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Dangers of DIY marketing

So there I was, on my hands and knees round the back of the fridge with the plumber. I’d spotted a leak and called in a chap I’d used before.

He’s quick, clean, courteous and cheap and so his details are kept in my G.A.L.M.I. file – Get A Little Man In. My G.A.L.M.I. file contains the details of tradespeople I’m happy to use because they’ve proven themselves to be reliable, honest and good value.

There’s also a G.A.L.M.I. file for photographers, web designers, video makers, artists, printers etc… who have skills and abilities that I don’t… whose services I call on from time to time to help with projects I’m undertaking for clients.

Y’see, I know and am not embarrassed to admit my limitations and am happy to call in other specialists where needed. If you need marketing, PR or sales campaigns, I’m your man. But my photography skills are confined to holiday snaps… I can write sizzling content for a website but haven’t a clue how to actually build one… you get the idea…

We probably all have our equivalent of a G.A.L.M.I. file because we know a good tradesperson/professional  is hard to find and when we find one, we hang on to them. We trust them to do the work that we know we are not skilled to do. We understand that some things are better left to people who have the qualifications and experience and actually know what they’re doing.

So why do so many businesses managers not apply the G.A.L.M.I.  principle to their marketing? Unless they’ve passed the exams and got the qualifications, most business managers simply don’t understand what marketing is or what it does. But they think they do! So they give it a go. And then they’re surprised and don’t understand what went wrong when their efforts fail.

So… to any manager who is tempted to try marketing for themselves, my message is: Don’t. It’s like handing overt the future success of your business to someone who hasn’t as clue. If you’d call in a professional to fix the pipes or mend your car, why would you not call in a professional to improve and grow your business?

Comments (40)

Philip says:
November 24, 2015 at 10:05 am Reply

Darren Bugg, Chairman, Yorkshire Managers. Leeds:
Very interesting article Philip. I have mixed feelings about what you have written. On the one hand, I actually do a lot of training work myself on the subject of DIY marketing – especially for charities and the not-for-profit sector where they simply do not have any money to pay for marketing professionals. But on the other hand, I totally agree with you that it’s better to pay for a marketing professional if you can afford to do so.

Philip says:
August 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm Reply

Philip J Gwynne, The NAKED Marketing Company:
@ David: Sadly, you’re right about the marketing consultants who seek to blind would-be clients with pseudo-science. Also lawyers, accountants, financial advisors and other “smoke and mirrors” professions whose credo seems to be: You won’t understand this but we do, which is why we can charge you outrageous fees.
It’s the reason I chose to make all our work and interactions open and transparent. It’s why we’re called The NAKED Marketing Company. (And before wiser counsel prevailed, I was going to call the business “Marketing Without The Bullshit”!)

Philip says:
August 4, 2014 at 1:08 pm Reply

David Buchanan, Account Manager at Caspa Marketing and Advertising, Preston:
I think every marketer worth their salt will have a similar experience of someone who thinks they get marketing, then go on to prove, as marketing experts, they are very good at making widgets. It’s up to us to identify which people want widgets and why then show them why the widgets we make are the ones they really need.

I think there is still a bit of a culture of ‘It’s magic, you wouldn’t understand’ within marketing, especially with digital, that encourages this way of thinking. We need to be a bit more transparent so that people can see that it is a discipline that requires skill, analysis and ability not just glitter and nice crayons.

John Coldwell says:
July 29, 2014 at 3:26 pm Reply

Is there a “correct” way to measure ROI in marketing?

I’m asking because a) I’ve never had training and b) our measurements look wrong.

Last year I was in Atlanta, visiting a client, when their marketing manager showed me a spreadsheet. On it was a list of articles she’d had published in the trade press – the number of words and the number of pages. Against each entry was a dollar value – representing the amount she would have had to have paid for an advert of a similar size in that particular trade magazine.

The cumulative dollar figure was quite impressive. However, when she presented it as ROI I had my doubts, and suggested that it might be better described as cost avoided.

Fast forward to the present, and my marketing guy has shown me a couple of our figures, which look too good to be true.

