Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Agency Promotion, Digital Media, Integrated Marketing and Media

3 Reasons David Lee Roth is a Bad Internet Marketer

I am of a vintage that was shaped by Van Halen’s album (actually a cassette for me) 1984. With Jump, Panama, and Hot for Teacher (a video that joins “Hungry Like the Wolf” in my early teen pantheon), this was a truly epic record – highlighted by David Lee Roth’s bad boy caterwauling. 

google image result for http   tralfaz archivescom coverart v van halen 1984b 3 Reasons David Lee Roth is a Bad Internet Marketer google image result for http   lolabrigadafileswordpresscom 2008 05 david lee roth 3 Reasons David Lee Roth is a Bad Internet Marketer

And then, he screwed it up. Went solo. Recorded novelty hits like Just a Gigolo and California Girls, which were only slightly more legit than Weird Al Yankovic shlock. 

From 1985 until the inevitable bittersweet reunion tour in 2007, both Roth and his former band mates suffered, never recapturing their former glory (despite the yeoman efforts of Sammy Hagar). 

Internet Marketing is Not a Solo Act

Ultimately, it was proven that David Lee Roth was better as part of a group, than he was a solo artist. And the same is true of your Internet marketing efforts.

google image result for http   wwwventilateca news images gurupitka 3 Reasons David Lee Roth is a Bad Internet MarketerMany (and perhaps even most) agencies I talk to are trying to add digital marketing services to their capabilities by hiring their own David Lee Roth. A guru. A turtle-necked Web geek that can do it all. Don’t make that mistake.

Here are 3 reasons why the one man show routine doesn’t work.

1. It’s Unknowable

Digital marketing is a paradigm and a platform, not a job function. You can’t hire somebody who does “digital marketing” the same way you hire a copywriter or an account executive, or an art director. The field of Internet marketing is now far too broad and the nuances too numerous for one person to be able to cover all the bases on a practitioner level.

There is no way I could actually execute on the full array of tactics the way I did in 1995-2002 when the variety of tactics was semi-graspable.

The biggest mistake agencies (and clients) make is believing that the same guru that is designing and/or programming Web sites on your behalf can also handle the marketing of those Web sites. They cannot. The two skill sets are almost opposites.

Web design is a project-based, creative, inward-facing, technology-driven process. Internet marketing is an ongoing, methodical, outward-facing, relationship and message-driven process. Other than a little initial search optimization on recently completed sites, Web designers are not doing Internet marketing.

2. Knowledge in a Silo Cannot Expand

I very much believe that eventually we won’t have digital marketing departments or even digital marketing agencies. As digital (Web, mobile, digital outdoor, etc.) becomes fully integrated into the lives of a majority of the developed world, “digital marketing” will be a component of every campaign.

This convergence is already happening. Public relations and search engine optimization are blending. The growing use of video advertising online. Direct mail campaigns that use personal URLs that lead to individualized landing pages – are those “traditional” tactics, or “digital” tactics?

Eventually, digital won’t be given the special treatment the way it is today. You wouldn’t have a “radio department” and eventually you won’t have a “digital department” either.

If digital will be a part of everything, isn’t it imperative that everyone in your agency (or in-house marketing department) understand digital marketing to some degree?

If you have a guru, it gives EVERY other member of your team a built-in excuse (that you provided) to not have to get up to speed on digital marketing.

3. Asking for Trouble

If you hire a guru to handle all of your digital marketing and centralize that understanding, it creates an operational bottleneck in your organization. It’s not even a hub and spoke model. It’s just hub. Every brainstorm that requires digital thinking requires the guru. Every client meeting. Every pitch. When the guru is sick, the digital effort is grounded.

Plus, how many accounts can the guru work on competently?

It’s an extremely inefficient way to manage your personnel.

Further, since the guru gets to work on all the big accounts (because all the big accounts will want digital marketing), the guru develops quite a resume. Consequently, the guru will be endlessly recruited (perhaps even by your own clients). Eventually, the guru will leave for another opportunity that doesn’t require the ball juggling of an agency, and may include free lunch, stock options, and a big office.

Trust me. The guru will leave.

And then what? When the sum total of your organization’s digital marketing expertise walks out the door, how do you keep providing services to current clients, much less attract new ones? Typically, agencies faced with this scenario try to find Guru 2.0 which of course just perpetuates the problem.

