The Hidden Cost of Not Investing in Expertise
Drawing inspiration from Charlie Munger’s insightful quote, “If you’re not paying for an agency, you’re already paying for an agency”, this blog underscores the often-overlooked costs businesses incur when they opt not to invest in professional marketing and analytics expertise.Lessons from Charlie Munger’s Wisdom
For small and midsize businesses (SMB) trying to stand up marketing efforts, this is common. Unfortunately, there are many instances where you might already be working with an agency that claims to be specialized in areas of digital marketing, but when diving a little deeper they aren’t bringing the value they should to the table.
As a result, this ends up costing the business dearly. We often see this for prospective clients and uncover many cases in our digital marketing audits.
4 Common Challenges of Minimal Expertise
There are many instances where businesses suffer without expertise and guidance. However, these four most common pain points cause businesses to inadvertently pay the price for skimping on specialized skills.
1. Ad Spend Waste From Targeting the Wrong Audience
Search engine ad platforms don’t always make it easy to understand exactly what you’re buying. Many people assume “keywords” are precise and that you’d show up for just that term, but that isn’t often the case. In reality, capturing potential customers can mean increasing brand awareness through unusual routes.
Depending on your settings, ad platforms like Google & Microsoft actually make some sweeping decisions about the terms you actually show up for. In many cases, those decisions lead to paid ads that don’t drive value.
Issue: Many businesses drain their paid media budgets by focusing on broad keyword data rather than delving into the specifics of search query data to find their targeted audience. Given rising costs and constrained marketing budgets, targeting the wrong audience will sink your marketing results no matter how good your messaging/product is.
Example: A B2B company selling electrical products to contractors might target the keyword “electrical building cables”, and show up for terms like the more relevant search queries like “solar wiring cables” or “electrical cables for DIY shed” which are most likely consumers looking for information to complete a small project as opposed to contractors who might instead search for something like “bulk electrical building cable prices.
Impact: This mismatch leads to irrelevant ad placements, lower conversion rates, and ultimately, wasted ad spend. It’s not uncommon for us to see 80-90% of spending misdirected in this fashion.
2. Losing Local Visibility Because of Unoptimized Business Profiles
I once heard of a Christmas tree farm selling their product 60% below market in order to attract customers. The problem was no one knew about it, and they didn’t show up anywhere in the search engine’s local listings.
For some businesses, appearing in local results for increased sales is very important if your customer needs to plan to travel to you.
Issue: Businesses often underestimate the power of a well-optimized online business profile, crucial for appearing in local search packs.
Example: A local hospital with an incomplete Google My Business profile, lacking critical information like operating hours, customer reviews, or updated contact details.
Impact: This oversight can result in lower visibility in local search results, especially in the ‘local pack’, leading to missed opportunities and reduced foot traffic.
3. Overwhelmed by Recent Web Analytics
Given the transitions to GA4 in 2023, many businesses are struggling to keep up with changes to web analytics. This can lead to missed opportunities to understand real time reporting, inaccurate data metrics, and over time, a poor understanding of user behavior.
We’ve worked with many businesses that didn’t make updates and are now flying blind about their website traffic. Still, even more businesses thought they addressed the GA4 migration, only to find their implementation had critical issues impacting their ability to track accurately.
Issue: The transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has its complexities, and a poorly configured GA4 can obscure vital insights.
Example: A retail website’s GA4 is not properly set up to track user journeys or conversion paths, leading to a lack of actionable data on customer behavior.
Impact: Without these insights, businesses struggle to optimize their online presence and marketing strategies, affecting growth and ROI.
4. Confusion About Underperforming Content
Oftentimes, businesses believe publishing new content regularly is enough to improve their website’s overall performance. However, great content is resource-intensive to create and maintain.
If users don’t see it, the content isn’t driving active value for your business. In many cases, there are issues with how content was put on the website ranging from not using search engine optimized (SEO) best practices to missed calls to action. Once those problems are addressed, there can be a massive impact on the content’s visibility and value from an organic search perspective.
Addressing these factors can help unlock the value of current and future web page content that will live on the website and dramatically enhance the ROI of the work in short order.
Issue: Content is king, but even the best content can be rendered ineffective by poor website design, impacting Google’s ability to crawl and rank the site.
Example: A financial consultancy has insightful blog content but a website with slow loading times, broken links, and poor mobile responsiveness.
Impact: Such technical flaws hinder search engine crawlers, leading to lower search rankings and reduced organic traffic, regardless of content quality.
Why Invest in Marketing and Web Analytics
These are one of many scenarios that illustrate the hidden costs of not investing in expert marketing and web analytics services. Businesses aiming to optimize their online presence and drive performance must recognize the value of professional expertise and think outside the box of traditional marketing.
In the digital age, cutting corners in these areas is not just a missed opportunity but a direct path to additional, unseen expenses. Remember, as Charlie Munger aptly said, not paying for professional help is, in itself, a cost.