How to Frustrate Your Digital Marketing Team In 5 Easy Steps

Hello, friends! Today we’re going to learn how to do what seems to be the most rapidly growing pastime sweeping the nation: frustrating the crap out of your Digital Marketing team!

Let’s stop for a second and define who I mean when I say ‘Digital Marketing Team’. In this case, I’m including your SEOs, PPC guys, Social Media Marketers and your Email Marketing team. Yes, I guess your CROs and your UX guys could be considered part of the team but I don’t really do CRO and I haven’t done UX since like 2003 so I can’t speak for them at this point.




Ok, so, without any further ado, here are the five things that companies do that make decent digital marketers kick walls, cry in the car and start polishing up the ol’ resume:


5. Giving Product Managers/Clients Way Too Much Control

If there is an industry or company where this doesn’t happen, let me know. Whether it’s at an agency where you need to keep your clients happy or as an internal marketer who has to deal with product managers, the most reliable way to piss off a good digital marketer is to have a non-digital marketer tell them how to do their job. I say a ‘good’ digital marketer because the bad ones usually don’t care about their professional reputations so they’re willing to just go along with literally anything just to keep a job or make a buck.

I understand it, though. I mean if you’re a product manager, that’s your monthly budget those DM’s are playing with and you’re responsible for any losses that may occur when they start in with all the ‘should’s and ‘most likely’s and ‘let’s try’s.

As I talked about before, nobody can guarantee you a positive return on investment (if they do, they’re lying through their teeth) and completely blowing a budget is an all too common occurrence.




If you’re a customer paying some business a few thousand a month for Digital Marketing services and the next thing you know here they come with some off-the-wall type of plan that sounds like they just want to play with your ad spend without being able to tell you for certain that their idea will work, it sounds like they’re saying ‘Look, I want to test something and I want you to pay for it, OK?’

You know what, though? You’ve got it twisted.

It’s not about playing with your money. It’s about trying new methods and techniques that either we’ve seen work in the past for others or trying to get your business or product line ahead of the curve from studying the trends out there. It’s about taking whatever goal you told us that you want to achieve and figuring out the best way to get you there.

We understand that if it was up to product managers, we’d be sending out e-blasts six pages long every ten minutes to everyone on the planet about how great whatever your particular product line is. We know that if it was up to most clients, we’d literally have no other clients than them and devote 24 hours a day to getting every click on the internet to your homepage.

Pro tip from someone who follows this stuff: Both of those things would do your product line and your site way more harm than good.

Why? That’s for us to know so you don’t have to.

Also, I promise you this: no reputable digital marketer – not an Adwords guy, not a Social Media Marketer, none of them – are just ‘playing’ with your money because we want to see ‘what’s gonna happen if…?’.

Of course we can’t say that if you invest a certain budget on a new campaign or try this new technique we’ve come up with that you won’t lose everything but we can definitely guarantee that if you don’t try you will get no results at all.

Which leads me to the next item on the list….


4. Insist They Keep Doing the Same Crap That Didn’t Work the Last Time

This literally happens all the time in our industry and I really have no idea why.

Let’s say the product managers have come up with a campaign or a piece of content they think will go completely viral and get ‘all the clicks’ and ‘all the engagement’ and whatnot. Your digital team (usually your social media guy in this case) might be a little iffy about it but ok, sure whatever, they do it anyway.

It launches. We wait. It flops. The next month we literally get asked to do the same thing again just with a different piece of content that we already know nobody is going to care about or campaign that literally will do nothing.

It could be running a social media promo code offering someone ten bucks off a product that costs $500 (Gee, thanks a lot! Maybe with my savings I can buy a stamp to write a letter about my great deal!), a keyword-stuffed article about how your widget is the best of all possible widgets (because people love reading blatant commercial copy in their free time, amirite?) or something equally as fail, this happens again and again. I really don’t know why this is such a hard concept for clients and product managers to understand.

It’s simple:


Unless you like talking to yourself or wasting everyone’s time and the inevitable disappointment that follows, if you keep on doing the same crap that didn’t work before you’re going to fail again and again.




It’s like jumping out of a window, breaking your legs, saying ‘I must have jumped wrong! Lemme go try again!’

Stop it.

The familiar is safe and yes, if you hit on something that works, by all means tweak, optimize and do it again but if it flopped before, usually it will flop again.

Speaking of things that used to work but don’t anymore….


3. Insisting on Old School Techniques That Just Don’t Work Anymore

OK, you all should know this by now but the internet changes literally from day to day and things that once were no longer are. Think about it:

Where’s that dancing baby from like 1996? Sticky Caps? Angelfire Webrings? Netscape Navigator?

