Being professionally engaged with digital marketing has a major challenge: selling a service without losing the user-direct contact with the digital world.

Though I often write about social media and digital marketing and I’ve advised on some ocasions on these issues, I’m not dedicated to it full-time. I write about digital marketing because I love this area and, from my sociological background, I enjoy analyzing the relationship between users and technology.

My vision of the digital world comes from the other side of the barrier: From a designer & social media manager of a company which has to promote their services and a person using social media for personal branding.

And it’s precisely this direct experience outside the digital field which has allowed me to see one of the major challenges of digital consultants.

On several occasions, talking to digital marketing consultants I found that some of them were unfamiliar with some elements that I thought were well known by any expert on the issue. In all those cases, the gaps were related to areas where they had no first-hand experience.

I simply was familiar with those elements because I had to implement them in my company.

One example: a consultant didn’t know that it was already possible to attach a file to LinkedIn updates. The reason for this gap was that she didn’t manage her own LinkedIn company page.

In the same way we might doubt the ability of a person who never had pets to advise us on how to educate our dog, we can ask how anyone could advise us on:

  • How to use social media to find a job, if they are not looking for a job.
  • E-commerce, if they don’t sell their products online.
  • International marketing, if their business is not internationalized.
  • How to use a blog for personal branding, if they don’t even have a blog.
  • Which are the most suitable social networks for our business, if they haven’t an active profile in all of them.
  • How to promote our company, if they aren’t promoting their own business.
  • How to run a Google AdWords campaign, if they never used this tool for their business.
  • How to run a successful email marketing campaign, if they don’t even have a newsletter.

The direct use of digital media offers a privileged position to understand which tools need our customers, which are the most appropriate in their particular cases and how they should be used. Losing this perspective, this direct experience gained from the need and not from the professional interest, can distance ourselves from what is really important.

In saying this I don’t detract from the role of digital marketing consultants. Without them, most companies wouldn’t know how to publish a tweet. What is evident here is the importance of not forgetting to be users.

It’s not just theory, but personal experience in the use of digital tools which creates a good professional.