1. A customer satisfaction survey for a logistics company. With our help, our client came up with potential increases in revenue of more than £700,000 based on the feedback from their customers. The project had cost them £6,000. Marketing say the ROI is 116:1.

2. A customer satisfaction survey for a chemical company. With our help, our client came up with potential increases in revenue of more than £14,500,000. In order to get the extra revenue they needed to employ an additional person in west Africa, which we are estimating as a cost of £30,000. The survey cost them a similar figure. Marketing say the ROI is 241:1.

My question is, should we be measuring the ROI against increased sales revenue, or should we be measuring it against increased profit?

We don’t know the profitability of £700,000 of extra business to a logistics company or the profitability of an extra £14.5 million to a chemical company. What should we do?

Philip says:
July 28, 2014 at 7:29 am Reply

William Shaw, Organisational Catalyst, York:
Well, virtually kicked to death by a gang of outraged marketeers. My Mum always said I would meet a sticky end. I always thought (after 25 years in IT) it would be finance people. 🙂
Let’s pause a bit here and take stock – so far no one has picked up the challenge to be paid solely on ROMI improvement. I understand this, but it also frames my earlier point quite nicely.
Specifically @Phillip – I was not trying to educate you – there is a clue to this – the post has an @martin at the top. Please accept my apologies for any confusion.
I am interested (@Philip) to see what measure you have undertaken the assignment – care to share?
@Alex – would you agree that your penultimate paragraph is almost identical to a good definition of CRM?
OK – my personal experience of measurement of my campaign, conducted over a single financial year (2011), final results over a five year period (2008-2012 inclusive):
Turnover – best year.
£ Sales per £ Marketing spend – second best year, about 10% behind.
Closing rate per enquiry – best year (double next best year). (note: enquiry rates also dropped).
There’s a couple of things I’d like to say before I get a justifiable further kicking over the lightness of these metrics.
Firstly, they were ‘marketing metrics light’ for internal use, but I was absolutely determined to at least measure something. I was not supplying my services as a third party.
Secondly, I was an internal resource with a lot of other things to like driving down the company’s

Philip says:
July 28, 2014 at 7:28 am Reply

Alex Beardsley MCIM – Chartered Marketer, Bradford:
Why do all of the seemingly interesting discussions on Linked In end up being a ‘war of words’ with individuals negatively challenging one another rather than positively contributing or discussing.
I see both sides of the argument and agree that all marketers need to have a clear focus on ROMI for marketing ‘campaigns’ but there is also a lot of ‘marketing’ that focuses on customer retention, brand building and awareness etc so as well as identifying that X product launch will cost Y and deliver a sales uplift of z, us Marketers should be looking to also measure % customer loyalty year on year, as well as increase in enquiries, sales conversion and overall profitability.
Marketing IS an investment, it is very rare that extraordinary results are seen immediately without extraordinary investment. The correct approach to marketing is to develop a customer orientated organisation where every contact, campaign and sales is aligned with the customer requirements. This involves a period of getting to know and understand the customer and the business in-depth, which often marketers are not doing, they just jump straight in trying to provide those all important ‘results’.
As a successful b2b marketer I would not be prepared to work on a results basis only because of the amount of work that is required prior to the actual delivery of the ‘campaign’. I would however accept a bonus at the end of it based on achievement of objectives.

Philip says:
July 26, 2014 at 8:30 am Reply

William Shaw, Organisational Catalyst, York:
@Martin.
There is a difference between advertising and marketing – and some of your comments refer to advertising rather than marketing.
Much of what you describe is plainly lack of diligence on behalf of those constructing the campaign (calling it a campaign may be a little dignified), and if you were to look at root causes for why you might feel the campaigns failed – try here first: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_p%27s
There is also a fair amount of observer bias (naturally) in what makes a good campaign and what makes a bad one (if you don’t measure them). I have been lucky enough to spend a total of 4 years rubbing shoulders in very close proximity to some very professional world class Marketeers, and for some of the campaigns they have constructed you may well have ‘bought’ without a second thought.
Mainly because they ‘knew’ enough about you to suggest exactly what you wanted at the time.

