landscape alongside digital media
As digital media experts, we tend to feel that we’re in an industry that is directly changing the way that the world does business. Sometimes, though, it is necessary to take our noses off the grind stone and realize that our industry is like any other – specifically lawn care. Digital Media like any lawn can be maintained by pretty much anyone. However, there is a distinct difference between a lawn that is cared for by Harry Homeowner, and a lawn that has a full-time landscaping service. Similarly, the differences between a “Do It Yourselfer” digital media campaign and a “Full Suite Agency Account” are apparent. It is necessary to draw the similarities and differences between something that is seemingly so complicated as Digital Media and something relatable such as lawn care for an easy association to anyone outside of the online advertising world. It is also necessary to draw the similarities to keep ourselves as “Digital Media Experts” in check.

Anyone who manages an online advertising account is a landscaper of the digital media world. Choosing an agency is not dissimilar to making the decision of how to care for your lawn. There are landscaping companies ranging from the national corporate lawn care company to the kid down the street offering to mow your lawn for $5. With online advertising, you can choose from:

– A national agency which is surely based out of New York, Chicago, or San Francisco and definitely has an office in your city or region
– A boutique agency with over 350 years of combined advertising executive experience
– Your cousin’s kid Tommy who is really good with social media.
– Everything in between.

Unlike landscapers, digital media agencies are not restricted by any geographical location, which allows the opportunity to choose from the best in the country and get service as if it is in your back yard. We at Booyah pride ourselves on being a boutique agency with national range. Boutique agencies are small enough to give personal attention to their accounts, nimble enough to adapt in a progressive industry, and experienced enough to produce accolades that give large corporate agencies envy.

If the internet is a neighborhood and houses are businesses, then lawns and gardens are the digital media accounts. The size of the lawn is not what differentiates a home’s landscaping. It is the quality and detail that sets it apart. Eventually it becomes a matter of keeping up with the Joneses, and in the world of digital media the Joneses have landscapers. Some homeowners do a good job of maintaining their lawns, but eventually they will kill that new shrub or have a never-ending battle with crab grass. Attempting to find an easy solution could actually lead to larger problems such as killing the lawn in an attempt to remove the invasive species. In this scenario, a dead lawn would be an unprofitable account. No matter how much water it gets a dead lawn will not grow – it needs a new approach. In the internet neighborhood, ad disapprovals, trademark violations, irrelevant keywords, competitors, and over-served impressions are the insect infestations, invasive species, rabbits, and dead spots in a lawn. Like a landscaper, a digital agency will proactively manage these problems. Additionally, an agency maintains an account with constant optimizations, bid adjustments, URL placement review, negative placements, search query expansions, and performance analysis the same way a landscaper uses fertilizers, weed killers, rabbit repellent, aeration, dethatching, mowing, trimming, edging and winterization to maintain a perfect lawn.

When Harry Homeowner maintains his own lawn and garden, he simply sets a timer on the sprinklers and mows on Friday afternoon. He does not have a plan for the future and does not have a strategy; he simply looks at his neighbor’s lawn and says “How does he get his grass so green?” Like Harry, Do It Yourselfers may not set goals or know the ins and outs of how to meet them. An agency will understand the client’s goals and establish realistic expectations of how to achieve them. Most of the time the first solution is “more water,” but this will not solve a lawn’s problems and will not make it healthy. Similarly, most advertisers first look to pumping more money into an account to resolve any problems, rather than working smarter to find a solution. Many times the cost of an agency will offset advertising spend through efficient strategy and productive results, and a landscaper will save the embarrassment of having a barren piece of Iraq to call your lawn.

There are many more analogies that can be drawn between a lawn and digital advertising such as Google being the soil, PPC being the grass, and Display Media being the garden, but the point has already been established. Hopefully the major difference is that you care a bit more about the profitability of your business than you do about where your dog does his business.