Ian Lurie // Feb 15 2008
I may be engaging in excessive honesty in this post. If you’re a client, or thinking of becoming one, you’re getting a look at the closest thing to dirty laundry that Portent has. Some folks might tell me this is a bad idea. I disagree – there’s a valuable lesson here.
We got fired today.
Well, it was a mutual firing, actually. The reason: We were too slow to respond to requests for things like a new image on the home page, or edits to an existing page. The client wanted 24-hour-turnaround. We couldn’t deliver that. Our attempt to do so took away from our marketing efforts.
I said so, and we decided to go our separate ways.
So here’s the question: What’s the internet marketing agency’s role?
We’re not a job shop. We can do things like add graphics to web sites, and we often do because we’re the only ones who can. But that’s not our primary mission.
I don’t mean to imply that an internet marketing agency doesn’t build web pages. Of course we do. But we do so in the context of our real job:
In this case, we started to drift into the job shop role, and it destroyed the relationship.
We got some amazing results for the client: More leads (45% increase over 4 months) of higher quality and at a lower cost. That was our job.
So this is a hard lesson: If you settle into the role of site maintainer, the overarching goal is forgotten, and the successes get lost.
You can keep your role a little clearer:
There’s no easy answer. After 13 years you’d think I’d have one. But you can’t keep big clients without doing some production work. And when they realize you can do all the work that drives them crazy, every client will pile it on.
So, my solution: In the mind of your clients, build a big, fat wall between your production and marketing functions. They must be kept separate.
Ian Lurie is founder and CEO of Portent Inc., an internet marketing agency that has provided internet marketing, including PPC, SEO, social and analytics services, since 1995. Read More