Having worked for both the client side and the agency side I’ve heard and said many things that are “best practice” and “good advice.” Of course I was always right, ok that’s a lie, I’m sure I gave bad advice at times just like everyone else, I would’ve thought it was a good idea at the time but we can’t always be right (gasp!). So how do you figure out what is good advice or bad advice? How do you know if the “trusted adviser” you work with is actually giving you good information?
Let’s look at signs you are getting bad advice:
- They speak in absolutes. Nothing is quite as simple as “always and never” in this world. For example, your subscriber base may be responsive to three emails a week, they may not though. How do you find out, by testing and giving them choices in their subscription preferences. If a consultant marches in and says “never” or “always” to your sending frequency they don’t show much knowledge of your situation.
- They compare you to the “industry” at large. Let’s face it, as much as we all wish there was such a thing as “industry” benchmarks that really did apply to what our companies do and who they are speaking to so we could compare apples to apples there just aren’t. Be smart, benchmark against your own performance and be discerning, if you plan to use industry benchmarks know who is considered in this “industry” you are comparing yourself to. Understand if it’s a true comparison or a thumb in the wind.
- They do not understand the technology. Let me be clear here, your strategy consultant may not be a Marketo-whiz or an Eloqua-guru but they should know what the technology is capable of and how you can best optimize your use of it. In broad brush-strokes they should understand the tools to recommend what you need for your specific situation and if need be, they should be able to help you find the technical expertise to fulfill your needs. If they cannot help you understand what you need to get the job done give them the boot.
At the end of the day the key is to find a partner or strategist (either internal resource or external) who really can dig in and be specific. Speaking in platitudes and generalizations will get you exactly no where.