As a freelance consultant and “hands on” marketer, one of the biggest obstacles I face is challenging business owners and enterprise project managers to re-think how they are doing things. It is the reason I always advocate for my clients to talk to a few people or firms before hiring me. I want them to have an educated point of view from which to make decisions.
Yes, I am that confident in what I do.
Remember, firms are useful for offering large scale marketing and SEO, they are not all that great at actually providing it. In order for them to comply with huge demands, they need to have a number of different people working on one client’s account. I know, because they sometimes hire me for tasks. This kind of digital marketing lacks any “personal” touch or investment from the employee if there is no designated middle person. And, even then this can change often.
Depending on the brand this can be a good or bad thing. It can create the risk of a negative social media campaign or loss of reputation when the brand decides to go elsewhere.
There is a huge difference between a Digital Marketing firm, an Inbound Marketer, SEO expert, SMM and a Virtual Assistant, even though people often confuse them.
Let’s look at a typical example of a proposition I received from a not so enlightened potential client.
A project manager had one client with 6 different products and services all running under one corporate brand. The website and social media set and ready to go, the branding was already incorporated and it should have been an easy task for a seasoned inbound marketing professional like myself.
Let’s get down to the specifics of why I decided not to jump on this offer.
Each product was closely related, but different and sold in two totally separate industries. One industry blog was doing relatively well, the other, not so great. The firm asked me to focus efforts on the one product that had the biggest ROI and just “upkeep” the other two. The project manager’s assessment here was that the social media or blog writing was not converting well and he did not want to invest a great deal of time in it because in the end “the numbers” don’t add up.
Through asking questions and investigating a little further I realized the only reason the other blogs were not working as well was because they are using a very “selling” tone to create the content. This is not very interesting and/or suitable for most marketing situations. To make matters worse, the social media they have been implementing was not engaging and simply was about scheduling posts. No wonder they aren’t having success, they are not doing it properly, they are using Social Media for one purpose only, to enhance SEO!
SEO has been saved from the grave because of social media, but it is killing the buzz.
With a few adjustments to the content and a bit more engagements, I explained that they would have a much better ROI or at least obtain a few more “followers.” He agreed, but said, “If you really want to get down to it, the clientèle that we are reaching for this product are large buying companies that only use search engines to find products so we are just focusing on SEO for now.”
Really? Apparently, they are the only business in the world that has one type of buyer and the only marketing firm that I have ever known that focused on reaching one market for 6 entirely different products and expect to have a good ROI just from organic search alone. While SEO might not be dead, someone forgot to check the memo on how important reputation is for Google ranking in this company.
It did not matter to them that the client’s individual products were not getting the service they deserved, only that the numbers they provided to the client justify the means of the money they were spending. This is the reality of many digital marketing firms and it is killing small companies that refuse to work in this manner.
Fixing this situation would have meant adjusting the original plan a little to be more creative and flexible for each product, adding a bit more effort to refocus the blog and target some additional markets on social media to see if there are other buyers that the company should be tapping into. There was not much convincing him of doing that. That very fact was solidified when he simply said, “Well the marketing plan is already set so we are moving forward with it can you do the job or not?”
On that note, Houston we have a problem!
Do you know what is wrong with this scenario I asked him? He challenged me and said, why don’t you enlighten me? So – I did!
While it may sound somewhat arrogant on my part, sometimes you have to draw your own line in the sand to remain loyal to yourself and your own brand.
Marketing is a team effort and even as a free lance, you are a team member. If you are not going to be treated and respected as a trained professional, there is no point taking the job because it will only frustrate you working for someone who has different goals than you do and who may not be as experienced or knowledgeable as you.
I proceeded to say to him, “While you can apply the strategy that you have to the main blog, it is not working for the other blogs because you have planned your entire marketing based on the brand or client and not on each individual product. You have one plan for 6 entirely separate products reaching one single target market, how do you expect me to succeed in getting more business? His reply,”we already tried social media, it didn’t work.” To which of course I said, “It did not work because it was not being done properly, but I can fix that” “Well, that doesn’t matter anymore this is how we have decided to proceed with all of our clients. SEO content is all we want. We provide them with a plan and one person to handle the plan so we do not have to chase after them.”
Houston, my gasket is about to blow!
And on that note, I knew that this job had imploded right before my eyes.
If you accept a job knowing full well that you are providing “less than desirable” results, you not only affect your own brand but you affect the brands associated with yours. It is a small world after all and we are all connected. Make sure to keep your part of it clean and free from clients who think they are more experienced.
The one wireframe method is great for design, not so great for marketing. You need to be flexible and creative.