What "Do It For Me" means in marketing automation

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By: Kirsten Kippen | 9.7.17

This post was updated in February 2020 to reflect several recent examples from the current Pardot feature set.


Being headquartered in Portland, we are no strangers to the ethos of DIY or Do It Yourself. Talk around the Idealist Consulting coffeemaker often centers around our latest DIY experiments, from home remodeling projects to pickling.

But we’re all busy people and many days we would rather spend time with our kids, partners, and pets than make cheese from scratch. So we turn to “Do It For Me” products - products that are still made from quality ingredients by people we trust, but we don’t have to spend the time and energy making ourselves. 

This is a balance everyone figures out for themselves personally - pay someone else or do it yourself. And sourcing your marketing automation work and Salesforce consulting should be no different than your organic food. Just as you consider the balance of what you want to make yourself vs. pay for in your personal life, take time to really think about DIY vs. DIFM in your professional life.

What “Do It For Me” means 

In a TechCrunch article titled “Why ‘Do It For Me’ Is The Next Big Thing,” Anthony Lee, writes, "Do It For Me (DIFM) is more than software. DIFM combines technology automation with specialized labor to deliver a complete solution to a business problem. It’s as much about people-powered customer service as it is about code-powered efficiency.” 

I started thinking more about this balance and tension recently after reading SalesFusion’s whitepaper, Sizing up DIY vs. Do It For Me in B2B Marketing. The whitepaper argues that the main reason marketers are drawn to Do It For Me is to focus more on creative aspects of their work and less on learning new marketing technology (which we can all agree is more overwhelming with each passing day).

The part I took issue with is the limited definition of “creative” - who’s to say fine-tuning and testing a complicated drip campaign is not creative? I would argue that the boundary between creative and technical work for a marketer is getting more and more blurry each day. No marketer has the luxury to say “I only do creative work” anymore - to survive as a marketer today you must become a superstar at some elements of both the creative and technical sides.

So here is my challenge to you, fellow marketers: figure out what part of your job you want to be DIY and what part you want to be DIFM. 

Here are some examples of areas I think work great for Do It Yourself once you have a strong brand:

  • Persona development
  • Email copywriting
  • Content planning

And here are areas that often work better with Do It For Me:

  • Marketing automation implementation (e.g. install and do basic configuration for Pardot)
  • Salesforce/marketing automation strategic alignment
  • Campaign planning and optimization
  • Graphic design (print and digital)
  • Copywriting (once you get to a certain scale)

A specific example from the Pardot world would be Connected Campaigns and Campaign Influence reporting. These are areas of Pardot that have been heavily pushed by Salesforce in the past year, but their documentation is still relatively limited and even seasoned consultants may run into some surprises in the midst of implementing these features. A reputable consultant can direct you to spend your time advising in areas of the business that only you know such as how you've used Salesforce Campaigns in the past, then she will take care of the technical steps separately.

The agency vs. consultant question

Depending on the size of your company, you’ll probably find that some of the items in Do It For Me can be serviced in-house, and for others you will need to go outside to an agency or consultant.

As you are considering how much to use outside labor for, think hard about the impact to your business goals and also to your own team morale. Often, companies invest heavily in an outside brand/marketing agency only to find several years in that there is no measurable impact on their mission or revenue. So make it measurable.

The Pyramid of Marketing Automation Labor

We are undoubtedly biased but find that this pyramid view can be a helpful way of thinking about how to prioritize your marketing automation labor. 

The pyramid of Do It For Me marketing automation labor

On the bottom you have CRM as the base

To make anything measurable in marketing you must have centralized relationship tracking so different team members can update and enhance profiles as you deepen your relationships. 

Next you have the primary level of solution implementation 

Take a Pardot implementation as an example. If you don’t have in-house skills that can handle CNAME records, grading logic, or Connected Campaigns, consider engaging a consultant to do basic setup. This is typically a 20-30 hour contract.

The next level is tool-based strategy

Perhaps the least understood area of marketing automation consulting. Strategy is an area that marketing agencies have long dominated, but as businesses shift their budget toward more robust software the demand is increasing for Do It For Me consultants who know the technology and can also offer strategic guidance on questions like, how do personas fit into my day-to-day campaign strategy? With all the tools in Pardot at my disposal, how do I know when to use automation rules, completion actions, dynamic content, etc. in this particular campaign? And how does my work in Pardot overlap and make itself distinct from my work in Salesforce? Perhaps most importantly, what can I focus my time on, now that automation is doing much of the administrative work that used to take up my time?

Finally the top of the pyramid you have design and content

Areas where you have your pick of hundreds of skilled professionals who can customize to your audience.

So think about your DIY vs. DIFM mix, and then think about your DIFM partners - how can you make the most of your external help to make an impact to your mission and revenue, and most importantly put you back in the center of doing the work you love

Interested to learn more about Idealist Consulting’s marketing automation strategic services? 


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