Nary a day goes by that someone I know doesn’t have a client who says, “I can do it myself, it’s free” about some piece of marketing.
Now, that is overtly true for lots of platforms – social media being the main culprit. It is, in point of fact, true that many things about social media do not have a specific payment required.
However, there are a few ways to think about this.
If you are truly fascinated by some piece of social media, or any other facet of strategic marketing, by all means, make it your new hobby. Devote your nights and weekends to learning it and networking in the space, in lieu of spending time on other things like friends, family, and your other normal fun activities. (It can be really fun if you are a true fan! But requires much dedication.)
For most people, however, if they are being truthful, they want the outcome that using something well can produce, not the ability to do/understand it.
It is certainly true that you can learn anything, given enough time. No one is born a surgeon.
But while I might not understand all the details of how electricity works, I certainly appreciate being able to flip a switch and have light.
So as mesmerizing and perplexing as marketing strategy might seem, with plenty of flashing lights and buzzers to intrigue even the most Zen person, some things are indeed best left to experts.
There are no quantities of YouTube videos, blog posts, or fun articles than can recreate years of experience and having seen things happen for real.
In any business, there is always a scale. On one side is time, and on the other side is money.
Learning curves are hugely expensive in terms of soft costs, and lost opportunity costs. If your operations manager, who makes x an hour to do her “real” job, spends x hours trying to learn, say, Facebook, how does that affect the business? Who does her operations job?
Additionally, the difference between great execution and poor execution is immense. If you try to DIY a marketing strategy, how will you know it’s working? How will you know if it could be better? What are you benchmarking against? What happens if SHTF (stuff hits the fan) and someone made a big accidental misstep because they have no experience?
Using anything personally (social media especially) is wildly different from using it on behalf of an organization. It’s like assuming staying at hotel must be like running a hotel. Not so much.
Marketing activity alone is not valuable, and if done wrong, can be detrimental. A strategy that leads to results is valuable.
DIY is one of my very favorite things. In fact, Pinterest is practically built on it! (Love Pinterest.)
But in the same sense that you would not hire your 20-year-old cousin to defend you in court if you were wrongfully accused (you would hire the lawyer with the best record of keeping clients free – regardless of cost per hour) – I would pay careful attention to where, when and why you DIY.
Because sometimes DIY is good, and sometimes…not so much.