With thousands and thousands of digital marketing companies big and small alike, freelancers and “we can do it also types” InfoTech companies mushrooming across India, one cannot help but stop and ask – Is this such a cheap and easily available skill set. Business owners are mobbed by email pitches every day telling them “you do not know how to grow your business” but “I know what you should do to grow your business” and effectively there is at least a couple of decades of gap in the experience levels between them.
Chances are, the one sending the email offering the service would possibly have about a couple of years of experience or just starting a new career, would know nothing about your business; best chances are he or she is a business development guy who has seen your website and recommends that optimizing your website for search engines can make you the millions that you have been craving for the last 3 years. The irony is 10 out of 100 “leaders” believe that this is the magic formula they haven’t been able to crack and adopt these so called magic services. A little wiser leaders do it to “let us experiment and see if this digital thing actually works”
The problem lies therein, how can business owners actually manage to use years of wisdom to believe that business results actually come cheap (sometimes, I have heard business owners telling me 25,000 Indian rupees is all it takes to drive business results through digital marketing, some other guy pitched me and I think I should go with him).
I ask them one question, why do you then think you need to pay business development “gurus” so much, put in a little more in the magic pot and write an application to the HRD in India to shut down all the “marketing education” shops because everyone today knows marketing, be it an engineer, an undergrad, or probably has not completed school, someone who has never heard of Kotler or someone who does not know the difference between advertising, marketing and branding. Open up a parental counselling desk at your offices and start counselling the parents to never ever think that there is something called marketing education. Yes, that was a little emotional overload, but bear with me and think through logically for once.
People actually spend years in specialized schools learning marketing, people spend years further learning the science of marketing working in companies, they acquire the art of marketing and if you were to measure them up; most likely they are the best paying jobs in the world although with the greatest visibility and risk. Then why do you tend to kindle your “save me a penny” inspiration from deep within to justify and believe that “cheap services” can do the trick for you.
And, this is where you need to understand that probably the person sending you the email is not entirely wrong on his or her part. What he or she is confident about and selling is one skill set, probably understands how to use a platform necessary for performing one the jobs within the spectrum of digital marketing. And, he or she believes that is the end of world, and that is the magic you need. Let’s wake up, it is not that simple; otherwise we would have had digital marketers taking over your companies by now.
The first step you need to take and the first thing you need to understand about digital marketing is one simple fact; it is no different from marketing the way we have known for years. Only that this “Marketing” is executed through platforms that people access online; and it is a specialized skill-set best left for experts to manage. And, that is it. Just knowing the facts about Social media or having your own social accounts does not make you a good marketer.
To drive success you need marketers, business analysts, data scientists, communication specialists, design and creative consultants (no, don’t be overwhelmed – a lot of them are already there within your product team, your customer service teams, your business development teams, you as a leader is a source of great information). Would you not need them if you were to market on other channels, or would you feel confident sending the guy who has sent you the pitch to offer you SEO services to go meet your critical prospect and bring you a closure? Before you take the liberty to decide if digital is relevant for your business and does digital work for your business talk to people who know marketing and also have the expertise, experience and demonstrable experience to use digital platforms instead of “let’s take a small risk and see how it goes”. It’s otherwise unfair on you, your probable customers and on the one who is providing you the service. Great results don’t come cheap.