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Take research with a brick of salt

Tuesday, August 13 2013 5:00 PM
By Kalen Kubik

There is a problem with all online information. Duality.

The small business web market of today is chaotic for this one reason. The web has been demystified, to a degree and thousands of designers and marketers enter the field every year. They work, gain experience and blog. You can find thousands of these blogs ranging from web design to social media management. Each is different, some more professional and reliable than others, but each shares whatever diamond or piece of coal they have gleaned. All this information is great, yet terrible, at the same time. And the worst part is, regardless of their correctness, they're very convincing.

There is no hipster Moses, standing atop a mountain and handing down the "Ten Commandments of Online Marketing". There is no checklist to follow that will make you #1 on Google, nor website design that will make your brand the next Apple. Web trends and tactics are constantly changing and a blog you read last month could be irrelevant today. The web industry evolves at a rapid pace. As an online marketing firm, we can't take our eye off the ball for a second without going out of business.

Unfortunately, information being correct, then incorrect the next month, primarily effects business owners, who are hiring out the work. Google filters a lot of the outdated and bad advice out, however some still slips through the cracks. Everyone loves a client with initiative, but bad advice can quickly derail a project when, as a marketing firm, we have to cut the legs out from under the plan because its foundation was incorrect.

Most of the research we've had clients rely upon is incorrect for two reasons. It is out-of-date or situational. Out-of-date informatoin is a big issue in our industry. What worked three months ago is archaic now. We've had clients who wanted 960px, flash animated websites and believed it was cutting edge. We quickly talked them into responsive, HTML5 sites, but there are blogs out there that tout Flash and 960grid as if they're sacred. Situational information is a different creature. Companies brag a lot about this client and that client on their websites, but most business owner's don't realize it's not a one-size-fits-all. Custom plans of attack for one client's specific needs will not be the same across the board. Your company might need an entirely different solution.

We want you to research. Research your hearts out, but remember to find multiple sources before throwing yourself behind an idea. It can be difficult to hear someone kill your dream because it was founded on misinformation. When starting out, consult your online marketing company.

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