Are you hiring Internet business advisors or data reporters? Most small businesses are hiring all the wrong help when it comes to Web marketing experts and agencies. Small business blogger Ed Rivis found that most Web marketing mentors (people hired to help steer Web marketing and e-commerce) were either in-effective or DAMAGED their client’s business…
70% said the online expert’s wisdom either did very little or nothing at all when it came to bottom line sales.
12% said they lost sales or “the advice seriously damaged their business.”
While this “shocked” Ed it doesn’t surprise me one bit — and it’s why I’ve decided to speak out on this blog, in my forthcoming book, Ignorance Economy, and in my public speaking.
If you’ve hung around me long enough you’ve heard me declare things like “most Web marketing strategies are disposable” or “most of what passes as ‘good’ Web marketing strategies are little more than advice taken from self appointed guru experts.”
Ok, Molander… so how should we hire Web professionals?
Whether you’re interviewing employees or outside vendors/agencies — and whether it’s to run your affiliate program, optimize your site for search engine efficiency, create and optimize email campaigns, social media or paid search marketing — it’s critical to STOP thinking tactical. Do NOT hire based on skills; rather on how the prospect thinks.
DO they think critically or do they just show up to “blast” emails, generate “traffic” or “increase conversion?” Yes, increasing conversion is NOT that important these days. What is? Perspective (do they have any), curiosity (are they motivated beyond the paycheck) and the ability to rationalize beyond what they see in front of them.
Here are some questions to ask yourself — that will drive the questions you ask THEM on the interview:
- What language do they speak and why?
(do they speak ‘business’ or geek speak, why?)
- Can they separate Web marketing metrics from business goals?
(do they know the difference between increasing conversion to sale and converting the RIGHT customers?)
- Can they TIE Web marketing metrics to business goals?
(can they prove they’ve actually DONE it or can they describe exactly what it takes to do it?)
- Before “The Web” did they work in marketing?
(no, I’m not kidding — you should ask and it DOES matter!)
One of the best “question tests” I’ve heard of comes from my friend, Jim Sterne, who suggests asking, “What would your response be if I asked you for a Web metrics report?”
Most candidates will answer, “Well, I’d ask you when you need it by” rather than a more thoughtful answer of “WHY do you need this report and WHAT are you actually looking for within the data it will provide?”
As Jim says, it’s the difference between hiring a data reporter and a business advisor.