So I was sitting in the drive though at McDonald's the other day, taking care of my raging oatmeal cookie craving. McDonald's has some pretty killer oatmeal cookies…and three for a dollar! Anyway, I pulled up to the window and the young girl who greeted me politely asked, "Would you like some SEO with that?"
Shocked, I replied, "What did you just say?" Good thing I didn't have my mouth stuffed with cookies yet or I probably would have choked.
She repeated as she handed me the small bag, "Would you like some SEO to go along with your cookies, or perhaps some social networking or blogs?"
I politely declined, took the bag and promptly drove away.
Is this story true? Partly…the cookies part is true. But lately it seems like every business, even those not even remotely related to marketing, are offering marketing services. And I don't blame them, I mean words like "SEO" and "Social Networking" and "Blogs" are certainly hot buzzwords, and for good reason.
The combination of SEO, social networking, and blogging – DONE CORRECTLY – can certainly do some amazing things for businesses in most any industry. I just get a little concerned when it's packaged and offered next to burgers, fries, and yes, even oatmeal cookies, as yummy as they are.
I get even more concerned when these services are offered as a cookie-cutter package (I know…I can't get away from cookies…I'm obsessed!). For example, "Buy our 'Marketing Unicorn' package! We sell it to everyone else, too! You get exactly what everyone else gets, but you will still fly high above all your competition! Plug into our system, and all your wildest marketing dreams will come true! Customization? You don't need it because our Magic Marketing Unicorns have figured out how to do this the BEST! (unicorns sold separately.)"
The problem with that is that marketing is not that simple. Every business is SO different…how can one package work for them all? I firmly believe that effective marketing requires smart people who understand:
- Correct marketing principles
- Current marketing best practices
- Your business and its goals
- Your industry
- Your target customer
Only then can the right "ingredients" be selected to bake you the ideal batch of marketing yumminess. What worked for your neighbor's business may not work for yours, and I talk to people every day who bought into the cookie-cutter Marketing Unicorn hype, only to be extremely disappointed.
What's the moral of this story? There are many things in life that you can purchase in "cookie-cutter" format, and your results will turn out great. Like…cookies! But your business' marketing? Ummm….not so much.