how God’s creatures need to be cared for and just as important, how to care for them. Their imagination is sparked with excitement as questions and revelations emerge.
Each day my kids came home armed with new facts — something unique or special about the incubation process. They’d say, “Dad, today the chick formed wings…” or “Dad, I saw the membrane inside the shell with a special light the teacher held up to the egg.”
But perhaps my favorite question came from my son when he said, “Dad, do you know what an egg tooth is and what it’s used for?” I looked at him quizzically and said, “No…I don’t.” I was officially stumped by my 7 year old. He explained that the egg tooth is a small, sharp, tooth that forms on the chick’s beak and eventually falls off. It’s used to tear through the egg’s surface during hatching. He told me that the egg tooth punctures little holes in the shell, called ‘pips’, which help chicks breathe for the first time.
While I’ve learned many lessons from my children, this one was particularly interesting to me. It was relevant, not just to the circle of life, but also to my profession in marketing communications. You see, I came to realize that marketers also need an ‘egg tooth’ to help them successfully hatch ideas.
An egg tooth is a person inside an agency or marketing-driven organization that knows how to implement big ideas – not just conceive them. They tend to be linear, vertical thinkers, hyper-focused on developing the blueprint for an implementation strategy and executing against it flawlessly.
Unfortunately, we work in an industry where too much emphasis is placed upfront, at the beginning of the communications process, when research is designed, target audiences are identified, strategies are formulated and ideas are incubated (but not hatched) and not enough weight is placed on the latter half of the process — identifying the tools and methodology required to successfully launch ideas in a complex and atomized marketing landscape.
In the digital world, my egg tooth is the Project Manager or Producer – the individual who understands how to turn vision into reality and hatch ideas in a landscape that changes daily, or even hourly. But I’ve also worked with stellar Account Managers who serve the same function. It’s not important what title or label the egg tooth carries within your organization. Rather, it’s more important that you identify these individuals and ignite them, empower them and enable them to succeed at all times.
Remember, the egg tooth is the difference between having a good idea and successfully launching a good idea for your clients. He or she enables you to breathe life into a concept — not just celebrate it. An egg tooth provides you with tight, cogent methodical implementation plans that help launch and sustain ideas over time.
Unfortunately, too often the smallest but most important details are forgotten and this is one of them. So, if you’re a marketer, the next time you meet with your agency ask if you can be introduced to the egg tooth when they present you with the big idea. It’ll be the difference between having a great idea and successfully launching it.