I’d like to preface this article with a definition of terminology; specifically, Renaissance Men. Here the term is gender neutral, and applies to females as well as males (no offense, ladies, I just must have someplace to anchor and convey the thought). Traditionally, it is something of an accolade, meaning one who has mastered several disciplines. Da Vinci is a well known example of a Renaissance Man. While my use may be somewhat less than complimentary, the idea of one with his/her fingers in many pies is maintained.
Renaissance Men abound in today’s digital marketspace. Quite often on Twitter and LinkedIn I see those whose qualifications are myriad; digital marketer, Social Media consultant, SEO/SEM, Web design, and we also walk dogs. I’m given to wonder how these masters of the universe have enough hours in the day? Any one of the above activities (not including dog walking for the most part) is a full week plus overtime. Yet if you question them, they not only perform the services listed, they also are capable of providing network assurance and security, are experts with Adobe Flash, and can sign you up for a whole life insurance policy.
Renaissance Men are causal to the very same events that led to the downfall of the first wave of eCommerce. They do so by promising much more than they can deliver, and the result is one of complete and utter failure to the client. In the purchasing agent’s headlong rush to enable the business services offered by Renaissance Men, buyers think they are at a one-stop-shop exposition. In a day where everything can be had in an instant, with the singular exception of search engine optimization, it is perfectly logical to get on board.
This is not to say that another catastrophe like that of the dot-com-bust is on the horizon, but rather that many find too late that a fool and his/her money are welcome everywhere, especially in the company of Renaissance Men. Common sense must prevail in the pursuit of business objectives, and this begins with the understanding of one very basic premise: if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
An excellent artistic parallel is Jared Croslow’s Cliconomics Comics, How To Suck at Internet Marketing.