A marketing & design specialist is like a good tailor & gentleman's outfitter

Often, when embarking on a new venture funds will be limited. It might be tempting to keep costs low by choosing a cookie-cutter website from a cheap do-it-yourself service or being suckered into an offering from a low-cost bespoke provider.

Your decision to save a few pounds in the early days may cost you dearly in the long run in lost revenues. The success of your website as business tool means that you have a few short seconds in which to connect with every new visitor if you want to convert them into customers or clients.

Predominantly you will connect via engaging content and a call to action but the presentation of that content and your brand will play a very important role. You’re a professional. You provide an excellent service for your customers, so you want them to appreciate this from the moment they encounter your business.

I needed a new jacket – a smart but casual jacket that I could wear on an evening out or when meeting clients – sometimes a full business suit isn’t the right thing to wear… Two years earlier I had bought a similar jacket from a reputable and familiar UK high street store but it was never the best fit and it was now looking very tired. Foolishly, I returned to the same store. My reasons being that I believed they would cater to my style of dress within a budget I felt I could afford. I was disappointed.

There was a wide selection on offer but, nothing really matched my expectations or requirements – OK I thought, I’m buying off the peg so I should be prepared to make a few compromises.

I was particularly looking for a natural, autumnal shade; an earthy green or leafy brown that I could wear with a decent shirt and a pair of good denims. I found a couple that were close but try as I might I couldn’t find one that fitted correctly.

Those that fitted in the shoulder and gave me the length I needed in the arm were like a sack or way too long in the body. Those that fitted in the body were too short in the sleeve. I started trying on different colours in the vain hope that if I  could at least figure out what size I needed and then I could order one in a colour close to what I wanted. But none of them were a good fit, so I left empty handed feeling that I must be an odd size.

A week or two passed and I was in town again, still needing a new jacket, and I passed an independent tailors and gentleman’s oufitters, I turned to my wife and said, “I’m just going to pop in here and see how much they would charge me to have a jacket made to measure.”

What followed was perhaps my best experience of best clothes shopping.

I was greeted by the tailor and one of his shop assistants. I explained my situation. The tailor gestured to his assistant saying “this is the man you need to speak with”.

The assistant shook my hand warmly and introduced himself, “Hi my name’s Stuart, walk this way sir.”

“Hi, I’m Alex”, I replied, instantly at ease.

“So we’re looking for something that you can wear on an evening out, or meeting with a client – nothing to formal or threatening  but smart?” – He confirmed that he understood my requirements. He glanced down at my shoes, a pair of leather brogues in antique brown, and asked if they were the shoes that I would be wearing generally. Yes they were.

“How about something like this,” he said showing me a country check with leather patches on the elbows,

“Mmm, give me another ten years or so,” I replied jokingly. He nodded smiling as he kept walking.  OK now he had the measure of me and my taste preferences.

We rounded the corner and he picked a soft brown jacket off a hanger,

“Try this one,” he said helping me on with the most instantly comfortable jacket I have ever had the fortune to wear.

It fitted like a glove;  I was led gently round to the mirror for my approval.

“You’re not an odd size,” he reassured me, “you’ve been shopping in the wrong place.”

He then helped me pick out a decent shirt; white with a pale blue vertical stripe, a great match with my eyes and selected a pair of really smart indigo denims and to top it off a pale blue pocket square.

“That let’s people know that you haven’t forgotten your tie and have purposely chosen not to wear one.”

I looked at myself in the mirror and I was looking at a new man, I looked really smart, yet relaxed and my posture instantly improved, I stood taller, which really helps when you’re only 5’7″. I had the look of quiet confidence – My requirements had been satisfied and my expectations had been exceeded.

Now, I paid somewhere between two and three times what I would have paid on the high street and whilst I have a essentially an off the peg coat, the benefit of  Stuart’s experience has given me a quality look that is unique to me and presents me in a far better light  than I could have ever achieved left to my own devices.

When I walk out in public in my new outfit I feel comfortable and confident and if I am confident then I will perform better and that is the added value that a specialist working with quality components can bring to any situation.

Granted you might not have the budget for a tailor made or bespoke web site but you should give some serious consideration to the added value a specialist can bring to your project.

A specialist will have access to  quality resources that you may not be able to find by yourself – he will have spent hours trawling the Internet trying things out, determining what works and what doesn’t. A specialist will be up to date on the current trends of the web and and possess an understanding of convention;  he will have access to great tools.  He will have collated lists and folders full of reusable, quality and reliable resources.

A specialist led solution will inevitably be more expensive than the cheap off-the-shelf or do-it-yourself option but it needn’t break the bank.  A good marketing and design specialist is like a good tailor and gentleman’s outfitter. He will help you find the best fit for your web solution, presenting your company in its best light, which in turn will be worth more to the future success of your business than any fee paid.

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