As you might expect, I know quite a few other consultants. One thing with which I think each of us struggles is our positioning statement: what is it that we do and why is how we do it different (and better) and others. My friends in the marketing agency business face the same challenge. There are many firms chasing the same pieces of business. How are we to stand out?
What I’ve seen over the last decade has been the rise and fall of various segments. Consultants and agencies focus on the next shiny niche. There were SEO specialists and then SEO changed. There’s far less one needs to do on an on-going basis (other than create great, interesting content) to warrant an investment in SEO over time. Paid search is a sector that continues to flourish but increasingly it’s more part of the “traditional” marketing mix. Does one really need a specialist who may or may not understand the entirely of the marketing mix?
The ones that bother me the most (I’m not sure why, but they do) are the “ninjas” and “gurus.” It’s amazing how they shift from new segment to new segment as marketing evolves. Maybe they really are ninjas – they move very fast and somehow always seem to be selling the next shiny thing. Of course, as things are evolving there is no real right or wrong and it’s hard to know what demonstrable results are expected.
You can see this today. Content marketing seems to be the flavor of the month. How many of the folks selling content marketing were selling SEO two years ago? How many of the loudest voices were just as loud on another topic when that topic was emerging? I don’t mean to single out my consulting or agency brethren. Conferences, software vendors, and others are just as guilty. What we all need to be doing is thinking about the fundamental principles of marketing and business. In my 35+ years in business those things haven’t changed very much.
Self-promotion and “hot” positioning are great. Fantastic, measurable results are even better. I think maybe we need to kill off a few ninjas and deal with people who practice sound business. What do you think?