Recently an acquaintance told me a story of how his engagement ended. He was appalled that his fiance was unhappy with the 3 ct. diamond ring he gave her... He relayed the story of how she went to a Walmart and using a magnifying glass, noticed the imperfections in the stone. At the time, not knowing him well, I was shocked at someone finding fault with such a generous token of their promise.
In later discussion, I realized that the acquaintance hadn't actually done any research when selecting the stone. If you've ever shopped for a diamond, you realize that there is a huge difference in price depending on the cut, the clarity and the color of the stone. In other words, you can have anything that ranges from a sparkling, almost blue color gem with perfect proportions and minimal inclusions to something that would be classified as industrial grade, which certainly would look much different. Both are 3 ct diamonds, but they are vastly different in terms of quality and therefore in terms of price.
Without knowing the QUALITY of the stone, it's difficult to pass judgement on whether she was justified in being upset with the ring. As other factors fell into place, I realized that the stone probably had inclusions that were visible with the naked eye, and therefore, her dissatisfaction. I can't say that I blame the girl. Love is supposed to be perfect and pure and of the highest quality. It's not measured in size alone.
This is also true of your marketing program. Most online marketing programs are flawed in some way, the question is how critical the flaws are to the integrity of the entire campaign.
In marketing and in relationships there are a few truisms that can be helpful:
1. Set realistic expectations. Often, clients will ask how long it will take for their optimized website to start yielding results. The answer is, "it depends". Like the 3 carat diamond, it can be a very complex, expensive and well thought through campaign, or it can be something that looks good until given closer inspection. If the client expects 3 carats, but doesn't care about quality, you cannot expect the same result as the client who is willing to spend for the quality and then go for the size of the online marketing campaign.
2. No false promises. Saying that I will get you to page one of Google is one of those nebulous things that sounds great until you start to determine what does that mean. Page one of what page? For what terms? And what does this mean in terms of prospects and customers? It's like asking someone on a first date what kind of wedding they would like. You just know that it's a phony and there is no substance behind it. It's a false promise, like a highly occluded diamond.
3. Be honest and trustworthy. If you make a promise, live up to that promise. As a client, be sure that your agency isn't just paying you lip service and saying what they think you want to hear. That's like the guy who promised the woman a beautiful house and marriage and travels and everything she likes, just for a short term romp. A smart lady sees through that... just as a smart client sees through a a untrustworthy vendor.
4. Be reliable. Do what you say you will do when you say you will do it. If your agency suggests they can have your website up and running in 3 weeks, they should come through with something in that time frame. Need I suggest that the man who says he will stick with the woman through thick or thin, or be her white knight and then who runs at the first gimmer of imperfection is just not the one to accept a faulty 3 carat diamond from.
Whether you elect to hire a marketing agency or do the marketing yourself, I stand by these trusims. Let me know what you think.. if you agree, or disagree, and if you have more to add to the list.