The Marketing Expert – the dangers of ‘one stop shop’ marketing

This month Shaz Memon, the Marketing Expert, discusses why ‘one stop shop’ marketing is the worst mistake you can make for your company.

I always thought that successful businesses must have an upsell.

In a supermarket, you’ll see batteries, chewing gum and magazines by the till. At a coffee shop, you’ll see the muffins or the loyalty cards.

Of course, this approach makes perfect sense.

The customer is there, they trust your brand. Why would you not have an upsell for them?

I’m not saying I disagree, but I don’t fully agree.

A generalist can’t be a specialist

What do you think when you see this business?

I think: ‘Wow. Four “specialities” of food all under one roof.’

But the kind of wow I am wowing here isn’t one of happy shock. It’s the wow of incredulity.

It’s the ‘wow’ that says: ‘There’s no way all of these food offerings are going to be good.’

I know I have used a super greasy example above, and it’s possibly one you can’t relate to because you may find this sort of food outlet delicious.

But the point I’m making is that a generalist can’t be a specialist.

Let me tell you a quick story.

Back at the start of my journey towards building one of the world’s highest rated dental marketing agency, I was working alone in the back garage. Whenever anything remotely marketing-related was asked of me, I could do it.

My email signature was like a marketing parable – from business cards, to facebook ads, to pay-per-click, right through to shop signage.

Seeing the cracks

I told myself that the easier I can make it for a client, the better it is. A ‘one stop shop’ for my clients to come for all their needs.

My clients were very happy knowing I would design their branding, business cards, letterheads, websites, shop signage, run their Google pay per click ads and Facebook ads. I was also more than happy to take care of everything for them.

But as time went on and my client base grew, I started to see the cracks.

Undoubtedly there were some skills that I could confidently say I had mastered. Those skills were website design, branding, SEO and user experience – making a user purchase when they come into contact with design.

However, the rest of the services such as Facebook Ads, Google Pay Per Click, Dental Social Media Management to name a few – my team and I were ‘good’ at these services, but we weren’t masters.

I realised that, in an agency setting, to be the best in one thing, you really need at least four dedicated experts in a department that only offers that one service.

For example, my SEO team at Digimax has 15 full time staff. They are being trained daily through the projects, algorithm changes, continued CPD, team training and more.

When it is one person in a team responsible for a core service, there just isn’t enough time to build a forward-thinking pro-active culture. There is just too much to do. And that is when mistakes happen.

The problem with mistakes in marketing is that they can cost the client a lot of money and the person trusting you will never know what they’ve missed out on.

The bigger issue

This wasn’t just me. I noticed these same issues with every agency that subcontracted work to us. From the small owner-operated agency to the large ones that create work for the big household names.

They had a repeated turnover of clients as they would leave once they discovered their weaknesses through loss of opportunity and dent in profitability.

The agency would just accept this and replace them with new ones.

For them, it was normal to lose ‘demanding clients’ and did very little to solve the bigger problem of offering too many services.

Some agencies were just lying to themselves and blaming the client, bringing closure to the hurt of a lost client by telling themselves ‘they weren’t a right fit for us’.

‘It is an agency’s job to act responsibly to ensure their goals are to make the business money’

Not many agencies would back a bold statement like this as it requires a lifetime of commitment to one profession.

I realised that, to be the best at any service, you need to have strong fully built departments that almost operate like separate businesses with strong goals around knowledge development, meeting targets and being in the vanguard.

Once I realised this, I quickly dropped any services that I knew wouldn’t be in the top three or four services that I could put my name behind and commit to a lifetime of learning.

Your company should not do it all

I think it’s a terrible idea to use a company that ‘does it all’. It’s possibly the worst in fact for a number of reasons:

  • There is no way they are the best in their field for all the services being offered
  • If you are performing ‘okay’ for paid marketing services, that means you are losing a lot of money that you don’t know about. Performing ‘okay’ can mean loss of opportunities, poor investment-to-profit ratio and overall stagnation of business growth
  • Having one company to answer to for a lot of services might seem beneficial for your time, but as someone who has worked with agencies, and run my own agencies, it is far better for you to have multiple teams working to push your business forward who are all answerable for different things
  • You might have multiple companies working on different marketing services, eg one for PPC, another for Facebook Ads, another for Social Media management. Then, if one company is not doing a great job, you can quickly look to replace that one company. Replacing an entire company that does everything is not going to be ideal, You will end up having to accept sub standard output for the ‘ease’ of keeping everything in one place.

Don’t compromise your reputation

If you want an all-in-one company to make your admin easier, maybe you need to ask yourself if that ease in admin is more valuable to you than the absolute improved chance of success with all your paid marketing initiatives.

I wasn’t willing to compromise a reputation that took a lifetime to build to offer even a 75% ‘good’ service to Digimax clients.

They trust me too much and I care about them too much to do that.

I even spent nine months writing a global bestseller book about Instagram simply to help them, even though I didn’t have a social media management business.

I could very easily announce the launch of a business that offers all the things Digimax does not do right now. This could include PPC, Facebook Ads and more, and perhaps I’d be turning over six figures in the first year.

But the price I would pay for that is my conscience in knowing that I can’t be world class in offering 10 different services.

Digimax offers four services

‘You had one job…’

For everything else, we recommend individual companies that have proven that they just offer this one service and they do this one service very, very well.

Have you ever heard that phrase ‘you had one job’? Well this is where it applies.

For ventures I have worked on over the years, I apply the same thinking.

I have five companies working for me as opposed to one that does it all.

This gives me access to specialists, the best work, immense growth, answers when I want them, and the ability for me to change easily if someone is not up to the mark.

Yours honestly,

Shaz Memon.

Catch Shaz’s previous Marketing Expert columns:

Follow on Instagram to keep up with all the latest dental news and trends.

Get the most out of your membership by subscribing to Dentistry CPD
  • Access 600+ hours of verified CPD courses
  • Includes all GDC recommended topics
  • Powerful CPD tracking tools included
Register for webinar
Add to calendar