Philip says:
July 26, 2014 at 8:31 am Reply

Philip J Gwynne, The NAKED Marketing Company:
@ William – thank you for the “lesson” but I don’t need to be told there’s a difference between advertising and marketing. Marketing is everything you do to attract people to your goods and services. Including advertising.
But no argument about your comment: “what makes a good campaign and what makes a bad one (if you don’t measure them”.
The underlying point of this discussion was to point out the importance of getting a professional in to do your marketing. To ensure they’re properly qualified, experienced, skilled. And to see how they intend to measure ROI on their campaigns.

Philip says:
July 26, 2014 at 8:26 am Reply

Martin Hetherington, Interim Project Manager, Ossett, West Yorkshire:
I think I’ve seen the kind of responses I was expecting – basically people saying “not me Guvnor”. Yeah I get that and understand that and I’m sure there are properly run marketing campaigns with the right research etc, etc (I am a non-marketeer after all).
But I’ve seen the results of a “marketing campaign” where boxes and boxes of letters were returned undelivered because the wrong names/addresses etc were on the envelopes. Other letters were returned with comments, objects (my favourite was a slice of toast) and things smeared on them (use your imagination). Not sure we ever really knew how successful it was.
Then I’ve been asked to provide a file of customer data for a “marketing campaign” to be mail merged with no filtering or anything. When I referred to it as SPAM I was “shot down” and the argument that followed was unbelievable. The unsolicited emails our marketing director RECEIVED was SPAM but the unsolicited emails his department SENT were a marketing campaign.
Also – what about TV, magazine, billboard ads etc and who wants to talk about SPAM? I’m bombarded daily by people trying to get me to buy their product – I see very little research going into it.
So…..your industry – are the “professional marketers” outweighed by the “cowboys” or am I just unlucky and not been lucky enough to be targeted in a properly researched marketing campaign? To cut a long story short – if all someone’s going to do is mailshot the entire customer database, or put ad on TV, on a billboard or in a magazine – I think it’s easy for someone to think they can DIY.

Philip says:
July 26, 2014 at 8:27 am Reply

Philip J Gwynne, The NAKED Marketing Company:
@ Martin – Read the original article and some of the responses from professional marketers and you’ll see WE are as fed up as non-marketers at the practices of some marketing types who give the rest of us a bad name. We are often left to pick up the pieces of someone else’s marketing mismanagement (when it’s often too late to put things right) and to try and restore the reputation of our profession with the manger we’re working with.
Having a negative experience with a marketer is like being ripped off by a car mechanic who also leaves a spanner in the engine. Not only will you never use him again, you’ll tell all your associates that car mechanics are cowboys and you’ll try to fix the car yourself… until things go so badly wrong you’ll be obliged to call in a professional – or scrap the car.

Philip says:
July 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm Reply

William Shaw, Organisational Catalyst, York:
Philip, I think you are so focused on banging the drum for your own agenda you are not actually reading what I’m posting.
Re: The Plumber thing. The fact is if you have no money to do something – you have no money. It’s as simple as that. I am well aware of the arguments for professionals doing things rather than amateurs – but they are only relevant when you have a choice. And the point is that if you do need to fix a pipe, or an engine, build a website or do your own accounts you probably will not need a full suite professional qualifications and training to do it.
On the ROI thing. Absolutely. ROI is measurable as a return on marketing spend. ROMI measures it.
Which was why I was so surprised when you posted this:
”The role of the marketer is to attract people’s interest in your goods and services. The role of the business manager (i.e. you) is to convert that interest into sales. It’s not the role of marketing to do the selling for you. ”
in response to this:
”What’s my chance of finding a Marketeer who would agree to being paid on the basis of increased sales (which is the point) rather than increased inquiries – which is more directly measurable. And if neither of these two metrics are agreed – then what could you use? ”
ROMO might have answered my question – but frankly – I think ROMO is a fudge.
It must be a very hard sell to a business community solely focused on relating marketing expense to the top line, a post-2008 reality that we all need to live with.
That brings us back to ROMI – as being at least a metric a business manager would accept. Would any of the assembled Marketeers pick up an assignment where you were rewarded solely on the basis of a percentage of ROMI?

