One of the problems we see with a lot of clients is duplication of systems, which we have written about before.
This most often occurs when you are working with some kind of coach, whether that be a business coach, a coach for a particular type of program, a wellness or abundance coach, or any other kind of coach that might interact with your business. Coaches can help you bring great results to your business, and we have a few that we personally recommend if you’re in need. We also know these coaches aren’t often as experienced with ALL of the available marketing automation software that we are, just by the very nature of our different jobs.
What this can lead to is the coach recommending their one pre-set system which uses very specific marketing software to accomplish one particular goal. That goal may not be the very best goal for your business. And that particular marketing system may not be the very best to get you there.
Is that old saying “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”– Abraham Maslow
What can happen for our client – you – is that you are encouraged to implement new marketing software systems to accomplish whatever the goal is. Sometimes you understand you may have a different option; sometimes you may think this is the only choice, Unfortunately, unless you are a brand new startup business that does not have any systems already in place, you are probably already using some marketing technology systems in you business and there’s a better-than-average chance it is different than what the coach recommended.
The worst thing your business can do is start adding too many systems, especially when you don’t have a solid understand of the ones you already have in place, or of the new systems – and especially if the systems overlap providing the same service, and neither are free.
That ends up being wasted money and wasted time.
This is by no means done on purpose by the coach or with any type of malice. A lot of times, the coach has learned this one specific overall system from another coach – their own master coach – and because they are not experts in the different types of technology and marketing automation software available, they don’t know what else to recommend. So they recommend what they use and the system they were taught.
However, as a business owner or entrepreneur, that software may not be what is best for you.
In some cases, with a few less experienced coaches, the coach can also be distracted by the fact that a lot of the marketing software programs that they are recommending provide them an affiliate commission.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with earning an affiliate commission. For the marketing software company, it is nothing more than another form of advertising. Rather than paying Facebook, for example, for pay-per-click advertising that only provides cold leads, they are paying this coach for word-of-mouth advertising and getting warm leads. It makes great sense for the software company, and it is an additional passive small stream of income for the coach.
Having additional streams of passive income, even if they are small amount, makes sense for any entrepreneur or small business owner. Where it doesn’t make as much sense is when that is the only option the coach knows, so it’s also the only option they are recommending. (There may be a few coaches out there who only recommend whatever system offers them the most money … but those aren’t coaches that we have met yet.)
When coaches are working with a brand new business that is just starting up, it’s not as big of an issue because those brand new businesses likely do not already have their own marketing software and other systems established. Businesses that have been around for a bit almost always have some of that set up, and it rarely makes sense to have you add an additional software. Particularly when the new software is duplicating (or highly overlapping)the services of an existing piece of software, and both pieces have an associated expenses.
Marketing Software Case Study #1
Let me give you an example.
We’re working with a client who needed a webinar set up, at the recommendation of her coach. A webinar can be a great overall lead generation strategy to get new leads into your business, and after these leads have gone through your webinar they are usually pretty warm leads overall. While you can always set up a webinar yourself – and more importantly set up the attached funnel before and after the webinar – this client knew that some of the pieces may be over her head enough that she would have to learn what she didn’t know, and the setup would take time and effort beyond what she was excited to expend.
This client already had a solidly established email list within the email marketing software she was using. However, the webinar software that the coach recommended does not work well with the client’s email platform – which the coach didn’t know. The coach has a very specific system that requires three pieces of software (along with each of their related monthly subscription fees). Because the coach does not have as much experience with other marketing technology, this was the only recommendation made. This system, as is, would require our joint client to add two new systems, including another email platform with an additional monthly cost.
Having duplicated marketing software services can create a headache for a few different reasons:
- First, all of your contacts will be in 2 separate places, which means some of the new contacts may never get additional future emails (and the whole point of a lead generation funnel is to keep marketing to them)
- Second, perhaps you were able to set it up where you are, in fact, emailing to both lists regularly (good for you!) Then the contact unsubscribes from one list, but you have no automated way to unsubscribe them from the other list. So they keep getting emails from that other list, which they mark as spam (bad) and it makes them angry (also bad).
- Third, your business is paying for 2 pieces of software subscriptions when one (likely the one you already had in place) would have done.
- Fourth, if you do want to make sure everything is set up properly so that you are maintaining contact with both lists, you are having to do double the work.
There are tons of webinar platforms available out there. There are tons of email platforms available out there. Since this client already has a fairly robust email list that they were using, that means they needed a webinar platform that would complement their existing software and processes. It would have been very easy to set up this webinar lead generation funnel in a different webinar platform that would have integrated with the email system the client is already using.
We provided the client a list of four options, and noted our recommendation: instead of the three systems the client was advised to use (all new), was that she keep using her existing email platform and only add one additional platform (for the webinars) that could have seamlessly tied into the email, and eliminated the need for the second and third piece of software. It would have also saved her about $1,000 per year. After reviewing the list of options and expenses, she decided to do the hybrid recommendation, and we gladly worked on getting that system set up for her, knowing that she went into it with a clearer understanding of what she was choosing.
Two things came into play. One is that the coach only uses this one system (both the webinar idea plus the specific software pieces), which she learned from her master coach, and so it’s the only one she can recommend. Second, the coach gets in affiliate commission from all three separate systems she recommended.
Marketing Software Case Study #2
There is another client example. This client is working with a business coach who provides coaching on multiple areas of the business including accounting, legal, personnel, and more. Marketing is a small piece of that as well. Of course, since this coach is a generalist and not a marketing expert, he also is not aware of when some of these systems can work together and when they cannot. Or even at times when things should not be done a certain way and you’re trying to force the systems to work together.
This could quickly create a headache. Confusion ensues when you have a business coach telling you one thing, and a marketing expert that knows these processes can’t work together as well as something slightly different, so you’re getting 2 different pieces of advice.
Whenever we have a client working with a coach, we always attempt to keep to what the coach is saying, to decrease confusion and those headaches, but it’s not always possible. We do always remember that our first duty is to our paying client, which means there are times when we have to say, we’ve been doing this for so many years that we know it will work better, get you better results and be more efficient, if you do it in a slightly different way. When we have to have this discussion, we lay out the options for the client, including pros and cons of each option, and the overall cost (or savings).
A lot of clients don’t even know what kind of questions to ask; they don’t know what to ask of a coach they may be working with who is recommending another system. They don’t know what questions to ask of the software vendor that they have been told to use.
This is where a free marketing strategy consultation can be such a great benefit. You get to discuss one on one with an expert who has direct experience with all of the different marketing automation software that’s available. You talk through your plan and goals, and get additional recommendations if that’s the most efficient way to accomplish what you’re trying to do. There may be many things you haven’t even thought of, sometimes there may be steps that are missing and we can help you fill the gap, or we can tell you where things are going to overlap and duplicate the same service where only one would be needed. And of course we can tell you if what you’re planning should be seamless as well.
Vicky is the CEO and Chief Creative Strategist of Vicky Wu Marketing. She draws from 30 years of experience at the CMO level, the CEO level, marketing for Fortune 500 companies and multi-million and multi-billion-dollar organizations, PLUS strategies learned helping startups and nonprofits with limited budgets … now focusing on providing SMBs with effective and efficient marketing strategies – giving them access to the same level of expertise as the really big guys with deep pockets, that they may not otherwise be able to access.