Don’t Be Seduced by the Guru

I know fully embracing and integrating digital marketing is hard. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have started a consulting company to assist. The pull of hiring one person to make the pain go away is strong. But don’t fall for it.

Make a plan to distribute responsibility for digital marketing tactics to multiple members of your team. One person handles SEO. One person handles Email. One person handles online media buying. Clearly, once you have a concentration of clients that need digital marketing services from you, you may want to add staff to work on tactical execution. But until then, remember one critical fact:

Internet Marketing is Complicated, But It’s Not Hard

If your staff is bright enough to work for you, they’re bright enough to figure out part of the digital marketing arsenal.

Do you agree? What are your cautionary tales or success stories about Internet marketing gurus? I’d love to hear your comments. Let’s discuss.

Related
  • http://musingonmarketing.com/ James

    Right after college I worked in Rock & Roll and worked some Van Halen shows. Later, after I got a job as an Account Executive at Ted Bates, the very conservative ad agency, a female friend and colleague from that time was working as their stage manager. She came to visit me at the agency decked out in black leather pants complete with David Lee Roth backside cutouts. Of course I had to give her a tour of the agency :-)

    I am now one of the gurus you describe. I agree with much of what you are saying. Having me here allowed this small agency to enter the online space but, even using my virtual team of freelancers and subcontractors, client demands are rapidly out stripping our collective ability to fake it.

    I’m not sure I agree with your last point, “If your staff is bright enough to work for you, they’re bright enough to figure out part of the digital marketing arsenal.” As oxymoronic as it sounds agency people are reluctant to change. In my opinion, to be successful an agency needs to hire some key staff, with the requisite skills, to inculcate the digital perspective.

  • http://musingonmarketing.com/ James

    Right after college I worked in Rock & Roll and worked some Van Halen shows. Later, after I got a job as an Account Executive at Ted Bates, the very conservative ad agency, a female friend and colleague from that time was working as their stage manager. She came to visit me at the agency decked out in black leather pants complete with David Lee Roth backside cutouts. Of course I had to give her a tour of the agency :-)

    I am now one of the gurus you describe. I agree with much of what you are saying. Having me here allowed this small agency to enter the online space but, even using my virtual team of freelancers and subcontractors, client demands are rapidly out stripping our collective ability to fake it.

    I’m not sure I agree with your last point, “If your staff is bright enough to work for you, they’re bright enough to figure out part of the digital marketing arsenal.” As oxymoronic as it sounds agency people are reluctant to change. In my opinion, to be successful an agency needs to hire some key staff, with the requisite skills, to inculcate the digital perspective.

  • http://musingonmarketing.com/ James

    Right after college I worked in Rock & Roll and worked some Van Halen shows. Later, after I got a job as an Account Executive at Ted Bates, the very conservative ad agency, a female friend and colleague from that time was working as their stage manager. She came to visit me at the agency decked out in black leather pants complete with David Lee Roth backside cutouts. Of course I had to give her a tour of the agency :-)

    I am now one of the gurus you describe. I agree with much of what you are saying. Having me here allowed this small agency to enter the online space but, even using my virtual team of freelancers and subcontractors, client demands are rapidly out stripping our collective ability to fake it.

    I’m not sure I agree with your last point, “If your staff is bright enough to work for you, they’re bright enough to figure out part of the digital marketing arsenal.” As oxymoronic as it sounds agency people are reluctant to change. In my opinion, to be successful an agency needs to hire some key staff, with the requisite skills, to inculcate the digital perspective.

  • http://nickyjameson.com/ Nicky Jameson

    I agree all parts of the organization understand digital marketing. They should also understand its importance and impact and, more importantly, their own role in it. But to do this they need to understand marketing and their role it it. I don’t find this is currently the case (at least not widely). Marketing – and therefore digital marketing and social media marketing – are siloed into the “Marketing Department” and unless they can flow outwards strategically, it will stay siloed.

    With regard to one guru doing/knowing it all – I agree with your points except the last one. In most organizations a team approach is used, indeed required. I’d be wary of any guru that says they can do it all, and for every component of their plan agencies should be asking about the execution. For the last point I agree with James. In house staff can’t always figure it out and sometimes don’t have the time or skills to do so… you need to have outside ideas and skills to complement theirs.
    Interesting post.

