I found myself traveling this week.  Wanting to maintain appearances for my dear mother, I strolled into a local, haircut chain establishment.  Coincidentally, my “stylist” was the owner, a man who bought into the franchise.  As one must divulge personal matters to hair stylists, I mentioned my interest in all things online marketing and inquired about his stores’ efforts.  By the end of the ordeal, I was looking fresh and ready for a “Yelping in my Beemer” video as well as filled with a few thoughts regarding online marketing and tailored, consulting services.  As many marketers but few clients understand, online, one size does not fit all.

I Want That! Wait. Do I Want That?

The evolution of the Web has granted us with a multitude of ways to market online: search engine optimization, social media optimization, reputation management, public relations, and then some.  What stops or starts a small business owner from desiring a championed service?  An experienced consultant helps.  The business owner confessed being in a state of confusion, expressing the difficulty of understanding options at hand and making distinctions between them to make the best choices for his business.

I empathize with online marketing novices; information can seem conflicting.  Let’s use social media participation as an example.  A short while ago, marketing information regarding where consumers get local business information, was released to the public, reflecting poor social media leverage.  I blogged about it, urging small businesses not get discouraged by the numbers.  This week, other data was released regarding how consumers interact with brands on social sites.  This set of data would certainly inspire my interest in social media as a small business owner.  If you’re an owner, how do you interpret the somewhat conflicting sentiments of data to make decisions for your brand?  An experienced consultant helps.

How Does it Fit?

Online marketing practitioners make suggestions and implementations for clients, yet the latter group is crucial in tailoring a campaign’s success.  While practitioners place focus on understanding the Web, marketing world, and associated tools and trends, clients are most insightful regarding idiosyncrasies aligned to respective industries; consultants can offer advice and suggestions, but clients can help matters by offering their own insight.

For instance, I suggested the hair chain owner use Twitter to spread exposure.  Since he was part of a chain, a brand-named account was out of the question, yet he mentioned his revenue’s high dependency on repeat customers.  Immediately, I asked if his individual stylists had social accounts.  He had no idea.  I suggested his stylists all get accounts and start engaging new and repeat customers on Twitter; since repeat business is so crucial, ensuring customers are viewed as individuals and receive customized treatment is essential.  He liked the idea and said he would make motions to put that into effect next week.  If he didn’t give me that crucial element of information about the importance of repeat customers, my ability to help him would have been limited.  Don’t forget to let your vendor know how your campaign fits and don’t be hesitant to make your own suggestions regarding a custom-fitted campaign.