Digital Marketing – Complex vs. Simple Solutions

Digital marketing can be an extremely complex field. It can also be amazingly simple and straight forward. So, why make something complex instead of simple? The question almost answers itself when you consider that one solution vs. another doesn’t live in a vacuum. It is based on the needs of your budget, business, industry, resources, and goals. If these elements are not factored in when creating a digital marketing solution, you can quickly end up with something complicated and unworkable that doesn’t serve your best interest.

A Business Story…

Allow me to illustrate with a business story that isn’t related to digital marketing. My own business life involves a lot of diverse areas both inside and outside of digital marketing. I recently attended a seminar and, as a result, signed up for legal and business advisory service.

The company asked me to fill out a detailed questionnaire and submit any other pertinent information I thought was relevant to a consultation I would receive later in the month. On the day of the call, I spoke with one of their consultants. He asked me to pull out a piece of paper and draw a diagram with him. In about 30 minutes, he mapped out an extremely complex legal structure with huge tax and legal implications and suggested this become how I organize my business.

For over 30 minutes, I felt like all the advice was very generic. It wasn’t based on MY business needs. It was a standard approach delivered in a canned pitch that this company uses for everyone. I didn’t feel like the consultant had looked at MY questionnaire or any supporting documents I had sent over before the call. I had seen this same legal structure presented on the company’s YouTube channel, which of course, was generic advice that wasn’t tailored to anyone specific but used as an illustration of what you could do if the situation warranted it.

I gently pointed out through the call that some of the approaches he was suggesting seemed overly complicated for my situation. He quickly dismissed most of my concerns and offered up many examples as to why THIS was the ideal solution for me. He presented scenarios that seemed possible but highly improbable for my specific situation. In the end, I was offered an upsell to a costly service that I ultimately declined. I felt like I had wasted a lot of time completing questionnaires, documents, and talking to someone that was not interested in my personal goals and outcomes as much as their own.

Canned Digital Marketing Solutions

I have seen digital marketing services, websites, and software sold the same way. A client inquires about a possible service from an agency or consultant. He or she is asked to complete a detailed questionnaire and presented with an extraordinarily complicated or generic solution that ignores the client’s questionnaires and needs but is excellent for the consultant if  the mark  customer buys it.

Every single digital marketing solution should be unique. While some of the principles, software, and strategies used in digital marketing may be the same from one client to the next, the way those items are assembled and applied to YOUR business are unique to you.

Unfortunately, most digital marketing and, apparently, business services get sold the same way. Agencies use canned approaches and solutions either because that is all they know or because they don’t care about your outcomes. Either way, you are getting the short end of the stick because you are working with the wrong provider.

I have come across many  one-trick ponies   sales sleazes   order takers   digital marketers that offer up a template website with some of your information slapped into individual boxes and a logo pasted up in the corner. The template was probably purchased for $40 and assembled in about an hour; this is not a custom website.

Sadly, you are charged as if it was customized to your specific needs. It isn’t unique, effective, or workable, but is merely the easiest and quickest way of giving you a website or digital marketing strategy that moves money from your wallet to theirs while not delivering anything of real value.

Sometimes these overpriced digital trash piles are incredibly complex, challenging to maintain, and impractical, but it creates a great revenue stream for the consultant who profits by continuously offering service and upgrades. You end up paying a bunch of money upfront for something that isn’t useful, and you also get the privilege of paying for it repeatedly each month thereafter.

Real Digital Marketing Consultants

An experienced and thoughtful digital marketing consultant should collect information ahead of time about your needs. When they come to present, they should demonstrate they understand the information presented ahead of time. They should be able to ask thoughtful questions and solicit input from you.

When they begin to articulate a solution, it should be as complex or simple as necessary to meet the project’s goals. You should feel like they heard your concerns, and the solution presented is easy to understand and has proven metrics for how it will be judged successful. Here is a brief list of items, not in any particular order, every digital marketer should consider in your project before presenting a solution…

  • Budget
  • Audience
  • Company Resources
  • Business Goals
  • Measurable Metrics
  • Long Term Costs
  • Potential Issues & Solutions
  • KPI (Key Performance Indicators)
  • Ongoing Maintenance

You should hear your concerns and goals carefully articulated back to you when the consultant presents a solution. You should feel validated and listened to. Most importantly, you should be able to completely understand what you are going to get for your investment.

It shouldn’t feel like you are buying the flux capacitor from Back to the Future where you don’t understand every other word the consultant says. On the contrary, it should be so simple to understand that it can be articulated in a single sentence.

If you don’t understand what you are about to buy and how it will solve a specific business problem you have right now, you are about to buy a waste of money and a headache that is more beneficial to the consultant than you.

If you feel like you have purchased one of these canned monstrosities or don’t understand what you bought or are being sold, run. Then call a real digital marketing consultant that knows how to work for you and your best interest.


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