Have you been hurt in an advertising crash-and-burn? Were you financially damaged by someone else’s negligence? If you, or a loved one, have been hurt by mismanaged marketing, you may be an “Advertising-Victim.” Contact us today for a free website audit and start to put the pieces of your marketing back together again! Read on to find out more about advertising-victims.
The Limits of Coffee and Machine-Learning
Being the nerdy geek-marketer I am, during coffee time this morning I did some research on AI-generated content, recurrent neural networks (RNN), LSTM (long short-term memory), and machine-learning software. Fascinating!
A little bit of research and a few keystrokes later I was trying to take a shortcut in writing this blog article by using a content-creator algorithm. I named my new AI friend “Judy.”
I figured, at the very least, I’ll get a junky, machine-generated article that I can smooth out and rely on the human proofer to tweak. That didn’t go so well: the first few rounds with Judy looked like a cut-and-paste letter from a serial killer.
Perhaps I was asking too much of Judy and needed to scale back my assignments, add some specificity and feed Judy better input (junk in, junk out). My hopes of streamlining the writing process would still be alive and well if she could produce a few quality paragraphs I could knit together.
Alas, the more Judy and I worked together, the more I noticed her flaws and limitations; but one thing Judy got right was that, at every turn when trying to produce content about law firms and marketing, her technology-driven mind synthesized the concepts of “Attorneys” and “Marketing” and came up with “Advertising-Victim.”
If we go back to the idea of ‘junk in, junk out,’ what machine-learning input is causing Judy to translate “lawyer” and “marketing” as “Advertising-Victim”?
I think I know the answer all too well, and maybe you do, too.
Signs You’re an Advertising-Victim
Having spent more than a decade receiving calls from attorneys across the country who had been taken advantage of by slick salesmen, in 2015 I wrote an article entitled “Practical Tips for Holding your SEO Company Accountable.”
Judy’s interpretation of “attorney” and “marketing” as “Advertising-Victim” made it clear that the article is as relevant today as when I first wrote it — with the added caveat that so many new ad platforms have taken center stage that search engine optimization (SEO) is not the only way attorneys can be taken advantage of.
So, how can you avoid Judy’s conclusion? How do you know whether you’re an Advertising-Victim? Here are a few obvious signs that should trigger a red-flag:
- Contract Terms: If you don’t know what your agency is doing for you and you don’t know what you’re supposed to get for each dollar in your agreement, this is a sure sign something is amiss. Web marketing and technology is not so complex that it can’t be itemized and spelled out.
- Impulse Buy: Maybe you think about your advertising only the morning before the Yellow Page or Digital Ad agent shows up. If you feel locked in or pressured during the discussions with an ad agency, you’re about to become an Advertising-Victim.
If you feel overwhelmed and put-upon by multiple phone calls, direct mail, text messages and emails after speaking with a marketing agency – RUN. You’re about to become an Advertising-Victim.
- Crowded Room: If you’ve selected an agency because you’ve “heard good things about them” from all the OTHER FIRMS IN YOUR MARKET AREA, that should tell you something… and it isn’t good. Is it a sound decision to expect an agency to focus on YOUR marketing, while also managing the online advertising for all your competitors? What if your client had multiple injury attorneys on the case? (More is better, right?) Not. It would get a little crowded, and each attorney’s effectiveness would be limited.
If you’re serious about Web marketing, don’t work with an agency who handles the advertising and marketing of your competitors, too.
- Buying What They Want, Not What You Need: Do you know and understand what your Web marketing strategy is? What role does SEO play? How is that balanced with PPC advertising? Is social media marketing part of your strategy, and why?
A gentle reminder: A social media agency is going to sell you …. wait for it … social media. An agency primarily pushing PPC advertising is … waiting … going to sell you pay-per-click advertising. A company focused only on SEO is going to offer only search engine optimization strategies.
Currently, what we see most often are marketing dollars being misallocated to the wrong marketing strategies, because that was what was sold to the attorney, not what was best for their overall marketing plan. That’s good for the agency, but it can make you an Advertising-Victim.
- Special Treatment: Did you receive a Montblanc pen in the mail? How about an iPad? If you received a “gift” (a.k.a., marketing ploy), it should raise your awareness that you’re about to be an Advertising-Victim.
At the very least, this type of special treatment should indicate you’re about to pay a higher premium for the agency’s services, leaving less of your marketing dollars working for you and more of your cash paying for the Montblanc to be sent to their next Advertising-Victim.
Recovery for Advertising-Victims
If any of the above criteria apply to your current Web marketing situation, unfortunately, you might be an Advertising-Victim. This includes feeling bullied or pressured by your agency; being uninformed about your contract terms or deliverables; or suspecting that your interests are not being prioritized while the agency works with your competitors.
The first step in recovery is awareness and acknowledgement. The above observations are things to watch for and can help shine light on the need for a possible change.
For now, I’ll part ways with Judy the machine-learning content algorithm and remain in the prehistoric days of tippy-tap, tippity-tap tap tap.
Watch for our next article: Breaking the Dysfunctional Marketing Cycle.