Philip says:
July 25, 2014 at 1:16 pm Reply

Philip J Gwynne, The NAKED Marketing Company:
@ William: Marketing is an investment, not an expense. I find it hard to accept that any business managers would be unwilling to invest in something that’s designed to grow their business, increase revenues and maximise profit. But- hey –if they’re happy to stay stagnant, scraping along the bottom and poor good luck to them!

Philip says:
July 26, 2014 at 8:31 am Reply

@ William – can’t speak for anyone else but I’m just about to undertake a payment by results product launch. I also give away mentoring,, experience and practical help for free. I know that other marketers do pro bono work and work with clients on what THEY want to see as a return as their investment in marketing.
Perhaps you’d share with the rest of us the ROI measures you put in place for your own work?

Philip J Gwynne, The NAKED Marketing Company says:
July 24, 2014 at 10:48 am Reply

Philip J Gwynne, The NAKED Marketing Company:
The plumber I employed (see original blog) took 2 minutes to identify the source of the leak (it was in a place I’d never have suspected) and 10 minutes to fix. Not forgetting the several years training and experience he’d gained that told him where to find the leak in the first place and fix it.
It’s the same with the AA/RAC. You’re stranded at the roadside, you spend a frustrating hour failing to find the fault, the AA/RAC man comes, opens the bonnet, touches something you didn’t even know existed, and you’re on your way in 5 minutes. It’s not the five minutes you pay the membership for, it’s the umpteen years of training, knowledge, expertise and skills the chap has acquired that lets him know where to look and what to touch.
You get the analogy. William?
You can’t learn marketing from “do it yourself” or in a half day workshop… though you can learn some basics about what it is and how it works so you won’t make a mistake and/or get ripped off when employing a marketing consultant.
As for ROI, the conversion of marketing effort into sales leads IS measurable if the right sales process is in place. For myself, about once a week I am able to send clients a breakdown of who’s responded to what as a result of my marketing campaigns. This knowledge is passed to salespeople to convert interest into enquiry/lead/sale.
You should come on one of my workshops, William – you’d learn how to measure your marketing ROI, then you could put your reservations and misconceptions to bed.

William Shaw, Organisational Catalyst,York: says:
July 24, 2014 at 10:48 am Reply

William Shaw, Organisational Catalyst,York:
RE: Results based reward: That’s precisely my point, Phillip. If someone suggests rewarding a Marketeer based on results – and the results required are a higher incidence of quality leads not an increase in the volume of inquiries – how do you measure it? (ie measure a qualitative improvement in leads, ignoring the volume)?

It may sound counter intuitive but that does not stop it from being a real situation, and often a business requirement in businesses that actually measure such things.

RE: The Plumber analogy. Are we really assuming that it takes the entire body of your professional training to construct and deliver a single campaign? If you do, then your point is valid – and therefore, your course is not useful. If it doesn’t then any form of training whether self-guided or instructor lead will achieve the same result. Which is it?

William Shaw says:
July 24, 2014 at 7:06 am Reply

William Shaw, Organisational Catalyst, York:
Nice to see all the professional Marketing people are all fully aligned 🙂
Not too much of a problem establishing a consensus there then.
Clearly a plumber is the best person to work on my pipes. However, if I don’t have the money to work on them – then I will do it myself.
And the first thing I would do with this, or anything else, is to educate myself on how to do it.
Something I have had to do twice – and which has yielded increases in sales.
Now returning to Darren’s point on risk reward. Inquiries dropped and sales increased (because I was communicating with the right people).
What’s my chance of finding a Marketeer who would agree to being paid on the basis of increased sales (which is the point) rather than increased inquiries – which is more directly measurable. And if neither of these two metrics are agreed – then what could you use?

Philip J Gwynne says:
July 24, 2014 at 7:07 am Reply

Philip J Gwynne, The NAKED Marketing Company:
The role of the marketer is to attract people’s interest in your goods and services. The role of the business manager (i.e. you) is to convert that interest into sales. It’s not the role of marketing to do the selling for you.
And as for educating yourself how to “do” it, it takes about 3-4 years to gain Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification (probably as long as it takes to become a plumber).
But you can come to a one of The NAKED Marketing Company’s half day introduction to marketing workshops to get you started.

