DIY marketing is increasing in popularity. More and more small businesses, startup and freelancers are looking to make their marketing journey their own. It can seem like a huge leap to take.
Like anything in business, making an informed decision about whether DIY marketing is for you is important.
That’s why we’re going through the pros and cons of DIY marketing to help you do just that.
The case against DIY marketing
It’s away from your core capabilities
Successful people seem to have one thing in common. And no, it’s not that they wake at dawn or meditate. It’s that they know where the core competency lies.
Playing to your strengths is an important part of business. if you and marketing are about as close as Pluto and Earth on a good day, reconsider.
Learning the art of marketing takes time. Marketing itself is a task filled with niggly, time-consuming and often tricky moving parts. If you don’t have the brain-space or time to dig in and make a go of things, it might be better to stay in your wheelhouse.
There are solutions available
There are many ways to skin the marketing cat. You can hand it all off to an agency. Recruit a project-based and/or retain a freelancer. Invest in a junior employee and their growth and training. Hiring a company to run specific aspects of marketing such as Google AdWords specialist. Or having someone kick off a marketing strategy or campaign you can later attend to.
Whatever way you think would suit for the short or long term is available to you. All you have to do is find the right person.
Time doesn’t allow for it
If you’re going to take an important and time-consuming role such as marketing, you better have the diary space to make it work. Marketing isn’t about set and forget. It’s about playing, massaging, tweaking and experimenting.
Look at your current TO DO List and ask yourself if you have solid blocks of time within your timetable to take on another task. Now think about it as beyond a task to a role.
If the idea makes you feel light-headed and your stomach crunchy, there’s no shame in saying no.
It’s a lot harder to unpick bad marketing later
As a marketing freelancer, I have seen the unfortunate results of do it yourself marketing in full, gleaming colour. I have seen social media disasters, terribly built websites, blackhat SEO copywriting, racist and sexist marketing collateral, poor Facebook campaigns, lonely social media and a whole other bunch of truly scary stuff.
DIY marketing is a lot like gardening. The more you seed the wrong plants and the more it lacks tending, the more weeds and problems grow.
You can always revive your marketing, but there are varying degrees of how much work you must do to turn things around.
That’s why it’s a bad idea to try to do your marketing if you don’t have the skills, time or energy to give it a decent shot.
The case for DIY marketing
If it breaks, you can fix it
One of the wonderful things about understanding marketing is that if things aren’t going to plan, you can fix it.
This applies to non-performing campaigns, aspects such as social media, reviewing content marketing, technical aspects of web and more.
It’s a lot easier on the old heart and head if you can dive in and fix something within minutes. It can be easier for the wallet as well.
You learn by doing
There’s a distinct advantage to being right on the coalface of your own marketing and communications. That is, you learn by doing.
Not only can you grow your skill and confidence in marketing, you can also begin to understand your audience and their behaviour on a deeper level.
By being close to the front-facing action, you gain insight beyond the reports and theories.
You can’t delegate
Try as you might, you simply can’t keep your hands off the marketing pudding. Rather than be the dreaded micro-manager that fusses and pushes in front of those you’ve placed in charge of your marketing, maybe doing it yourself might be the smarter move.
That way, you save frustration, outlay and potentially making someone else feel small.
If delegation isn’t your strong suit when it comes to marketing, sales and communication, it may be far easier to go DIY.
Experimentation is less frightening
It doesn’t matter the size of your business or organisation, how careful you are or where your knowledge lies, not all marketing campaigns work.
The problem with this is not many people like to talk about the art of marketing (as opposed to exact science). We fail to acknowledge the impact that has on tight budgets and general hopes for any given campaign.
The closer you are to the marketing action, the more realistic your relationship becomes. The more secure you feel about the art and science relationship, the more likely you are to experiement. The more your take risks and experiment, the more you learn and often, the better the result.
If you’re less shielded from the day-to-day realities of marketing, the more able you are to create better marketing campaigns.
It’s a great skill to have
Once you start thinking about marketing in the truest sense (i.e. having a conversation with customers that leads to conversion), it helps inform your other core skills.
It makes for far better sales people as it adds finesse. Developers, product managers, builders and designers become better able to define the customer role. Business development specialists understand the pre-amble to the deal style relationship better.
Creative practitioners such as writers, film makers, photographers and actors can marry the creative with the commercial more and are better able to market their own work without cringe.
It can even make you a better customer.
Are you right for DIY marketing?
Whether you want to dive into DIY marketing is a personal decision. It comes down to time, temperament and goals. As well as knowing where to go for the right support (HINT: That might be me!)
You can easily work through marketing by yourself if you fall into the following categories:
- You’re willing to learn and are naturally curious, excited and/or interested in marketing
- You’ve done your homework in terms of the support mechanisms available to you
- You can and will make time to make your marketing shine
- You’re open to working with someone to help you via strategy plans, coaching, training and/or support
- You’re OK to experiment and learn by doing without feeling frustrated