Best Buy is launching a new “Samsung Experience“, almost a store within a store. I found one of the video spots they are using to promote the launch to be very interesting in terms of what my company does – in case you don’t know us… we provide online marketing and digital communication services for businesses – both B2B and B2C. Specifically it got me thinking about the difference between someone with actual experience versus someone without. Here is the spot:
For whatever reason the video really hit home for me. Technology matters and clearly an effort like the “Samsung Experience” is a potentially efficient way to begin to bring “Anne” up to speed. But the truth is the single most valuable asset that Anne is lacking is not a gimmick or a trick and there really is no way to fake it – the most valuable element that a freelancer bring to the table is “Real Experience.”
Essentially what the Best Buy/Samsung promotional spot seems to be implying is that despite a college degree, Anne is perhaps not really qualified to accept the freelance gig she has just accepted – clearly at the beginning of the spot she has not idea what she is doing. Only after the college experience plus the “Samsung Experience” is Anne now able to demand the accolades of her clients (yep… the clients actually are clapping at the conclusion of her presentation!) Of course the “Anne” story is meant to promote and sell products but it does introduce some real life issues that I wanted to talk about…
It got me thinking… Do “Anne” and I compete for the same projects? More so, why in the world would anyone hire Anne as a freelancer? Are the Annes of the world actually driving down the value of the services my company provides by in some way implying that there is actually a choice? Perhaps the Annes of the world are actually driving the value of my company’s services up if only because we can credibly say there is a big difference in terms of not only experiences but more importantly in what we can deliver. Yes, we both might charge a fee, and ostensibly we both might operate in the same space, but does that mean that we are in any way professionally competing? I’d say absolutely not, but what if a potential client doesn’t know that? It appears that freelancing is actually becoming a good option straight out of school (otherwise the folks at both Samsung and Best Buy would have not created this spot) so yes… I really do need to recognize that the Annes of the world are in fact real players in my space.
Don’t get me wrong, hiring Anne for a job and offering her training, providing her a chance to grow into a role might be a great decision, but on the face of it, in terms of freelancing or consulting, given that Anne does not even know how to use a computer, the idea that Anne should get paid to learn does not seem like a great outcome for the company that just hired her.
Unfortunately all too often in my space I see companies engage with the a version of Anne only to find that the lack of experience tends to deliver a very slim (if any) value add, and often the lack of experience leads to a net loss on the entire desired effect. Yes – there are real opportunity costs involved with a bad decision, particularly as relates to online marketing. that often far outpace the direct fees.
Make no mistake about it – Anne might be able to bring in a fancy computer, and she might even be able to set up a Facebook Page or a Twitter background but when you are looking to deliver a fully realized digital effort that engages with your business on multiple levels, utilizing a variety of communication streams, all consolidated and focused on a unified effort I’m not sure that “Anne” is anywhere in the ballpark.
This was actually a very hard post for me to write as it is a little more negative in tone than what I typically write, and perhaps I’m over-thinking this entirely…. So now it is your turn – as a business owner does this spot cringe?