Philip says:
July 26, 2014 at 8:29 am Reply

William Shaw, Organisational Catalyst, York:
@Phillip:
You are still dodging the question. Which is would you or any other of the Marketeers present take an assignment where you were rewarded on a percentage of ROMI?
Your last question brings up another issue. How do you measure marketing on a measure that shows it has maximised profit?

Philip says:
July 23, 2014 at 8:35 am Reply

Richard Vaughan, Experienced consultant specialising in b2b marketing strategy.Dudley Port, West Midlands:
A very good article – underpins why mangers should at least appreciate the skill set we have even if they may not understand what we do.

Philip says:
July 23, 2014 at 8:36 am Reply

Mike Tomlin, Brand Marketing consultant at 6th Sense Marketing, Runham, Norfolk:
But also, let us look at ‘the other side of the coin’ and appreciate where they are coming from (sometimes)? Because we are experts in our field, we often assume that people will ‘get it’?!
It is up to Marketing to make sure the strategy is fully understood & absorbed, the core target audience is as tight as possible and the campaign tactics mesh like glue … as well as always having (a positive answer for every finance man’s 1st question) … a well thought through & logical R.O.I.
In this way, senior management (including the MD, FD, OD, HRD and anybody else who thinks that ‘marketing is easy’ will buy into our work 100% each & every time?!

Philip says:
July 23, 2014 at 8:21 am Reply

Alex Beardsley MCIM – Chartered Marketer, Bradford:
All very interesting comments…and as a ‘Professional Marketer’ that works predominantly with SMEs it is often not a case of don’t DIY, but’s more of…’Don’t DIY without a proper plan.
Money wasted on marketing is usually in the promotional or print arena whereby people like to pay for the ‘tangible’ aspects of marketing (Literature, website, Social Media Campaign/management) and not be willing to pay for the actual structured strategic marketing plan, which is actually where the money should be spent. With a proper plan in place that identifies the who, what, where, why, how much and what is expected in return I think most SMEs could DIY.
The issue lies with the actual fact that very few SMEs actually want to or have the time to invest in their own marketing as they are often operationally focused, grow out of someones passion so they are too busy ‘doing the job’ to fully concentrate on the marketing activities…which is why both a strategic and an implementational focus has worked well, in y experience…But what do I know? I’m just a professional marketer! ha
Great discussion though…Good job Phillip!

Philip says:
July 23, 2014 at 8:22 am Reply

William Shaw, Organisational Catalyst, York:
I’ve also seen a lot of money go down bad PPC campaigns as well.

Philip says:
July 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm Reply

Darren Bugg, Managing Director, The News Hound Ltd, Leeds:
Excellent post Alex – you have summed it up perfectly.

Philip says:
July 23, 2014 at 8:20 am Reply

Darren Bugg, Managing Director, The News Hound Ltd, Leeds:
Hi Martin… to continue your metaphor… a proper professional marketing person (…er…plumber…) would have done some research first to find out if any pipes were needed at all in this particular part of the house.

The problem for most of us proper professional marketing people is that we are often called in to sort out a mess that has been created by an amateur plumber. Sometimes it really IS better to start again from scratch, rather than trying to fix a badly installed central heating system !!!
William… you say: “Here’s an acid test: Ask a Marketeer how they will assess the success of the campaign, and what methods they are using to predict the outcome.”

An even better solution is to ask if they will accept payment based on results. A good marketing consultant will agree to this as they will have confidence of being successful. All the charlatans will run a mile !!!

Philip says:
July 23, 2014 at 8:19 am Reply

William Shaw, Organisational Catalyst, York:
As a non-Marketeer: The article should perhaps be re-titled ‘Don’t assume charge of Marketing unless you give it due diligence’. The article is predicated on the supposition that only Marketeers can do this, and all of them actually do it (martin’s post above). And yet that is clearly not the case. It also presupposes that a talented business manager has neither the time nor the inclination to get up to speed on the subject – put together a plan and deliver it.

