Bundling or packaging services is a tried and true method of trying to show value at different price points. I bet you’ve seen it before: The ‘Gold Package’ comes with X and Y, and the ‘Platinum Package’ comes with a little bit more.
I was at a convention this weekend where internet marketing agencies were selling their services and using the ‘package’ model.
I completely understand why they do it. The biggest objection I face as an internet marketing consultant for small businesses is having to answer the, “what do I get for my money,” question.
Small business owners often feel the need to have a prescribed list of deliverables in hand. But when it comes to internet marketing, this practice of purchasing a bundle or a package just doesn’t make sense.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
No two businesses are exactly alike or face the same challenges at the same time. Even companies in the same industry will be at different phases of growth or have different needs.
A marketing package that comes with exactly X, Y, and Z automatically assumes your business is exactly like the others who buy the same package.
Imagine going to your doctor with an illness only to find a menu of 3 treatment packages. Does it make sense that every condition falls into one of three packaged treatments? Of course not. Why is your marketing any different?
Your small business has a condition or a problem, and you need marketing to solve it. Why would you subject yourself to a preconceived plan that doesn’t take your specific issues into consideration?
Packages Remove Thought & Strategy
When I sit down to discuss the marketing challenges facing a small business owner, I have to gain an understanding of how their business works.
Once I understand a company’s goals, what they’re currently doing and how it’s working (or not), and the resources they have at their disposal, I can formulate a plan (unique to them) for how they can achieve their desired outcome.
Marketing packages implement the exact same strategy for everyone. Sure, the tactics might change. You can write different things in a blog or post differently to social media, but the assumption is still there in a marketing package that those will somehow work for everyone.
What Happens When It Doesn’t Work?
As much as I would love to say that everything we marketers do works right away… that’s simply not the case. When implementing a plan for my clients, there are times when we must assess and realign what we’re doing in order to succeed.
Predefined packages assume success, and usually have no room for change.
Packages Encourage ‘Set It & Forget It’
As a consultant, I’m evaluating my clients’ marketing on a daily basis. I’m checking analytics, assessing how content is ranking, addressing social media engagement, and constantly moving pieces to make the big picture make sense.
Internet marketing packages follow the plan: Write a blog post every week, tweet four times, etc.
I’ve worked for plenty of agencies before, and nothing pleases the top brass more than knowing they’ve transitioned an account to the autopilot phase.
Your marketing — MARKETING — becomes nothing more than grunt work for a team that doesn’t even have to think about you. You’ve agreed to the work that they told you needs to be done, and they’re doing it.
When a major change happens in Google, most of the companies who have you on a package are safe from reprisal. I’ve heard more than once, “Why didn’t you do X to protect me from this new algorithm change?” The agency simply replies, “We only address Y.”
The Rules Are Always Changing.
Google considers over 200 different elements when they look at how to rank a website. These factors are in constant motion and change almost every week.
For over a decade I have made a career out of following how this industry changes. If nothing ever changed, there wouldn’t be a need for marketing consultant or even agencies. Eventually everyone would just be doing the exact same thing and no one would ever have an edge over anyone else….
… wait a minute, isn’t that kind of what packages do? They put you on an even playing field… yet there technically isn’t one. You’re placed into a disadvantaged playing field!
Internet marketing is dynamic, and often organic in nature. The pieces are always moving, the rules are always changing, and a strategy is needed.
Buying marketing services in a package may seem well-intentioned. You’ll have a list of deliverables, know what you’re paying for quickly at a glance, and honestly it’s sometimes just easier to feel like you can sit back and let someone else do the work.
But to truly get the results you expect from internet marketing, agility is required. Any marketing professional will tell you that the process is custom to you, involved — yes, that means you’ll be participating in the process — and can never be made to fit into a predefined plan.
You need a strategist, and someone who will be your internet marketing consultant with you on all areas of your business — not just the ones you paid them to look at.