Digital Marketing Agency
Why I Do What I Do | Explaining Complexity
By Wade Mann
In his epic TED Talk, Start with why – how great leaders inspire action, the writer and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek, outlines how most organizations focus on what they do but rarely concentrate on why they do what they do it.
As an entrepreneur, like many of you, it is easier to identify what I do for employment rather than why I’ve committed so much of my waking life to this work. It’s just what I do, right?
I am a marketing professional with particular expertise in copywriting. Why it is that I do this is less easy to diagnose. Am I compelled to do this because of my tortured childhood? Not really. I actually had a pretty good childhood compared to most, at least that I can remember.
Demanding and Invigorating
In the last year, I’ve identified more explicitly what drives me and why I’m passionate about my work as a business owner. I’ve been able to see more clearly what sets my business apart from others in my industry. I’ve recently been ghostwriting a book for a client, which has been exceptionally intricate, about a subject not well understood by the public. On one level, it’s been an exceedingly demanding project. Yet, it’s also been one of the most intellectually invigorating experiences of my career, helping me better understand what drives me as a professional writer.
I knew I loved to write in school, but I wasn’t quite sure how I’d make a living at it when I grew up. It’s been a blessing that there would be a technology shift at the exact time I’d come into adulthood—Most businesses today need a constant flow of written content on the Internet.
As you look at what marketers consider adequate copywriting on so many websites, the level of informative, entertaining, or good brand journalism still has much to be desired. Advertisers often aim to simplify their messaging into platitudinous marketing messages. In their quest for simplicity, they forsake the web’s multimedia nature and the opportunity that affords us to inform and educate consumers.
Trend Towards Minimalism
A few years ago, a trend started in the content marketing industry, where we began shifting away from blog-style websites towards a more minimalistic aesthetic. Web building software allowed us to design more pages and write fewer words. For a long time, to rank on Google, we threw as many words as we could at the problem. Now we seem to be trying to design our way out of the problem. We seem to be afraid of words. This fear of words ignores a key advantage the Google algorithm still offers. Words, when eloquently offered about a topic, can benefit a website. I’m not saying every page on a website has to have more than 1,000 words. But many companies are dumbing down their sites rather than making an effort to explain, inform, and help their customers understand the complex nature of what they do.
I’ve been fortunate to form a digital marketing agency here in Utah. I’ve realized what motivates me professionally and what sets us apart from other marketing agencies is our ability to explain complexity. My very personal love of the writing process is the driving force of that creative advantage as a firm.
Search Engine Optimization is Complicated and Fun
When I first got started in this business and learned the basics of SEO, it was apparent how complicated optimizing websites for search algorithms can be. It’s a highly technical process that requires one to sift through hundreds and even thousands of words, finding patterns, breaking those words into similar categories, creating a plan for the pages you will develop on a website. You are trying to map out a strategy around a set of keywords to efficiently rank a website on Google in the most efficient amount of time.
There isn’t an exact right way to create a keyword strategy for a particular business or topic, but there are many wrong ways to do it. If you’re a black and white thinker, expecting to find some “perfect” plan, you’ll never settle in on an approach, getting stuck in the data. People who understand the shifting subtly of words, allowing their plan to be “good enough,” with some room for improvement in the future, can succeed in SEO work.
I actually found this type of analysis fun. I was the type of person growing up who described my favorite homework assignment as a written essay or giving an oral presentation. I recognize that many people would describe these as their biggest fears in life. I’m a little unusual in this regard. But one person’s oddity can also be a gift. It’s lent itself to some opportunity at excelling at digital marketing work in the 21st century.
Digital Marketing is Tough to Teach to Others
I’ve tried to teach the skills of SEO to others. Analyzing websites, copywriting, and improving the quality of copy quality on a page to make it more engaging for a reader feels intuitive to me. Yet, these are formidable skills to teach to others. Some people have developed these talents and can do what I do. If they have the fundamental ability, they can develop the knowledge needed to become marketers. If they don’t have the essential capacity and passion for the work, they will never grow in the experience required, no matter how hard they may try. I suspect it’s the same in all industries and trades.
At a basic level, marketing professionals can comprehend certain types of complex information. Different kinds of information processing are required for every type of profession. Whether you’re a chemist, a contractor, or a chef, your brain must function in a particular way. All of our minds have different abilities to sort, organize, and sift through different complexity levels and manage them in our brains to do whatever distinct set of functions we require for our work. I recognize the complicated nature of my work and what that accomplishes. That work is significant. I shouldn’t undervalue what I offer to customers. You shouldn’t either.
Don’t Pretend What You Do Isn’t Complicated
Marketing is built on describing the unique need companies have to tell others what they do. I have an innate passion for explaining complex concepts, breaking them down for audiences, helping people understand what they did not comprehend before, engaging with organizations, and inspiring them to take action in meaningful ways in their lives.
This first means helping business owners accept the world’s intricate nature and what they do in it. We tend to pretend what we do as professionals are not complicated. Suppose what we do is worth doing at a professional level. In that case, it must be at a level of complexity that it needs to be explained to potential customers in marketing and sales material, whether through digital, print, or some other media. Pretending that our work’s complexity does not exist, lying about it, or exaggerating it away to customers as something merely simple is to undermine the value of what we offer.
There’s an assumption many businesses make that customers are afraid of complexity. Admitting that what you do, what you sell, or what you offer as an organization requires technical know-how will not scare away customers. It sells clients on what you do. Why? Because it builds trust.
