Is a fool doing your marketing work?

20:07 Friday Nov 14, 2014

by Terrence Bull


Everyday I see companies promoting their DIY website offering in the same way desktop publishing was sold in the nineties—as a way to create your own marketing for free. Websites, for businesses, are a marketing tool—the most powerful and important marketing medium on the planet. So the question is “Who should be designing your marketing?”

Lawyers have a saying: “If you defend yourself in court, your client is a fool!” I believe the same thing can be applied to marketing: “If you employ yourself to do your own marketing work, your client is a fool!”

Like all disciplines there are two important factors to consider when employing someone to help you: their competency and their objectiveness. I have been in marketing for over 30 years and have consulted to many large multinational companies so consider myself somewhat competent, yet I would never do my own company’s marketing as I lack the necessary separation to be truly objective.

However, what amazes me is people who, mainly out of misplaced financial priorities (i.e. they believe they cannot afford to engage a professional company—when in fact they cannot afford not to.), end up doing their own marketing work: they design their own brochures, business cards, print ads and use a DIY website builder to create their own website.

The designs are something they may like—after all, it is easy to get attached to your own ideas. However, the results are, at best, disappointing and, at worst, can destroy their company’s reputation in the market without them even realizing it.

I would be a much richer man if I got a dollar for every time I heard someone exclaim, “We have already tried that medium (newspaper, radio, website, etc…) and it doesn’t work for our company/product!” I suppose a similar comment comes from the people who defend themselves in court, sending themselves to the gallows: “There is no justice! Our country’s legal system does not work!”

Grow up!

Is it not time that you let the professionals do their job?—one that they have spent years and years perfecting. Seriously! The cost of hiring a professional these days is peanuts compared to the cost of getting it wrong. If fact I will go further: we have packages that are affordable for everyone—and payment plans if you are completely broke (although I do wonder why you are attempting to launch a company if you are already insolvent. People almost always get into business to get more money and more free time: the outcome is almost always the opposite!).

What is more, just as a desktop publishing program like Microsoft Publisher, regardless of how many ‘pretty’ templates are available, will never replace the skill, flair, talent and understanding of a design and marketing professional, so a DIY website builder will never create for you a uniquely branded website design and content that speaks directly to your target market.

Another issue: in the early nineties many print designers and printing houses renamed themselves advertising agencies to gain more credibility. So today many web designers and web developers are calling themselves marketing companies to win their client’s trust. They even specifically focus their client’s attention on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing to ‘scare’ them into putting their entire marketing budget into purely Internet marketing initiatives—i.e. campaign they the web designer can have at least some small understanding of. I have even seen blogging ‘specialists’ telling their clients that all their marketing budget should be solely focused on a blog related website!!

Whatever the BS, Budget capture is a common issue with small self-focused (i.e. not client-focused) companies. However, real marketing takes a holistic view of the company’s entire needs—starting with a strategy that looks even at internal company management and staff training issues. The outcome may indeed be a simple website initiative to begin with, but the strategy will be much broader and all encompassing with a clear long-term objective.

So! Are we going to keep repeating the mistakes of our past and simply throw away good money on initiatives and people that have little to no foundation in quality marketing strategic, or will we grow up and seek help from a real professional? After all, when was the last time you sort medical advice from a DIY website, self-help medical book or your brother-in-law’s auntie’s cousin’s kid who just completed a secondary school biology course without also seeking professional medical advice before deciding to get your leg amputated?

Terrence Bull has over 30 years of marketing and advertising consulting experience on a global scale. He has run a website design and development company since 1998 and his business,, services clients in over 35 countries worldwide. You can read more insights from Terrence at: Dream: Profound Insights For Creating Business Success


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