What’s the cost of free help?

There’s a certain empowerment that comes with search and social network marketing. It can be DIY in the sense that both are designed for the first-time marketer. Ease-of-use is king, and you can access endless tutorials to shine a light on the mysteries of ad spend and analytics.

But there’s also a seemingly incontinent flow of hacky marketing articles (‘DON’T USE FACEBOOK ADS UNTIL YOU READ THIS!’ or ‘FOOLPROOF WAY TO EARN THOUSANDS OF FOLLOWERS!’) to wade through.

And on top of all that, it’s become increasingly more likely you will need to contend with the ‘free marketing expert’ services these platforms offer.

All space is ad space, and the Internet is no different. If you’re a business owner, your business is probably digitally facilitated by a colossal search engine and an equally colossal social media network. As the highest trafficked sites here on the world wide web, both of these giants have clued in to their unparalleled reach and harnessed it for the marketing sphere. More and more users are reporting receiving emails that look a little bit like this:

Hey user,

I’m John Doe, the free account strategist/marketing expert you never knew you had.

We want to make sure you get the most from your ad spend, so we’re offering you a free consultation personalised to your business.

Also, your account is seriously messed up. It’s totally misconfigured and we need to get in touch right now or your hard-earned ad spend will go down the toilet.

Schedule a free call immediately to save your business from spontaneous combustion.

Warmest regards,
John Doe.

Okay, they don’t look exactly like that. But that’s how they sound. Sometimes the wisdom imparted from these services is totally at odds with your own research, and sometimes it really helps. So whose advice do you listen to? Well, to answer that, we need to consider something else.

Who is benefitting from this service, and why is it free?

 Your digital advertising feeds a machine – an immense machine whose one goal is relevancy to humans. The more information it has, the smarter it becomes. Consultation calls like this are designed to show you best practice – that is, the best way to set up, configure and run your advertising account on their platform. When you run your account according to best practice, the machine is running smoothly.

But best practice is subjective. And sometimes all it leads to is – you guessed it – a bigger ad budget. It’s also worth noting the revenue growth for some of these search engines is plummeting year-on-year even though more new products are being rolled out than ever before, and some social networks are experiencing issues with user disenchantment. You might be spending more and generating more leads, but those leads could be totally irrelevant to your business.

There’s also the small matter of personal experience. A call from ‘your account strategist’ or ‘marketing expert’ happens in a 30-minute allotment, and it happens at a call centre in the outermost reaches of the globe. You can only cover so much ground, and it’s unlikely they have a personal connection to you, your city and your market.

Walking in and speaking to real humans who know the landscape of your business is a totally different experience.

Traditionally when we need to make decisions about investments, we engage an intermediary like a broker. That’s because a direct relationship can often lead to a power imbalance. You don’t want to go straight to a large insurance corporation, because you may not trust their advice. You don’t want to go straight to a bank for a mortgage for the same reason. Big interest lies where big money lies.

Agencies like Roobix are the ‘brokers’ of the marketing world. We work between you and powerful advertising platforms because we’re in a position to offer more independent advice. We don’t have a platform to sell, so we won’t be pushing you to use it. We have a flat fee no matter what – no commission, no kickback.

And we know when you’re being fed a load.

There’s nothing wrong with a giant reaching out to help – their staff know the ins and outs of that platform better than anybody else, and free advice is free advice.

But it certainly conjures up a few questions.

Our motivation is to help small and medium businesses harness their marketing potential.
What is theirs?