This summer I fired myself from one of my best clients. I had trained two of their people in Google Analytics and Adwords. I had completed the ecommerce transition to a new store. I was done. Of course the team was ready for me to graduate them as well. Sure they could take on the tasks and responsibilities for taking this online retail business to the next level. And of course, should they need me, I would still be an email away.
If you are really thinking about the client's best interest you will begin replacing yourself on your first day.
Task ONE at my new gig, hire two new "lower cost" workers to begin learning what we would be doing to rebrand and rebuild this business online. Mission accomplished during the second week.
Task TWO, train all team members in seo, good retail copywriting, basic photoshop editing, and understanding Google Analytics. Mission accomplished within a few months.
Task THREE, oversee and motivate the team to launch shopping cart V2 as quickly as possible. Mission accomplished… well, this one took the bulk of my time. And in fact, I got bogged down in the weeds of content production, because we needed more warm bodies doing production on the thousands of details needed to get from one antiquated and custom-coded shopping platform to a modern, modular one.
It's not always in the financial best interest of the consultant to fire themselves, but it shows your true loyalty. That loyalty should be to the clients business rather than your consulting practice.
In this business of being a consultant, I am given the opportunity to work on some diverse teams. Sometimes those teams would rather not have me involved. That's okay. I get it.
Just this week I was working with a new team on developing their social media pitch for a very large client they were doing other online work for. The opportunity came through a former colleague who I had not talked to for 4+ years. She was happy ask in the "consultant" to boost her team's chances of winning a new piece of business. And perhaps, in the near future, building out her firms capacity to add social media to their core competencies.
In this project we were looking at the work the client needed done, and imagining the types of date their current team must be sharing with them about the SEM and SMM efforts. And in the development of our "pitch" deck I was trying to imagine the problems I saw inside companies that already had SEO, PPC, and SEM working for them. You've seen the dashboards and charts haven't you? The one's based on gauges and dials. All very colorful. Green up arrows for positive growth, red down arrows for negative results.
The problem is not the dashboards or the charts and gauges available through Google Analytics, the problem is looking at the HISTORICAL data and trying to come up with FUTURE predictions and ideas for growth. If you look at the same "dashboard" day after day, it's easy to get complacent with the status quo. BUT that's not good business.
What we want to do is look for changes, look for opportunities to encourage change, and ways of accurately measure the results of any campaign (PPC, or social media, or SEO).
As I was trying to finish up the PPT deck for the presentation I hit on an epiphany.
And that seemed to me to be the "consultant's special sauce." If I can come in and wake up your team from the stupor of charts and graphs and have them focus on the GOALS rather than the REPORTING, then I have done my job. My goal with this statement was to point out the flaw in the overload of dashboards and data, and refocus the online marketing process on the goal. Whatever that goal is, try and get beyond the metrics and focus on the outcome you want to have happen.
And in the close of the process I heard myself state several times, my current philosophy of online marketing strategy. Get the sustaining business processes down cold. THEN think of the BIG IDEAS that could rocket your standard programs up into the stratosphere. So I captured this idea in the presentation as well, right after the graphic of the annual editorial content calendar.
Once you've had experience doing a dozen or some big digital marketing campaigns you get pretty good at spotting the wins and the losses. And after you've seen the bad campaigns go down smoking, you learn not to be too precious about ANY idea you come up with. The key is to come up with a lot of ideas. Build a team and a process to deploy and report on those ideas. And the do it over and over again until you find a HIT. And even then you keep trying to out do yourself with another BIG idea.
Social is just part of the mix. You have to get the online machine working first, and then social can provide the lubricant to get your sales funnel working more efficiently.