The other day I was walking through our local library, perusing the shelves and shelves of books about food. I love food and love trying out new recipes, while at the same time trying to eat fairly healthy. What struck me is that I’m clearly not alone, as the book shelves were evidence of decades of library patrons who have gone before me in the search for a healthy diet.
But that shelf also told me a different story. It was like a sociological walk down the memory lane of famous diets that have swept our nation, rising to popularity, than being left in the dustbin. It was like a museum of fad diets. Whole sections of books related to the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Beverly Hills Diet, and so on. There were books proclaiming the benefits of vegetarian diets and veganism, low carb and high carb, clean diets, Paleo diets, and more.
And then there was one book, I don’t remember the title, but it was really thin, and the subtitle said:
Dietary advice from 14 nutrition experts.
Now presumably, all of these books were written by experts. Or should I say “experts.” But what is an expert?
All of the authors of all these books were nutritionists, doctors, nurses, or working in some related field. And yet they all had their own independent ideas of what to eat, what not to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, and on and on. And I would bet that most of those ideas were based on some sort of research and empirical evidence. In most cases, I don’t doubt their expertise. They all probably have something good to offer.
But we can’t follow every expert’s advice, particularly when that advice is often diametrically opposed to the advice of others. So how do you choose?
This same question needs to be applied to those of us in my chosen field; those of us working in the areas of digital marketing, social media, SEO, and more. Right here in my region I’m aware of quite a few companies, large and small, who offer services similar to what I offer. Some I agree with, others not so much. I firmly believe in my business model and philosophy of doing things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m right. Actually, all of us could be right. Just like with the diets, different people have different levels of success with different diets. Some might lose weight and live healthy lives eating lots of meat, while others focus on a more vegetarian diet.
Because all of our situations are different.
But still, how do you judge your experts? Which one is right for you and your particular situation?
Do your research. Find out more about them (us), and dig. Weigh their successes and failures, but don’t stop there. Remember: technology and culture both change. What worked yesterday for someone else, might not work for you today.
Also, how are your experts moving forward? Look at the cigarette ad up top and the others I’ve added here. There was a time when it seemed as though doctors were OK with smoking, and ads presented these expert opinions. But we know better now, and if a doctor made this sort of recommendation today, we’d write them off.
Times change, and the world of digital marketing is moving forward. Just looking at the major changes that have been made by Google over the past few years, and you can see that anyone working in the field of SEO must be making some radical adjustments. Signing on with someone who is holding fast to the old way of doing things will only serve to hurt you.
And I’m not even talking about being years out of date. Even being a few months out of date can be a major handicap.
Are the experts you hire as consultants moving forward?
And what about in your own field? Are your own internal experts on top of their game? Are they helping your business stay on top of the latest trends, research, and technology? Or are they stuck in the mud, refusing to move forward and gain new knowledge?
Read more: Marketing Trends: Marketing Specialists