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4 min read

Downgrading your Marketing with DIY

By David Mills on September 9, 2020

I'll admit it. I'm a recovering DIY addict. Some of the most humorous words spoken in our home are, "I can do that." The DIY resulted in my purchase of a 1960's Triumph Spitfire which broke more clutches than it got oil changes, and too many other projects to name, all completed with low to moderate success. But does the duct tape and baling wire (you know, the wire for hay bales) approach work in 2020 for marketing?

I thought I had the DIY addiction beat as I continued to look under the hood of my car and discovered that nothing that I saw resembled the engines I used to work on. But then came the explosion of MarTech (marketing technology) over the last decade. Technology in marketing and sales has left no company untouched, and it brought back that old DIY temptation-- collect great technology tools and connect them all together. In years past, our company did just that, linking together all kinds of great one-offs into open source website software. We could make those websites do all kinds of tricks-- but at a cost.

It's Easy to End Up With a Downgrade When You Give into the Allure of DIY

The thousands of MarTech offerings now available have been propelled by inexpensive cloud computing. Many of them are operating under the same premise as the social networks like Facebook - Make Everything in Marketing Seem DIY. That's the false premise of Facebook ads, which are anything but DIY, and the offerings of website builders that allow you to put up a website in hours. 

For the growing business, DIY marketing approaches are a downgrade, taking them down to the level of all their competitors who operate informally. The truth about DIY approaches to marketing is that just like Facebook ads, which are made to look simple ("boost this"), the real cost is found in the labor required to maintain them and loss of staff time not available to do what really matters. When you have to continually take staff time to connect, maintain, secure and use the DIY tools, the opportunity cost is tremendous. Here's why-- what makes marketing work is the development and fine-tuning of content, offers and campaigns which only come from focused emotional intelligence, creativity and technical skill. 

The problems created by DIY are not an argument for outsourcing, but they are cause to safeguard the invaluable strength of in-house staff for work that matters and work that links directly to your brand story.

Duct Tape and Baling Wire Marketing are collapsing under their own weight

We discovered that our duct tape and bailing wire marketing system, connected to open source software, continued to increase in both code weight and staff requirements. The average WordPress website today has 24 plugins, and when you add the exponential security risk and the time to load when you visit one of these sites, it can actually move from being just a lot of maintenance to poor performance that is difficult to correct. All of that can depress your search rankings.

Cobbling together a system is not a cost savings, because time is your greatest cost.

That staff time to update plugins, make sure data from various software is reporting, and maintain servers is all effort that is being taken from the much more demanding job of getting the message right and delivering consistent offers that perform.

From Baling Wire to All on Board

It's easy to miss the other development that has occurred while the DIY explosion has been filling our inboxes. The same cloud computing has not only made powerful software available for the hobbyist, it has made the powerful enterprise tools that used to be reserved for the largest brands available to the small and mid-sized market. 

While marketing software is being used by almost everyone, the demand for better quality buyer journeys and content value has skyrocketed too. That expertise should be the staff focus, not "turning the digital crank" on a collection of one-off software. A truly modern approach to website building can be pain-free and take you to the next level with leads and sales.

-Get a software snapshot of your marketing in a quick visit with our team, discover load times and on-offs

All-in-one enterprise software allows staff to focus on what will actually pay off in marketing

The evolution that should be occurring in growing business is an upgrade to enterprise, not a downgrade to DIY. Even though DIY Youtube video might be tugging on you, that isn't the right direction for businesses that want to become leaders in their sector.

We discovered that all-in-one software that is coming from the enterprise world, like HubSpot, allows our staff to focus on what will actually pay off. And it also eliminates the need for server management (and fees), security concerns, and time-consuming API integrations between 10 different suites of software. 

You might be surprised how many businesses run a whole collection of disconnected software to get their marketing done. Without knowing it, they've downgraded to DIY and missed the opportunity to maximize conversions and sales. We've even found clients who were under the assumption that they purchased professional websites which were actually built on low grade servers and website platforms.

The Real Cost of Baling Wire

  • Add all the costs of the multiple elements (real costs) including staff time.
  • Add multiple annual software licenses will you have to buy, and how much time to keep them all talking to each other
  • Add how often will staff be managing servers, reconnecting APIs, and explaining the outputs of various software that don't speak to each other?
  • Add staff time for those who will watch and respond to the various security bulletins for the weekly massive WordPress hacks?

Take the Duct Tape Test

There is a simple self-test you can use to see if your marketing is using all-in-one marketing that is enterprise enabled, or if you are using the downgraded and taped together version. Ask this one question: If you select a recent customer who purchased in the sweet spot for your products or services, can you follow all of their interactions back to their source? Can you easily see how they found you, which webpages they visited, which emails and social they responded to, which ads, articles, videos contributed to the sale, what the sales interactions were, and how much human touch they received? 

Now the follow-up question, if you can't do it for one customer, how will you do it at scale?

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David Mills

Written by David Mills

David is one of the founders of Story Collaborative and serves as the Chief Growth Officer. He is passionate about finding the right strategy for each client and helping them move into sustainable growth. He is a veteran of organizational development and communications and has worked with thousands of businesses and nonprofits across the country.