Here’s an acid test: Ask a Marketeer how they will assess the success of the campaign, and what methods they are using to predict the outcome.

Because if I had a fiver for every time I got a ‘null response’ to these questions; I would be posting this from a balcony overlooking Monaco harbour, not a suburb in Yorkshire.

Philip says:
July 23, 2014 at 8:16 am Reply

Martin Hetherington, Interim Project Manager, Ossett, West Yorkshire:
Here’s a comment from a “non-marketeer” who doesn’t know anything about marketing:
I haven’t read the blog post – it’s blocked at work…..
But in reference to your comment “If you’d call in a professional to fix the pipes or mend your car, why would you not call in a professional to improve and grow your business?”
So – in terms of the pipe/car analogy here’s my take on what marketing looks like to me:
If I had a leaky pipe and the plumber worked the same way as a marketeer, he would not look for the actual leaky pipe but would replace the entire system. Problem fixed but 99% of it a waste of time – the actual leaky pipe fixed by more luck than judgement. Similarly with the car – don’t put a new engine in when you only need the spark plugs changed. I’ve had a smililar discussion with a marketeer who said something along the lines of “not only getting the leaky pipe fixed that we knew about but also another leak fixed we didn’t know about” – hahaha!!!
A bit harsh? Or is my perception from the numerous TV adverts, SPAM, billboards, junk mail, pages of magazine ads, radio adverts and anything else that’s in my face 24×7 in the hope of me being someone out of the millions that wants your client’s product?

Philip says:
July 23, 2014 at 8:17 am Reply

Philip J Gwynne, The NAKED Marketing Company replies:
I often meet/talk with business managers who’ve had bad experiences and have a poor view of Marketing as a result. Who can blame them for thinking they’d be better off doing it themselves? However, there are many more decent, honest, hard-working and good value marketing specialists out there – I’d like to think I’m one of them –so don’t let your misconceptions get in the way of employing therm.

Sophie says:
July 22, 2014 at 12:57 pm Reply

Oh please! I’ve just completed a CIM course – which would make me a ‘qualified professional’ and yet they are so far behind the cutting edge that they pretty much only just about acknowledge the existence of the internet. Have you ever filled out a CIM webinar registration webform for example? (An exmaple of worst practice if ever there was one). I place far less credit in a qualification from places like CIM than proven experience where yes – along the way mistakes were made- but lessons were learnt in the field.

Philip J Gwynne says:
July 22, 2014 at 10:19 am Reply

Philip J Gwynne, The NAKED Marketing Company, replies:
I was once interviewed for a pitch by the girl from accounts who explained that the MD I’d come to see had had to go out, so she’d been asked to talk to me but – she cheerfully admitted – she didn’t know a thing about marketing!

Mike Tomlin says:
July 22, 2014 at 10:15 am Reply

Mike Tomlin, Brand Marketing consultant at 6th Sense Marketing, Runham, Norfolk:
… and even worse when the Finance Director is asked whether the Marketing budget is entirely necessary, or should/could be cut?!! The very same one that you have worked so hard to get it as exact as possible! Why ask him/her? All the more reason that marketing needs to have a strong voice, within ALL organisations … so that discussions/decisions are made with consultation!!

Philip says:
July 21, 2014 at 12:31 pm Reply

Rob Young MSc, Principal, TRCRC Management consulting, Leeds:
No “non-marketeer” comments yet: pity!

Philip says:
July 20, 2014 at 7:52 am Reply

Danielle Ward, Marketing Strategy & Implementation Specialist, Leeds:
Very well said and I could not agree more!

Philip says:
July 19, 2014 at 1:11 pm Reply

Sara Magdalena Goldberger, Outreach Manager & Senior Policy Advisor at European Parliament, Brussels:
Because, Philip as you well know. We are all specialists with deep insights into sales, marketing and PR… Who’d need us?

Before that is a corporate representative with lacking linguistic insights and even lesser tact and stakeholder management makes an error that threatens to derail a process it’s taken a year to accomplish. THEN we are useful.

