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A Self-Inflicted Haircut

America is a nation of Do it Yourselfers like no other that I can think of.  All you need to prove that is to watch a few hours of television and you will see commercials for stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware, who can outfit the household handy person with the right tools, knowledge, and bravery to tackle almost any project. 

Do it Yourselfers (DIY’rs) are scampering around our neighborhoods undertaking household projects like:

  • Constructing decks
  • Kitchen additions
  • Bathroom remodels
  • Drawbridges
  • Painting
  • Carpeting
  • Tiling and so on.  

Some of these projects will eventually get done on time, look right and last for longer than the dramatic unveiling to spouse and kids. But many of them will be delayed due to unforeseen problems, wrong materials, broken water lines, distractions, tirades laced with curse words, beer breaks, and the DIY’er defending themselves to spouses as being “able to do this stuff”.

A good number of those people will call in a professional to get them the outcome they needed, at a higher quality level, and for likely less money in the long run.

A perfect non construction example of DIY gone awry is a CEO from a former place of employment who was so cheap that he refused to go to a proper barber or hair salon to get his hair cut.

He had been up late watching television one night and, you guessed it, he bought a Flowbee. He was so proud of his purchase and was convinced that he was going to save himself thousands of dollars over time and still look fantastic with his self inflicted hair cut as this was the idealistic picture he saw portrayed on the Flowbee website.

Flowbee-rick-1.jpgA week or so passes and I come into the office and attend the Monday morning Senior Staff meeting. I walk into the board room and there he sits in a suit, tie, and a baseball cap.  Knowing that he did not like baseball I asked him about his hat and he told me to do things to myself that were physically impossible and that if I mentioned the word “Flowbee” I could just pack my box right then and there and get out.

I asked him “How bad could it really be?” He said “Bad…really, really bad Jim.”  Trying to be an encourager and living up to my optimist point of view, I convinced him that it certainly could not be that bad and that I would keep it a secret if he showed me and in return I would give him an objective assessment of his hair cut.

We were the only ones in the room at the time and we had 10 minutes or so before we were supposed to start so he slowly removed the hat from his head and looked at me; he was right, it was really bad, in fact it was beyond bad, so much so that he needed a hair intervention of the highest order (and this picture does not entirely do it justice.)

Bad_flowbee_haircut.JPGA fact that was confirmed when the President of the company walked in uncharacteristically early to the meeting and asked “WTF happened to you?” The moral of this story is this: The “Do it Yourself” approach does not always produce the desired outcome, in fact it can often be disastrous.

I say the same things to many of our prospects and clients who are convinced that they are able to do things like Case Studies, White Papers, and even blogging on their own. I will concede that clients certainly have some of the technical knowledge to include in things like White Papers, or that they have the ability to blog or write a case study that is adequate.

But here is the case that I always make that nobody has successfully refuted to date; “Are your clients likely going to be convinced with ‘adequate information‘?” or “Are they looking for something that has professionalism splattered all over it?

I have NEVER signed a large contract with a vendor with a feeling that “these guys are adequate, so sure, let’s spend thousands of dollars with the adequate company!”  Beyond that obvious point I like to share with them the fact that I have seen many a well intended CEO, COO, CTO start projects like blogs, white papers, and case studies and either get distracted, have unforeseen problems (think grammar, and style), or simply run out of time in their day to complete a very important tactical task.

In doing so, they will accomplish the tactical task, but give up on the strategic value of creating good content and simply drag out writing projects until they slip off the radar screen of important things.

At DCIG we take our craft very seriously and deliver a high quality product to our clients that is well written, graphically appealing, written in a compelling manner, and completed in a short amount of time by one of our team of analysts that is an industry expert. Our writing staff has the additional benefit of industry perspective that we bring to bear when writing for clients.

We will and have frequently helped in reprioritizing clients’ efforts to include things that they need to be competitive in the market, helped them see opportunities or markets that they were not competing in that they should be, or simply helping them put their best corporate foot forward with a well done piece of content.

Like the home project DIY’r looking at a pile of raw materials and tools that they just bought, many companies start off with the best of intentions on projects like Case Studies, Blogs, and White Papers only to find that they are not terribly handy with the written word, and can’t create a compound sentence to save their life and as a result they give up.

Giving up on content creation is a guaranteed pathway to tick off the marketing group, and kill the customer education process, which is why engaging DCIG to create content for you is a lot like hiring a good home builder, or architect, or hair stylist…because the DIY approach is, slow, frustrating, and reveals many inadequacies of the person doing the work and what you really needed was a real professional so that your content is relevant and valuable.

The CEO meets Flowbee story I told you about is the image I want to leave you with, he was convinced that he was saving money by doing it himself and wound up looking horrible… if you want to portray a good image for your company, don’t cheap out and wind up wearing a hat for a month, Hire a professional!


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