Running A Business Is Challenging, Don’t Make It Impossible.
Startups and small businesses–whether B2B or B2C–are usually run by do-it-yourself style people. They are hard working, proud individuals that know their business. For most, their business is 24/7, even if the operating hours are 9-5. While, this isn’t a bad thing, it doesn’t lend itself well for DIY marketing.
I’m reminded of an article by JD David, where he tells this story: A marketer walks into a hedge fund manager’s office, marketing deck in one hand, laptop in the other. The portfolio manager says to him, “I don’t need help building marketing materials. I can do it myself.” The marketer asks for his keyboard and mouse. “You mind if I take a rip at the portfolio?” Perplexed, the portfolio manager stutters, “Um, huh? What in the world do you know about trading?” To which the marketer responds, “Absolutely nothing. What do you know about marketing?”
You see, the biggest drawback to working in the marketing industry, is that everyone thinks they can do it. I bet that many of you reading this, probably have thought you could as well. That’s not to say that you can’t, but that you shouldn’t. Yes, I know, marketing isn’t rocket science (and I know what rocket science is, having grown up in the city that gave birth to NASA), but, nonetheless, it is a science and an art.
As John Follis states in a 2012 article entitled, “5 Reasons Why Do-It-Yourself Marketing Can Actually Hurt Your Business,” there are several reasons why, if you aren’t trained in the discipline, you shouldn’t do-it-yourself (and don’t take these personally):
- You don’t know what you don’t know: Successful marketing doesn’t come from reading a book. Successful marketing comes from having a proven track record of success through a wholistic understanding of all sub-disciplines, and corresponding strategies.
- It’s harder to be objective: Effective marketing begins with an unbiased perspective. Business blemishes must be seen clearly and because passionate business owners are absorbed by their business, they usually lack this objectivity.
- It’s not about a system or formula: A cookie-cutter, systematic approach is not the most effective way to market a business or product. What works for one may not work for you. Your marketing should be customized to your objectives, products/services, competitive landscape, etc. If your business is different from others, shouldn’t your marketing be as well?
- Marketing requires talent: Marketing is a science and an art. Business owners have a tendency to overlook or undervalue the creative aspects of persuasion.
- DIY doesn’t really save money: Just because you are not paying someone for marketing doesn’t mean it’s saving you money. Your time is valuable. You have to factor your own opportunity costs into the equation. Every minute that you spend trying to learn marketing, you’re doing something that is costing you money. You’re taking away time and resources from something that you do do well.
Additionally, DIY business owners have a tendency to put their eggs in one basket at a time. That is, they make the mistake of utilizing individual tactics rather than an integrated campaign. For example, it’s not about trying radio, then direct mail, then email to see which one works; rather it’s using them all concurrently and smartly to effectively get your message in front of your customers. Further, it requires the inter-relationship understanding of marketing tactics to elicit the desired results.
Owning your own business is challenging, especially in today’s world. Don’t make the mistake of trying to take up the challenge all by yourself. Outsourcing to qualified and experienced marketers can help identify your best path to engaging with your customers.