Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of presenting How Not to Fail at Social Media at the 2012 ARC World Industry Forum. During the question and answer period following the presentation, one of the audience members asked me, “This all sounds great. How do I get started?”
My answer went something like this: “Well, it’s a really hard answer to give in 30 or 60 seconds. A proper approach requires the development of several different strategies, including business strategy, keyword strategy, content strategy, promotion strategy, etc…”
His good-natured retort was “Spoken like a true consultant.”
I understand why he said that and it made me chuckle. As a consultant, it’s logical for people to assume that I would try to make something more complicated than it needs to be. I get that. But I’m a stickler for proper planning, especially when it comes to inbound marketing. Without good planning and making sure all of the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed, you end up with partial inbound marketing.
Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance
Let’s think about some other conversations that may go similarly:
“How do I put an addition on my house?”
“Well, it requires an architectural design, city permits, heavy equipment, etc…”
“Spoken like a true contractor.”
“Should I represent myself in court?”
“Well, there are real dangers and risks involved with that.”
“Spoken like a true lawyer.”
I think that the roots of these kinds of responses are a feeling that someone is trying to tell you that you’re not capable of doing something. In most cases, that’s not what the consultant or contractor or lawyer are telling you. Really, they’re saying “Sure you could figure this out on your own and I could probably give you a few tips to get you pointed in the right direction. But very few things in life go exactly according to plan and there’s simply no way to anticipate every situation. I’d feel badly if I gave you advice not knowing the whole picture and having it turn out to lead you to a bad result.”
Other factors include the ramp-up time and learning on the job. Any new endeavor takes time to learn. Including someone with experience obviously accelerates that process. And then there are the inevitable bumps and scrapes that come along with trying something new. These tend to add even more time and cost to the process.
Ode to My Former Boss
Early in my career I had the good fortune to work for a family friend and mentor (Louis Tacito) who taught me many valuable lessons that I still use today. One of his favorite allegories involved an old bull and a young bull sitting on the top of a hill. They were looking down at a herd of cows and the young bull said, “Hey, let’s run down there and grab us one of them cows!” The old bull looked at him and said, “Let’s walk down and get them all.”
I think the role of a good internet marketing consultant is to make sure you get all of the cows.