Are you a Qualified Marketer?
Updated: Sep 21, 2021
Recently during a phone call with a prospective client I was asked if I was qualified or had a marketing qualification or something along those lines...
...I don’t remember exactly but it really got me thinking about the marketing industry as a whole and what alt. Marketing is all about.
Let me set the scene a little first as I don’t want to come across like I don’t think this question is a relevant one or that I’m being snarky toward the individual asking the question, it was asked conversationally and not in an interrogative sense so it wasn’t a problem.
It did catch me off guard though, it wasn’t something that I’d been asked before in the 3+ years of running alt. It probably struck a nerve though as it is a good question.
What does make someone qualified to offer marketing consulting or own a “marketing business”. If you’ve read any of the articles I’ve written over on the www.davidmelse.com site you’ll realise that I never pretend to know everything and that I’ve tried many different business models with alt. Ranging from the monthly retainer, the hourly consulting, the project base, a lot of things. Nothing has really felt right for when it comes to offering a service or product related to giving marketing advice.
I think the reason for this is that there’s no magic marketing person out there, no one is the master of marketing and the person able to solve all of your “marketing problems” I put this in inverted commas as that’s the feeling I’ve had several times in my alt. career, people looking for the one idea or strategy or service provider that will make their business take off and or expand to massive new horizons.
I’ll break down why this is my belief and then get into how I did answer the question. I’ll also throw in a couple of my core beliefs around business and marketing.
No body knows your business as well as you do. I think marketing especially at the current time is about creating content and media around your brand which will educate and inspire your audience to buy from you. A lot of things have been commoditised recently with technology bringing down the barriers to entry for a lot of industries, but what can’t be commoditised is you, your brand, your story and what makes you different. In most cases this isn’t the secret recipe you own or some crazy story about how your business has been passed down for 5 generations. It’s the way you interact with your customers, your core values, your priorities, your vibe and what’s important to you.
I think that if you do an amazing job, you make the best pancakes in town then people will come. I think that if you’re also willing to put in the work and make content (video, photos, writing articles etc) around your pancakes, how you make them, who’s on your team, who your suppliers are etc etc etc (there’s an infinite amount of content ideas for any business). You’ll crush. I look at some recent business phenomena in Christchurch that come to mind, Posh Porridge, Glamour Cake, Bacon Bros’. They’ve all got great quality products, they’re willing to commit or will to allocate resources to frequent social media / content creation and they’re dominating.
I can’t speak for them but they don’t seem to over think it and hesitate they just put out great product and tell their stories online, it’s that simple.
So how did I answer that question. I stumbled (to be completely honest) but fumbled out something along the lines of, that’s a good question actually and it’s why I don’t generally push marketing consulting or marketing advice very hard. I prefer to sell more outcome based services. Like brand (logo) development and websites. It’s a lot easier to quantify the offering, price and what the process is going to be.
I also mentioned that I’ve always had an interest in marketing and that I’ve had a few different businesses over the years and that’s one area that’s been of interest to me. For a few reasons but one is that it ties into a passion of mine which is not being wasteful. Everyday millions if not billions of dollars is spent on marketing but on a local level I see it every day, small businesses recklessly spending money on marketing. So that’s the reason I started alt. in the first place was to help friends in business be more effective with their marketing budget and the mission hasn’t really changed since the beginning, just check the original alt. promo video (I’m sure it would make me cringe badly seeing it but it’s on the alt. Youtube if you want to take a look).
It’s not to say that we haven’t had success with selling 12 month marketing plans and it is something that we’re going to be working on before the end of the year. It’s just a matter of focus. At the moment we’ve got limited human resources and until we hire some more staff we don’t really have the capability to fulfill on what we’re selling.
Which leads nicely into my final point on marketing which is very similar to the example of the food businesses above. Fulfillment is key, there’s no sense marketing or selling something that you can’t back up. Speaking from experience here. That’s probably the reason why there’s a very very light amount of content on the alt. Facebook / Instagram / Youtube accounts lately. I had to get that disclaimer out there as I wouldn’t want to be seen as being hypocritical.
In summary I don’t have an MBA in marketing, I don’t have dozens of years experience working in the marketing industry but I am very passionate about doing more with less, being efficient, embracing new technology and winning and that’s another bonus of putting out regular content. Your prospects can often get a sense of who you are what you stand before making contact so although you’ll put off some, the ones that do make contact will in some cases be pre qualified.