  • http://nickyjameson.com Nicky Jameson

    I agree all parts of the organization understand digital marketing. They should also understand its importance and impact and, more importantly, their own role in it. But to do this they need to understand marketing and their role it it. I don’t find this is currently the case (at least not widely). Marketing – and therefore digital marketing and social media marketing – are siloed into the “Marketing Department” and unless they can flow outwards strategically, it will stay siloed.

    With regard to one guru doing/knowing it all – I agree with your points except the last one. In most organizations a team approach is used, indeed required. I’d be wary of any guru that says they can do it all, and for every component of their plan agencies should be asking about the execution. For the last point I agree with James. In house staff can’t always figure it out and sometimes don’t have the time or skills to do so… you need to have outside ideas and skills to complement theirs.
    Interesting post.

  • Jason Baer

    Great comments guys, thank you.

    In terms of existing staff being able to handle it, I of course don’t advocate creating your own in-house Frankenstein guru. But, I do believe you can take a PR professional, or an account executive (or whatever) and train them to do a piece of the digital marketing puzzle. The key is to give them just one piece (SEO, PPC, email, etc.) and have them get comfortable with that single component.

  • Jason Baer

    Great comments guys, thank you.

    In terms of existing staff being able to handle it, I of course don’t advocate creating your own in-house Frankenstein guru. But, I do believe you can take a PR professional, or an account executive (or whatever) and train them to do a piece of the digital marketing puzzle. The key is to give them just one piece (SEO, PPC, email, etc.) and have them get comfortable with that single component.

  • Jason Baer

    Great comments guys, thank you.

    In terms of existing staff being able to handle it, I of course don’t advocate creating your own in-house Frankenstein guru. But, I do believe you can take a PR professional, or an account executive (or whatever) and train them to do a piece of the digital marketing puzzle. The key is to give them just one piece (SEO, PPC, email, etc.) and have them get comfortable with that single component.

  • http://twitter.com/mediadarlingkm/status/ mediadarlingkm
  • http://www.lunchboxcollective.com/ Richard

    Slow clap, clap.

    Kudos to you Jason for saying what so many agencies and web shops are afraid to say.

    Agencies and web shops need to focus on helping companies develop a clear strategic vision.

    Once that is accomplished individualized plans with metrics can be devised for each channel and small internal and external teams can be efficiently utilized to deliver results that inform and reinforce the strategy.

    Maybe you can share some additional insights on the difference between a strategy and a plan along with who needs to be on board to execute the plan.

  • http://www.lunchboxcollective.com/ Richard

    Slow clap, clap.

    Kudos to you Jason for saying what so many agencies and web shops are afraid to say.

    Agencies and web shops need to focus on helping companies develop a clear strategic vision.

    Once that is accomplished individualized plans with metrics can be devised for each channel and small internal and external teams can be efficiently utilized to deliver results that inform and reinforce the strategy.

    Maybe you can share some additional insights on the difference between a strategy and a plan along with who needs to be on board to execute the plan.

  • http://www.lunchboxcollective.com Richard

    Slow clap, clap.

    Kudos to you Jason for saying what so many agencies and web shops are afraid to say.

    Agencies and web shops need to focus on helping companies develop a clear strategic vision.

    Once that is accomplished individualized plans with metrics can be devised for each channel and small internal and external teams can be efficiently utilized to deliver results that inform and reinforce the strategy.

    Maybe you can share some additional insights on the difference between a strategy and a plan along with who needs to be on board to execute the plan.

  • http://duxmarketing.com/ Dux

    Hi,

    I’ll come across your website and found it more interesting in Internet Marketing and advertising company. I learn more, thanks for the information you share, i’ll come back often.

    Regards,

    Dux Marketing

  • http://duxmarketing.com/ Dux

    Hi,

    I’ll come across your website and found it more interesting in Internet Marketing and advertising company. I learn more, thanks for the information you share, i’ll come back often.

    Regards,

    Dux Marketing

  • http://duxmarketing.com Dux

    Hi,

    I’ll come across your website and found it more interesting in Internet Marketing and advertising company. I learn more, thanks for the information you share, i’ll come back often.

    Regards,

    Dux Marketing

  • letstalkandchat

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