Consulting Versus Selling Products In The Digital Age

Connecting the community, as influencers.

Nowadays everyone refers to themselves as digital marketers. It’s the latest buzzword being thrown around; but what does digital marketer really mean?

The common definition is:

“The marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers. The key objective is to promote brands through various forms of digital media.”

Digital marketing encompasses SEM, content strategy, social media marketing, SEO, community management, even web design (from a user experience perspective) and even selling products in the digital age. To the average business owner, this can be quite overwhelming. All these buzzwords wrapped in another buzzword only to be partnered with other trendy buzzwords. “I’m a digital marketer that disrupts your market by engaging people using popular hashtags relevant to your target audience on Instagram.”

Sounds fancy, right? As a small or medium-size business owner that could very well sound like a bunch of hogwash. Lots of digital marketers are good at selling products as services rather than offering a solid strategy to boost your brand. Here’s an example: you’re approached by a “digital agency” that wants to set you up a Twitter account and promises to deliver lots of followers. They call it their “Twitter package.” Not once do they ask you about your target market, who your current customer is, or what methods you already use to gain customers. They just offer you an awesome Twitter account, because that’s what modern businesses have these days. They are selling social media as a products in the digital age. It’s usually cheap and, in most cases, worthless.

Consultants who believe in strategy, go about things differently. They should discuss your target market, examine any web analytic that could offer insights to hidden customers, and delve into what strategies are currently working for you. This helps to build an individualized campaign strategy. Maybe Twitter is not the best option for your company. You might be a better candidate for pay-per-click advertising in conjunction with running a newsletter campaign. They might find that you need to be on Pinterest, and focusing on that platform, along with Instagram, would have the highest ROI potential.

Selling Products In The Digital Age

Thinking in terms of campaigns and strategies is the best way to approach marketing, whether it be digital or traditional. As a business owner you need to ask why a strategy is being proposed. “What is Twitter going to do for me?” The consultant should be able to immediately answer this question by pointing at data they’ve uncovered. Digital marketing is not a one-size-fits-all practice. Keep in mind it is up to you to know who your customer is, who you want them to be, and how much it currently costs you to attain them. A digital agency will need to know this from the very first meeting, and there should be zero selling in that initial exploratory meeting. As the owner, you need to drive the conversation.

It’s easy to be tempted into working with amateurs because of lower price points, but lower price points do not necessarily heed results.

Remember these tips:

1. Always ask questions. Why are you proposing this solution? What do you hope this will do for my business? How long will it take to see results?

2. Get the agency’s expectations in writing. Digital marketing may not be an exact science, but having goals written down will keep everyone on task.

3. Remember the adage: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. No reputable agency is going to offer free work or a one month trial. Most campaigns take at least three months, if not six, to produce some results.

4. Talking to multiple agencies before settling with one is probably a good idea, unless someone has been recommended.

If you are not happy with your current digital strategy or lack one, please don’t hesitate to contact us