Yeah, all that used to be the thing to do back in the day but these days it’s a joke….kind of like some of y’all’s digital marketing theories.

What do I mean by old school stuff that doesn’t work anymore? Let’s run down a few:

  • Thinking that certain industries shouldn’t advertise on Facebook because the ‘audience isn’t there’
  • Thinking that LinkedIn is the end all and be all of Social media platforms
  • Thinking that there’s no need to update your site’s user experience to something in this century
  • Thinking that a plug-in can ‘do SEO’ for you
  • Thinking that SEO is a thing you can do once and be set
  • Thinking that your brand can exist strictly with organic only or no social media presence
  • Thinking that ‘optimizing keywords’ = ‘SEO’
  • Writing boring content answering questions no one asked
  • Writing 10 page long email blasts and sending them out to rented/harvested lists
  • Thinking every single paid campaign’s KPI is ‘sales’
  • Thinking the word ‘conversion’ = ‘Sales’


I could go on and on and on but really, why should I? We all know what I’m getting at.

Things that used to work (or things that people sort of just thought worked) back in the day just don’t apply anymore. This applies in Digital Marketing, User Experience, Site Design, Graphic Design and more.




Let your digital marketing team lead the way and make sure your digital marketers are staying current. If they’re not up on every single algorithm change that happens within a week of it being reported on, they’re slacking. If they’re not up on the latest in not only their specialty  (SEO, PPC, Social, etc.) but also in almost every other one – because no channels exists in a bubble and you need to understand how what you do in one channel effects your entire game plan – then they’re not on the ball.

Speaking of on the ball, let’s talk about what happens when your technical platform isn’t…


2. Keep Saying “Our Platform Can’t Do That” to Every Single Request

Want to send your SEOs and AdWords guys running for the door with tears of frustration flowing from their eyes? Have your IT Department say ‘Sorry, our platform can’t do that’ to every single technical request they make or change they suggest.

Look, having some caveman platform that seemingly can’t even implement a simple 301 redirect just isn’t the thing to do. If your platform sucks to the point where you can’t even turn on meta tags because you literally might bring down your whole server, migrate. I don’t care about the cost, just do it. You will never make money with your old ‘rubbin’ two sticks together to make fire’ platform.

If your IT team doesn’t know how to code enough, don’t want to do their jobs enough or they just don’t care enough to the point where they keep kicking everything your DM team needs help with back to them with a note saying ‘yeah, just do that yourself in tag manager or something’, fire them and get a team in there who actually knows how to and gives a damn enough about their code – BECAUSE NO REAL CODER WHO ACTUALLY CARES WANTS A NON-CODER PLAYING IN THEIR CODE.

Also, you hired digital marketers to market and you hired coders to code. Sure, most SEOs can write tags, set up schema and all that but really, that’s not our job to write code. That’s your IT department’s job. We have enough to do.


SEOs can’t work without assistance from the IT team and PPC guys can’t manage their spend properly without a decent website and now, even Social Media won’t save you if your site is decrepit thanks to the recently announced Facebook update.



1. Not Listening to Any New Ideas/Shooting Down Anything New

You know what the fastest way to sink your company is? Just keep saying ‘But we’ve always done it this way!’
If you can’t innovate, you get left behind. If you’re still digitally marketing like its 2001, you’ve failed.

You know what, I can’t even keep going with this one because if you’re that set in your ways that you’re willing to just keep doing things you know don’t work just because you think that innovation or anything is way too scary, then I can’t help you and nothing I say will change that.

Keep doing what you’ve been doing, and eventually even the positive results you used to get will dry up.


The Bottom Line

So there you have it, everyone. This is how you can frustrate, annoy and otherwise anger your digital marketing team!

I know this week I sounded like a bitter person ranting and raving about clients and whatnot and yeah, I guess you’re right but really, if you think about it, it’s high time someone said it.

Product managers and clients need to sit back and actually let people do the jobs they were hired to do because that’s really what it all comes down to. It’s about us as digital marketers being allowed to do our damned jobs. We don’t tell you how to ‘client’ or manage a product line, don’t tell us how to digital market (is that a verb?).

Look, you hired a digital marketer so you don’t have to stay on top of all these industry trends, the latest algorithm changes, the most recent ways Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and the rest have come up with to make you spend your money or all that other stuff that literally changes from day to day. Most of us do. The majority of us eat, sleep, breathe digital marketing. Let us do our thing and back off. Sometimes we’ll win, sometimes we’ll lose but you’ll never get anywhere if you hold us back because you think you know best.

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