Are you marketing like a three-year-old?

02 Jun

Something mysterious seems to happen when a child turns three. Their communication skills are developing quickly, which meets their desire for independence, and a new mindset is born. From now on, all you hear is, “I can do it myself!” But the truth is, sometimes they can’t.

There’s nothing wrong with a little freedom, the sense of accomplishment and pure willpower to tackle projects large and small with the do-it-yourself commitment of a three-year-old. But if you want to avoid the temper tantrums, frustration and…well…less-than-perfect results that go along with it, you may want to consider one thing. Sometimes we all need a little help.

So how do you know when to say ‘uncle’? There’s no one answer for that. But I’ve put together a few tips to help sort out the D.I.Y. projects from the C.F.H. (Call For Help) jobs. 

Starting a New Venture – When launching a new product it’s easy to feel that you alone have the information to get the job done right. You’ve figured it all out in your mind and now you have to take on the world all by yourself. Don’t get caught in this ego trap. It’s vital to begin communicating your ideas with other people. Your product won’t sell any other way. Sometimes we just need to know when to get out of our own way.

Try this test. Describe your product in sixty seconds so a complete stranger could understand it. It’s called an elevator pitch. If you found that challenging, imagine communicating those same concepts in one word, or an image alone? That’s what graphic designers try to do when they approach your brand identity. Which leads up to my next tip.

Branding is not for Beginners – Not every business or product needs a complex and dynamic brand. Just the ones that want to build brand loyalty. Creating brand identity involves research, knowledge of type, imagery and color. To put it simply, it’s harder than it looks. In my opinion it’s that brilliant simplicity that’s actually the sign of a good brand. Take a look at these logos and see what I mean.

Beyond General Expertise – If you have the D.I.Y. mentality then you’re probably pretty comfortable tackling a variety of tasks from creating an ad to blogging to promoting events. But we all have limits. I needed to redesign the website for my primary business,, and I knew there were limitations to my capabilities so I hired help. (HTML is not my friend.) When it comes to legal issues, like patents and trademarks, it helps to consult a professional. Other business specialities such as accounting, you could handle, but do you want to? I figure, in cases of taxation or representation I prefer to defer to the experts.

More Eyes and Ears – If you’re self-employed you know that one of the disadvantages of working alone is…well…working alone. Sometimes you just need a sounding board for new ideas, or an extra pair of eyes for proof-reading. This is the perfect time to ask for help, because it’s usually offered openly and won’t cost a dime. Friends and family, former co-workers and industry mentors are great people to call upon. Next time you get stuck, don’t twiddle your thumbs, Twitter your friends!


I started this blog for the D.I.Y marketing mavericks out there. And there will be plenty of opportunities for you to get in the design groove and strut your stuff. But when you’re channeling that inner three-year-old remember one thing. You didn’t choose to grow up, but you can decide when to bring on a consultant, get some advice or hire a professional. So, are you marketing like a three-year-old, or can you act your age?


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