There are many ways to consult. Many people offering services around social media and online marketing are flat out running companies’ programs as an outsourced hired gun. Other social media marketing agencies are writing high level strategy docs and handing them over to an agency of record for execution. These models are just fine. We tend to prefer a partner approach, and here’s why.
At New Marketing Labs, we work with our clients to understand their goals, where they are at present with their online efforts, and which needles we can help them move in the business environment. Once we’ve assessed, we draw the landscape that surrounds our partner’s goals. Once we do that, we educate. After education comes execution, with experimentation and then course correction.
It’s those last two parts that are hard to do when you just hand off the reins or work from a static document.
In writing this, I’m hoping to show you what we think about when we think about doing social media, so that you have a sense of how we operate as a prospective partner for your organization. Colin Bower, my principal at New Marketing Labs said it best: “You like to tell people we teach them to fish, but really, we’re more like a chartered fishing expedition company. We find the best fishing holes, help you get the poles in the water, show you some of our techniques, and then we let go only when you say let go. Even then, we’re nearby to help you, if you get into a bind.”
I loved this. I’ve been talking about it with people for weeks and weeks and weeks. Because he’s right. In our worldview, the value we can add comes from the fact that we’re deep in the space, we’re a living laboratory of what’s going on, what’s working, what’s not all that hot, and what will really set your goals on fire. And we stay right close to the experience so that we can be helpful the whole way through.
That might not fit every company’s corporate culture. But when we recently picked up SAS as a new partner, we received quite the compliment, insofar as they told us that they tend to do most of their work in-house, and rarely work with consultants.
It’s our goal in 2010 to make our clients into partners at New Marketing Labs, and to work even closer on projects that execute well and show tangible results. We’ve got lots to share, and I hope to keep up that conversation.
How about you? Does this kind of partnership make sense? Do you see your company working more loosely with your online marketing consultants? How are you building your business relationships when it comes to social media and online marketing?