Why You Shouldn’t DIY Your Marketing

We all know the reasons why some consumers prefer to attempt to do their own home improvements. It’s less expensive. They can do it at their own pace and on their own time. Even if they’re willing to work with a pro, they aren’t sure who they should hire, whether they will be reliable, and whether they will get the results they want. And besides, on the face of it, it really doesn’t seem all that difficult, right?

Interestingly, those are many of the same arguments you as a designer may use when deciding to DIY your marketing. But as with design, appearances can be deceiving, and you get what you pay for.

My colleague Ken Lewis, managing partner with Client Expander, which provides digital marketing counseling and services exclusively to the interior design industry, admits that “marketing is not rocket science.” However, he cautions, “it can be complicated,” especially in regards to digital marketing where there are so many options and so many pitfalls.

Ken likens a small business to an orchestra or sports team. As the owner, principal or CEO, your job is to hire the right person to act as the conductor or coach of the marketing team, someone who already has the experience and know-how to choose the right members for that team, to develop the right strategy for your firm and your goals, and to implement and follow through on your marketing plan.

The person you want to work directly with, says Ken, is the marketing manager. It’s that person’s job to make sure that the team delivers. Just like it’s the conductor’s job to ensure the orchestra plays correctly and coherently. Or the coach’s job to make sure the team is following the playbook and executing to win. Find someone who knows the design business and understands what your vision is. Then let them guide you on how best to use marketing to achieve that. “It is more efficient,” explains Ken, “demands less time and responsibility from you, and is more profitable in the long run.”

Marketing does not produce results immediately. It takes time and persistence to build a brand, grow audience awareness, develop followers and fans, amass referrals, and spread the word about the great work you do. You can’t just put in a few hours a month or buy a couple of ads and expect to see a big boost in inquiries. A marketing manager and team have your back. They are working and monitoring constantly to promote your business and attract new followers. They iterate on what they learn, and consistently improve your messaging. It’s what they do, just as great design is what you do.

As you would with any hire, decide on a budget and take time to investigate what options are available to you. There are a range of providers, from freelance marketing consultants and co-ops to full-service firms like Ken’s. Think of it as an investment in your business and your future. After all, you probably already know what results you get when you try to DIY your marketing.

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