What I Learned Selling Electric Bikes
I once worked for a company that sold electric bikes. To understand the business, I spent much time working with customers one-on-one, explaining to them how this newish technology worked. In Paco Underhill’s famous book, Why We Buy, about the science of retail shopping, he explains that the more time people spend in stores, the more likely they are to buy from those companies. So, in a sales situation, we shouldn’t be afraid of talking to people for as long as possible. The longer it takes, the more likely we are to sell something to a customer.
I noticed this trend selling bikes. The more time we spent with customers explaining how electric bicycle technology worked, the more likely we could sell a bike to that customer. People who were not techy or bicycle aficionados or athletic in nature would often buy bikes because they fell in love with our technical knowledge. They trusted our expertise.
Showing customers that what you do is not easy demonstrates the value of your brand. It’s imperative to help customers understand this fact if what you sell is relatively expensive and of high value.
What I’m explaining here can seem counterintuitive to many people in the sales world. You might think, wouldn’t complexity scare people away from making a decision? Aren’t people afraid of choices? When we offer too much complexity to people, can’t this scare people into a state of indecision? I don’t believe this is the case. What people are scared of is incompetence. Clear communication of complicated but valuable investment information is crucial. The more significant the investment, the more time and effort it takes to convey the necessary details.
What You Need from a Car Salesperson
Think about when you’ve gone to buy a car, and that salesperson has demonstrated a superior understanding of automobiles. They don’t need to know everything in the world about vehicles. Yet, they need to know more than you do. That sales individual needs to take the time to show their superior knowledge of the car you are interested in and how it compares with other vehicles from other brands. The sales process doesn’t need to take days. But that representative needs to spend at least a few hours explaining how to drive the car you are looking at and demonstrate every essential feature of the vehicle. They need to walk through how the loan is going to work. After the transaction is finalized, they need to teach you how to operate the sound system and sync the car with your smartphone. You need to trust that this person is giving you reasonably accurate information. In those few hours, the sales rep for that dealership needs to earn the sales commission.
Suppose you provide software to businesses, often a more costly investment to large companies than a car to a household. It’s paramount that you take far more time than a car salesman to demonstrate your product’s expertise and Understanding to your clients, educating them on what they need to know and how to use your product and services.
This marketing process starts with your website and other online content on YouTube and social media. It will likely involve many meetings one-on-one with your clients where your sales team members help customers understand your software’s intricacies and the value it supplies to them.
The Overly Simple Can Be an Indication of Fraud
In my career, I’ve seen all too often the tendency of people in business settings to turn what are inherently complex concepts into overly simplistic platitudes. Every time I hear someone attempting to make money with me suggest it will be easy, straightforward, dummy-proof, or without effort, I run for the hills.
The nature of the universe is complicated—Understanding it is endlessly challenging. Succeeding at anything requires enormous pain, trouble, risk, and struggle. So, don’t try to convince me you’ve got a quick or easy way for me to make money that isn’t fraudulent.
Making it Overly Simple Undercuts Value
Content marketing is of particular importance for industries with products or services that need a little extra explanation. Where the complexity of what that small business does is not evident, where the clients need to know more beyond the obvious face-value of a product and service to commit to a purchase, the importance of digital marketing becomes obvious.
But if you over simply what you sell and try or are unwilling to explain it for some reason, you are undercutting the value of your own products, services, and brand. You don’t really understand what you do, or why you do it in the first place.
Your Understanding of the Complexity of your Work Is the Key to Your Brand’s Value
When I’m looking at a potential client, I often ask myself whether that business owner buys-into the idea that there is a lot more that can be communicated to their customers than they have done in the past.
Suppose they think most customers aren’t interested in understanding what they do or learn about their industry’s intricacies. In that case, they are unlikely to have the patience to invest in SEO month-after-month.
If you seem uninterested in what I do, how I do it, or why I do it, we may not be good partners. If you want easy answers to what are in actuality complicated questions, you won’t be happy with what we do as a digital agency.
Long-term Process of Marketing
We work with clients for many months. What we do can’t be accomplished in a couple of weeks or a month. There aren’t easy fixes to helping clients build a successful brand or become found online through search engines. Writing a book often takes about a year, and then you have to market it successfully. These are long term projects without an end in sight. You’re never going to win, whatever that is. The goal is to keep playing the game.
More than Making a Living
We all want to make a good living at what we do, but there has to be something more significant to our intention than the financial incentive. Be it a business or nonprofit, your organization must be motivated to make the world a little better in some way. You must also understand why you do what you do, beyond paying your bills. If you don’t, maybe we can help you clarify that.
Finding Interest in the Content We Create
Ultimately, we as a marketing company must be interested in what you do to continue explaining your brand to the world month after month and year after year. If we don’t have an innate interest in what you do, we won’t be a good match for your organization.
This is one of the reasons why we focus on serving the mental health industry. As a marketing firm, we know we are passionate about this subject and in our local communities here in Utah. We know we can create interesting content for our customers and their potential clients trying to connect with them. We also know there is a demand for meaningful engagement between providers and the public in this field, and we want to promote that connection in our state.
Mental health isn’t the only industry or organization we will work with. If we find what you do of curiosity, if we know we can continuously create content month-after-month for you of the highest quality, perhaps we’d be the right agency to work with you. Talk to us today and see if our marketing method works for your business model.