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Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter


Idea Pool

I’m the World’s Worst “Consultant.”

Mary Schmidt

May 20, 2014

No. Really, I will tell you all the reasons to not hire me.  (And I loathe the word “consultant.” Always have. But…)  For example:

At your stage in development, you’re better served by spending the money on actual sales efforts, improving your product, traveling to meet with customers, etc. (Customer meetings and biz networking are two of the best “marketing” tactics. Of course, you need to do some upfront qualification and set goals for yourself.).  I’ve refunded retainers before—rent comes before advice. If your doors aren’t open, you sure can’t sell anything.

You don’t need a consultant. You need a good accountant…or attorney…or procurement specialist…or…(I don’t need any more consultants! I need people who do things!. True quote from a—um, paying— client.)

There are about a billion basic marketing (business strategy, social media, etc.) books out there—go to the library. You don’t even have to buy ‘em. Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People,  is as timely today as it was when first published in 1936. (You don’t even need to sign up for the classes—read the books. Really. Maybe buy an old-fashioned paper copy so you can scribble in the margins. Get your synapses going.) Ditto anything written by Peter Drucker. Read/research.  Then, if you want to move past that, maybe I can help. 

You don’t need to be “branded” or “rebranded.” You need a nice, unembarrassing logo, a basic website (I can refer you to people who can do that), maybe a basic professionally done (clean graphics, consistent fonts) marketing piece. Your “brand” is what you do, who you are. There are, of course, consultants out there that are happy to take thousands upon thousands of dollars for workshops. However, key word in that should be “work”—not boilerplate advice or fancy-schmancy high-falutin’ consultant talk about crafting images and such. A logo never closed a deal and a brochure isn’t a sale.  Your “brand” is whatever your customers think—not what I or anybody else tells you.  (“Branding” is Sooo  Yesterday)

I don’t give boilerplate, “easy” feel-good advice. I can be a real downer. There are no simple steps to surefire success. I’ll tell you things you really don’t want to hear.  Of course, this tough love approach is also why I have repeat clients. They either love it, or don’t.  Just as you want to be loved by your customers or clients. Which means you’ve got stand out and up. Own your stuff. Be unafraid to be you. (Tough Love for Entrepreneurs: Three Tips.)

I will not magically and instantly change your life. I don’t have all the answers. And what works for one client doesn’t necessarily work for another. I can actually be wrong on occasion. And, when all is said and done—it’s your business. You have to own it, in all senses of the word. (I once went to a seminar where the patronizing “expert” told me—before he spoke—that he was going to change my life! Uh. Huh. He didn’t. He didn’t even give me any new ideas. Basic stuff re media and PR. [See above re books…oh yeah, he also wrote a not-bad book about basics. wink ] ) 

Have I driven you away yet? Still here? Then here’s a great list from Forbes about 7 ways to tell the difference between a real expert and a fake.

Related posts from the archives:
But, What’s Your Process, Mary?
Are You Listening to the Right People
Why You Shouldn’t Hire Me as a Twitter Expert (My follower count is now up to over 200. Of which I believe about 1/2 may be actual people. And about ten actually read my tweets smile  But, hey, if they’re the right ten…) 
Why “Branding” Shouldn’t Get Any Respect
Branding Myths
The One Sure-Fire NO FAIL Success Method for Start-Ups!
Just What Do You Do, Mary?

With a H/T to Benson Hendrix for my blog fodder of the day. smile

In Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks


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Social Media Isn't Free, Easy or Magic.

If one of the self-anointed experts contacts you, pitching magical thinking, ask:

1. What results can I expect if I work with you? (Note: Twitter followers aren't necessarily customers.)

2. What kind of time will I have to invest? (Social media, properly done, is all about personal relationships. You with your customers...and a good relationship takes time.)

3. How do I integrate social media tools with my current operations? (Your salespeople need to know what you're saying on Facebook. Your customer service process and policies should be consistent across the board, from phone to Twitter.)

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