If you were feeling unwell, went to see your doctor, and she or he diagnosed Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, I’m pretty sure your first question would be: ‘what’s that?’

And she or he would probably tell you that it is in fact a form of Silicosis and is an occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust. So now you would know, and could make a mental note not to inhale any crystalline silica dust in the future.

Lost in transition

So why is it that many senior marketers both in the b2b and b2c sectors don’t feel able to ask their digital agencies simple, basic questions about subjects such as digital-specific marketing strategy, how analytics are actually derived or just what is PPC?

The truth is, it seems to be through embarrassment. An unnecessary embarrassment borne of a fear that as senior members of the marketing community they should have all the terminology at their fingertips, even though the fast-evolving techniques or methodologies around today were not around when they trained in marketing.

Hogwash tsunami

This situation is compounded by digital marketers, people in my profession, failing to identify gaps and deficiencies and not helping clients by communicating more clearly. We’re in the marketing communications business, so why aren’t we communicating marketing?

And given the marketing industry’s love of the next big thing, preferably accompanied by the next big word or phrase, mere mortals, those not a part of the bubble-like digital marketing fraternity, have little chance of ever gaining knowledge equality.

Market expertise, but no steering wheel

But there is an unquestionably serious side to the issue.

There is a great danger here for all in-house marketing executives of seniority: while you undoubtedly understand your enterprise, your markets and your products or services, without close guidance from your digital agency, your marketing performance may be consistently sub-optimal.

So while you are the most qualified to take the marketing lead in discussions with your agency, your lack of strategic digital knowledge, and the lack of support and guidance you receive may potentially hold you back and put your digital marketing agency firmly in the driving seat.

More collaboration than kindergarten

What really needs to happen is that digital agencies take more responsibility for helping clients learning through sharing insights on individual projects, along with regular face-to-face and webinar-based client education and training support when requested, as we do here at Novacom.

This ensures clients have a full understanding of the impact of the various strategic methodologies applied and can now fully collaborate in offering valuable strategic market insight, optimising the proposed plan.

Get a grip

Given that many senior marketers have intimate knowledge and huge market experience, their input is decisive in optimising marketing content creation, targeting and ultimately the success of a marketing campaign.

The digital tools remain with the digital agency which is as it should be, but sharing knowledge, and working in close client/agency collaboration is the optimum route to success.

No, digital marketers are not doctors, and clients need not be so shy in asking us questions, but we digital folk need to communicate with our clients the same way we communicate with their marketplaces. With precision.ct me, Will Yates, the author of this piece.

Originally published on the Novacom blog.