SEO and Digital Media Is it all just a huge rip off?

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As I sat across from a Business manager this morning, I nearly collapsed on the spot when I saw what this particular organisation was paying for a single digital media campaign. As I’m one that will not hesitate to tell people that you get what you pay for, I was utterly dumbstruck by the figures before my eyes.

 I had been called in to offer some advice in a situation a little like shutting the stable door loooooong after the horse had bolted. He glanced over at me quizzically when I gulped for breath and asked in a slightly higher than usual pitch exactly what golden bells and diamond studded whistles were going to be attached to this particular digital campaign. I was given a copy of the PowerPoint presentation and took a copy back to the office to cogitate over the possibilities – and probabilities.

 The presentation is FULL of what if’s and the campaign strategies rely heavily on the client. The client is expected to connect the agency with the relevant partners.It appears that the agency is being paid for the (rather mundane)ideas and the client is expected to provide the rest of the resources. The outline of the strategy is based on the platforms they will use and the strategies they will offer in order to facilitate the ingress of funds. But…… 

There is no clear demarcation of how the campaign is going to be targeted at different population sectors nor the implementation of calls to action. Because of the confidentiality of this particular request for advice, I cannot divulge ANYTHING….YET. 

What I do however see is a client that does not know what they should be spending and has no idea of the value of the quotes they are being given. I also see an agency grabbing the opportunity to cash in on a number of big names and losing sight of business ethics and objectives in the process. My greatest fear for the client is whether this agency is in fact going to be able to produce the goods. While we would have undoubtedly used the same or similar digital strategies and certainly encapsulated to some extent their approach, we would have by now identified different target groups and included a strategy as to specifics in terms of how we expect to employ a call to action for each of the different target groups.

 So many businesses seek to dip their toes in the digital media jungle. SO many get lied to and conned by fly by nighters and then there are the bigger guys, the agencies that by the very name they bear feel it is ok to overcharge. Having had a look at the brief, I see some really bright flashing lights. While we do not have a massive following – our social media is active and we can be contacted without a very long wait through any of our social media channels. The BIG NAME agency involved has what I woul termin client speak remedial needs for their social media. How can you sell a product you’re not using yourself?

The agency claims some big South African clients. Their legacy is however quite poor. When you build a campaign for a client, achieving the end result is obviously the objective, but does the client enjoy a long term legacy or will their visibility gradually melt away into obscurity?

I was shocked when at yet another presentation, a prospective client told me that she was being charged R5000 for 5 tweets per day – and nothing else……

Dont give me the exponential reach stuff bla bal bla, because actually ignorant clients don’t understand that stuff….. Many dive into the behemoth of Social Media because they think thats what they should be seen to be doing, when in fact its like doing DIY open heart surgery on your marketing strategy with only a medical dictionary to get you through…..

I refer to the SEO snake oil article that can be found here and I now see with absolute clarity why the bigger companies are balking at following the rest of the world into the digital frenzy that is out there.

I will say with absolutely no fear that if Shoprite, and Edcon and the other large corporates are investing more than R500 000 per month into digital media management (Have they actually defined what that entails I wonder, or is that term as fluid as the perception of one manager compared to the next?) – Then somebody counting the pennies has been conned and please give us a call so we can disabuse you of your errors. Woolworths on the other hand have got the best retail Social Media presence Ive seen in SA, so whatever they’re spending, its a good investment, but theyre till a little behind the curve.

Campaigns are a separate matter and if youre looking for a ROI, then you need to pay your agency on a commission basis. I know commission is a dirty word, but if your agency’s bread and butter depends on it and they know what they’re doing, then trust me they will outperform your wildest dreams because the bottomline dependson it.

The money matters and if you dont want to throw a whole lot of greenbacks into a hole, check your stuff out. AT the very least if the agency youre talking to doesnt have social media activity worth noting……I would recommend that you leave…