How long does it take to become an expert in your own industry?

According to Malcolm Gladwell – author of 5 New York Times bestsellers – it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert on something.

Now whether this number is realistic or not, we can all agree that to learn something well it takes a long time.

And learning never ends…

As any other industry, Digital Marketing is in constant evolution too, forcing marketers to keep themselves constantly updated and keep up with the competition.

Just think about the biggest online advertising players

Yahoo and MSN were born around 1995. A few years later, in 1998, Google was founded. Facebook in 2004, YouTube in 2005 and Twitter in 2006.

Some of these somehow lost their strength in time while others kept evolving and getting so good that if you were to invest in the stock markets, you would put your money on them without knowing anything about financial investments, simply because you know by gut feelings that these guys won’t go bankrupt easily.

This is just the tip of the iceberg because we could go on and on forever by just breaking down how these internet giants have changed and grown in the past 20 years.

So what’s the take in all this?

If you were to learn how to promote your business online and marketing in general from scratch, you will always be behind most of your competitors by definition.

Successful businesses in fact, hire in-house experts, freelancers or digital marketing agencies to run their advertising. They take advantage of marketing experts that spend their time in studying, testing and applying the best marketing practices, whether these are branding, strategy or technical.

By the time you have learned one tenth of what a single online marketer already knows, there will be a new Google Update or a new Facebook function or even a completely new medium that could work perfectly for your business.

Unfortunately you would be too busy in trying to catch up and they will be applying new marketing strategies for your competitors.

You might think that adding a post on social media now and then is all of the work but it’s not. You need to have a strategy, learn to use the tools, go through metrics and optimize.

Yes of course, it requires an investment, but you can do it in a smart way. One more reason if your marketing budget is not enough to build a whole marketing team or hire an expert on a retainer. There are several smart ways to invest your marketing budget.

The most important thing that you must keep in your mind is that Your time has a cost too and while you might think that by doing everything by yourself you are saving money, you are actually wasting it by throwing away your time, instead of using it to improve and use your industry expertise and create better products and services.

Any bells ringing?

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