I went to get my car maintained today. And what was supposed to be a ~$400 visit turned into a $1,700 visit.
It turns out my front brakes were at the end of their life and my rear rotors (?) were rusted out.
Whatever that means.
And when they called to confirm the new price, I had no idea whether they were telling the truth about my car.
Or whether the price they quoted was competitive.
Or even what questions to ask about what my options were. So, I did as most non-car people do and said, “okay”.
What’s the moral here? Well, even though I trusted the car dealership I went to, I still had no way to verify what they were telling me.
And as someone who’s not an expert on cars, I didn’t even know what questions to ask. All I could do was put blind faith into what they were telling me.
Which is fine this time. I don’t suspect foul play and I assume they are honest.
But the feeling spending thousands of dollars—without any clue whether I needed it today, what my options really were, or what half the things they did for my car even means—is not a pleasant one.
Which leads me to my point: your clients are not marketing experts. They have various experiences accrued over the years (often including several bad ones). But they’re not technicians.
And yet, every month they pay freelancers, agencies, and consultants costing their business tens or hundreds of thousands per year on the basis of trust and as much due diligence as they can muster.
These are people selling advice (what to do/fix) but also implementation (which they get paid more for).
Which is all the more reason we (as an industry) need more marketing advisors. Neutral, third party professionals who can be the advocate for their clients. People who have a fiduciary standard of care for their clients.
When you buy something you don’t understand once and a while, you can get by on a little blind faith.
But when you’re spending tens of thousands or more per month on your marketing, it would be nice to have a neutral expert who doesn’t get paid more to do the implementation work.
Getting paid to give advice AND sell implementation naturally forces clients to assess your judgement based on your interests and become their own advocate.
But they should not need to, nor are they equipped to do it properly.
In my view, selling advice and NOT implementation makes you a truer partner. You have no financial interest in suggesting any more than they need.
The difference is subtle, but if you think of it from your clients’ perspective, it’s valuable.