Tools for Marketing Tools

One of my favorite print ad headlines for a new, more powerful Macintosh computer read, “So you’re a hack. Now you’ll be a much faster hack.”

While a Mac won’t make you more creative, it is a wonderful tool. You could argue that it allows you to get things done quicker allowing more time for creative thinking. Sounds good, anyway. Here at Torque, we use the same equipment, programs and “tools” that most other creative shops use—Filemaker Pro, Excel, Word, Keynote, PowerPoint and the Adobe Suite.

While most of these tools get incrementally better with each upgrade, they are all basically the same products they were five years ago—yet there has been a profound change in how we leverage them. Though the functions haven’t fundamentally changed (although there are more bells and whistles), the shift is in what we can do on the go.

While I still do creative work, a good bit more of my time is spent managing. For the last several years, I’ve been concepting and directing so many broadcast spots and videos that I’ve had to seek non-desktop tools to help me with the process while away from the office.

The tools I use on a regular basis help me concept  , plan and direct spots live on my iPad and iPhone. These apps help me with everything from drawing to tracking the sun. Here is my go-to arsenal:

Quick Concepting. With Sketchbook Pro, I can create and send storyboard images anywhere, anytime. I use Adobe Ideas to photograph and/or import images upon which I can draw. And both allow me to share with collaborators. I upload images to the cloud or email them directly. No more drawing on paper, scanning and deciding the best way to get it to your computer.

Location Scouting and Directing. Google Maps and Earth are wonderful but Sun Surveyor rules. Sure the sun always sets in the west, but this app will pinpoint the where and when. It will tell me for instance, that the sun will set behind a water tower at 7:56 pm. There are lots of camera and video apps that are better, but I find the standard camera app that comes with my phone is easy to access quickly and it stores all of my images and footage in one place.

Weather. We do tons of outdoor still and video shoots which means we live and die by the weather—so the more precise, the better. The Wunderground app is great for general forecasting. RadarScope is a super quick way to get active radar and Dark Sky will tell you just how long you have before the rain starts and how long it will last. Authentic Weather isn’t that accurate but there’s something really funny about a weather app that says “It’s f____ing raining now.”


Which brings me to Humor—I’m convinced that’s the most important tool in the business! Do you have favorite tools or apps that help you get things done on the go? I’d love to hear about them—weigh in with your two cents below.

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