I think I’ve finally figured it out… With 20 years of experience in my chosen profession as a marketing writer, I can’t seem to get anything through the approval process with my department head without much pain, suffering, and pulling of hair. Today, I received a clue.
In his world, everything is black or white, no two things can overlap or be a shade of gray, every action must come at its specified point in the process, and at each point in the process he can play only a specific role. Therefore, he can only discuss marketing messages at point A, product content at point B, and word choice at point C. Therefore, even though he is the one person who supposedly possesses unique knowledge of all three, he can’t shift between roles as needed in single meeting.
So, he can’t look at a draft (or outline) and assess whether its marketing message is on or off target, because he’s wearing his product knowledge hat, etc. If he failed to provide us the correct marketing message at the correct point in the process, there is no going back to get it now. If we foolishly chose a marketing message because it was appropriate to our audience, the form of communication, and the goal of the project, it will inevitably be the wrong one but he won’t tell us. We must trudge forward without it, but then when we get to the word choice part of the process, he’ll point out that we failed to address the marketing message. EVEN THOUGH ALL OF THESE THINGS WERE IN THE CURRENT VERSION OF THE DRAFT HE WAS REVIEWING. He just wasn’t wearing that particular hat when he reviewed it.
ARGH! It’s worse than playing one of those old text-based role-playing games on the TRS-80. You keep bumping into walls because you can’t see what’s in the freakin’ room until you remember to ask if there happens to be a lightbulb in the room, and if it works, and if it can be turned on, and ask would you pretty please TURN ON THE DAMN LIGHT?!