Going back to school looks a little different this year, with many kids learning remotely for at least a few weeks. However, one of the best parts of returning remains unchanged: new supplies. Reminiscing about our favorite childhood supplies (and sharing some adorable photos of our young selves) got the Aker Ink team thinking about the tools we currently find indispensable — as well as the interesting parallels between old school and new.

  • Trapper Keeper vs. Outlook task list — As nifty as those three-ring binders were with their Velcro closures and dividers that kept all class assignments separated and easy to find, they eventually fell apart and had to be replaced. Outlook’s task list lives on forever in the cloud, not only displaying every task, but also allowing users to sort by category/client, deadline and status. The ability to assign color codes ups its fun factor, but not as much as the kittens, unicorns or race cars our Trapper Keepers sported.Winner: Outlook task list, partially because three of our team members are too young to remember Trapper Keepers.
  • Glitter gel pens vs. graphic design platforms — Our Lisa Frank pens were indispensable for livening up notes taken on lectures (as well as ones passed to our friends), but they eventually let us down when they ran out of ink. Today, we use tools like InDesign, Canva and Photoshop to add color and interest to client communications.Winner: Graphic design platforms, hands down. Their versatility enables us to do much more than the pens.
  • Planners vs. scheduling software — Planners helped us keep track of extracurricular activities, school functions and other events, and some (OK, one) of us even had a Franklin Planner (to be clear, it was in college. I’m not THAT old!). They were great for keeping track of our own lives, but now that we plan and schedule social media calendars on multiple channels for many clients, we’re grateful to have Hootsuite, HubSpot and other tools to keep it all straight.Winner: Scheduling software for sure. It makes our lives so much easier!
  • Notebooks vs. email marketing/CRM databases — Sure, we used notebooks and college-ruled paper for taking notes, but much of it really went into making cootie catchers, playing MASH and creating intricately folded notes to pass to our friends. Modern email marketing platforms like HubSpot and Mailchimp allow us to quickly compile and send slick newsletters and other communications to thousands of people at once — something that definitely would have earned us detention back in the day.Winner: Email marketing/CRM. We still get excited about a fresh notebook or legal pad, but besides being more efficient, these platforms are better for the environment.
  • Dictionaries vs. Power Thesaurus — We were (and still are) word nerds, so of course we loved using a dictionary or better yet, a thesaurus. We still use Microsoft Word’s thesaurus daily, but thanks to the Internet, there are better ones available online. Power Thesaurus is our favorite not only while writing blogs, speeches and other communications, but also when brainstorming product names not already taken by pharmaceutical companies.Winner: Power Thesaurus, no question. It’s faster and doesn’t require a chiropractic adjustment from carrying it in a backpack all day.
  • Calculators vs. Google Analytics — Truthfully, our young selves weren’t all that excited about calculators because most of us are right brain dominant. However, there’s no question that calculators made our lives easier. Now that we appreciate numbers a little more, we love using Google Analytics to measure how well our campaigns are performing. Clients particularly enjoy the insight we provide thanks to this valuable tool.Winner: Google Analytics is infinitely more useful than parabolas and slope intercepts to us. 

In the meantime, Aker Ink would love to help your company make the most of these newer technologies for marketing automation and social media. Let’s discuss how we can take your marketing communications efforts to the next level!