Every now and then I’m talking with someone and they mention that they sort of miss the old days of marketing. They miss being able to know that their marketing was running through a small number of channels or media.

They miss being able to manage all of their marketing programs through just a handful of places and people: the newspaper, the TV, the radio, and maybe one or two other things.

The Web exploded that simplicity and exchanged it for a myriad of methods and marketing opportunities. The comparative low cost and the ability to measure is great. But the complexity of managing everything is immense.

It’s only getting worse. Social media, the latest of the round of Internet-driven communication innovations, is exceptionally fragmented. Almost down to the individual person. There are platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. There are content-driven apps like Flickr or Instagram or YouTube or Vimeo. There are things that are partway between platform and app, like Twitter or Tumblr.

Distributing messages to all the relevant locations can often take as much time as crafting the message to begin with. Which is why I was so excited to play with a new beta tool called If This Then That (IFTTT, for short).

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