I need someone to repair my arm; it’s come off. Any bidders?
So my arm came off the other day. It tore off because I caught it in a door (it was a sharp door). As I watched it slide down the glass door, hit the sidewalk and land on a half-eaten big mac, I was in awe of how little pain there was.
Anyway, I am cheap, so rather than call the emergency services, I quickly loaded the med-E-lance app, a freelance medical bidding service, on my phone – it was quite difficult to navigate, having only one arm to move around my iPhone 6 plus. Eventually it managed to load. As I was moving my severed arm to the fridge in the nearby convenience store, the app finally accepted my request to join as a patient.
I had to wait a few more minutes, which gave me enough time to wrap my arm in frozen peas, carefully placing it between the frozen vegetables and ice-cream section – ooh Ben and Jerry’s New York chunk. MMM. Ahh where was I? Losing a bit of blood at this point, so I managed to get to a chair in the back by the restrooms. I hope the blood doesn’t stain the walls. The clerk is looking at me a little weird. ‘Shall I call 911’, she asks. I said ‘no, no, I’ll be fine’ and ‘I’m not prepared to pay for a trip to the hospital anyway’.
After a few more minutes, the app accepted my request. So it asks me to enter my job details, along with a brief description of the assignment. Medics are standing by to bid, it says.
Title of job: reattach left arm just below the shoulder
Main body: screw bone back together, reattach tendons, arteries and sew up skin so I can move my arm (and so it doesn’t look too bad). I want to look good on the beach. Haaaaaa Haaaaa.
So there I sit, in 7-Eleven, losing a little blood, but still alive. Pop. Pop. Pop, I see bids start to come in. I got a bid from a guy in San Diego. Oh, another from Seattle. One from Bangladesh. The one from Bangladesh was the most expensive. Odd, I wasn’t really expecting that. I’d heard some outsourcers hadn’t been as cheap as they used to be.
Anyhow, I opened up the bids and all said that they were surgeons and that they’d thoroughly repair my arm and it’d be as good as new. One even gave me a guarantee. Fantastic.
Anyway, at this point I was feeling a little light-headed. A friend came in and asked me how I was doing, I said great, but my arm needs to be sewn back on. They said, their neighbor’s nephew knew how to do that, and they could have it done by the weekend. And the best part was that it would cost $100 bucks. ‘That’s great’ I said. Tell him I am there…
As mad as this story sounds; it happens. Metaphorically of course, with so many businesses across the land. I am not, by any means comparing marketing to surgery. But to your business, marketing is, indeed, the blood coursing through its veins. It provides the oxygen (financial resources) to every part of your business, allowing it to remain in good health and provide its owner with ongoing sustainable returns. Just like your body.
So why do so few businesses allocate any resources to what is, in essence the lifeblood of the organization? Would you sew back your own arm? Or have the teenager next door who’s done a first aid course do it? No? Is that a no? Really? Then why leave the guts of your marketing with novices (like yourself)? Or worse try and muddle through because some ‘guru’ somewhere wrote a blog saying how easy it is. The age old adage still stands – if it’s too good to be true, it is. And if it’s free, it looks that way too. The fact is you don’t have to be a master of marketing to see that something has been cobbled together on the cheap. That’s what your customers are thinking, when they see a business card printed on an inkjet printer. Which dog-ears and wears away as soon as they place it into their billfold. Or, even better, you provide an email address at Gmail.
It might be painless in the beginning; it might feel so good saving all this money. You might be thinking you’ve got away with skimping; but it won’t last. It’s not going to push your business to the limits. It might merely sustain it; and you a ‘living’, but will it help you break away? Will it sustain you when economic times are tough? That rarely happens without some investment in marketing.
Just as you’d notice my gangrenous arm. Your marketing is stale; it’s gone off like rancid milk. It’s been starved of investment. If your product or service is so great, is it not worthy of investment?
What you need is fresh blood; new ideas from people who don’t drink your Kool-Aid. From people who don’t know your business. To experts who go beyond knowing about computers. Since when was a tech geek a marketer? Come on!
A good marketer who doesn’t know your business inside out, will be willing to invest time, free-of-charge; asking questions, providing an assessment of your strategies (if any). Or will talk through the options you have at your disposal with guidelines on likely budgets. A good marketer will provide a starting point and will discuss an objective. A good marketer will provide, for a cost, a means of reaching that objective.
If you’ve ever done something on the cheap, ask yourself how it turned out. Going cheap on your marketing strategy will never pay the dividends that employing a true expert will return. In fact, employing experts, does not have to be expensive. There are tactics to suit any size budget.
In this day and age, any marketing firm worth their salt can provide real tangible statistics on return on investment. If they can’t, ask them why. Ask for references. If they look at you blankly and start to glaze over, walk away. There is NO value in doing it wrong.
I need to go and Band-Aid this arm. Where’s the febreze too.