Pity then we are not involved in the process from the beginning or it might have been successfully concluded in 6 months.

I think one answer to your question might be that it is difficult to measure our input. A good sales wo/man can directly tie all their efforts to concluded sales. Whether as with successful PR it is often close to impossible to show that we contribute to business development. Other that is when we don’t do our job. Then suddenly it becomes apparent that we are needed.

If anyone can work around this I for one is interested in learning more.

Philip says:
July 19, 2014 at 1:12 pm Reply

Philip J Gwynne, The NAKED Marketing Company, replies:
Agree on both counts, Sara. How often are marketing consultants brought in to “fix” a problem when it’s too late to be fixed? And how often do organisations expect “instant” results, as if marketing is a magic wand that can solve poor sales performance over night?

Philip says:
July 19, 2014 at 8:17 am Reply

Darren Bugg, Managing Director, The News Hound Ltd, Leeds:
I agree entirely with your blog Philip – and I’d endorse it 100 per cent. However, I would also add a little bit extra to what you’ve written…

Unfortunately these days there are a lot (and I mean a LOT) of people out there who call themselves marketing ”professionals” but who aren’t qualified or experienced enough to use this term to describe themselves. It is especially common nowadays because of all the people who have become expert in social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) but who call themselves ”marketing” professionals on their LinkedIn profiles, when really they are just experts in a tiny area of marketing.

My advice to any manager who is looking for a marketing professional to help them is to dig a bit deeper. Does the person have genuine experience in STRATEGIC marketing analysis and planning? Do they have any qualifications in marketing (at the very least a CIM diploma, or preferably a Degree or Masters in marketing?) Do they understand the importance of market research and how all good marketing starts with good research?

It’s not good enough to just know a bit about a small aspect of tactical marketing if you don’t understand the bigger picture of how all the many facets of marketing fit together within a properly thought-out strategy. Unfortunately these days, too many people call themselves ”marketing professionals” when they are little more than experts in a small area of promotional marketing.

Philip says:
July 19, 2014 at 8:19 am Reply

Philip J Gwynne, The NAKED Marketing Company, replies:
I could write a book! The number of managers who tell me of their bad experiences with DIY marketing or so called “marketing consultants”… They’ve paid lots of money and got little or nothing in ROI. Then it’s left to us honest and diligent professionals to try and recover our industry’s reputation and pick up the pieces of someone else’s mess.

Philip says:
July 19, 2014 at 12:56 pm Reply

Darren Bugg:
…or even worse Philip… the managers who use ”marketing consultants” who do a mediocre job for them, but the client thinks they have done a good job because thy have nothing else to compare it to.

I could give loads of examples, but my favourite is the Leeds school I visited where they told me they were very happy with the company that did their school magazine. When I looked at the job spec I found they were paying DOUBLE what they should have been, for an inferior product. They just didn’t realise they were being ripped-off because they hadn’t any other experience to compare it to. There are a lot of amateurs and charlatans out there, and often the client doesn’t even realise they are not using a true marketing professional.

Michele Jones says:
July 19, 2014 at 7:33 am Reply

Michele Jones, marketing professional, Utley, West Yorkshire:
As per another discussion I have been involved in this week – Until sales and business managers understand that marketing is a little bit more than ‘doing some pretty pictures’ things will never change – And what is worse when a business manager does a bit of DIY marketing and it fails to produce results it only serves to enforce his/her opinion that marketing is a waste of time or completely expendable…hence why we as a profession are often the first to be shown the door when things get a little tight!

Philip J Gwynne says:
July 19, 2014 at 7:35 am Reply

Philip J Gwynne, The NAKED Marketing Company, replies:
So true, Michelle! We’re all tarred by the poor experiences of managers who “have a go” at marketing and fail. But if we are sick, do we try and find a cure by ourselves or do we call out the doctor? If we need legal advice, do we represent ourselves or do we consult a lawyer? Etc!

Philip says:
July 18, 2014 at 9:54 am Reply

Andy Gillett, Commercial Director at Fretwell Print and Direct Mail, Keighley, West Yorkshire:
So true!

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