Why You Should’ve Hired A Digital Marketing Consultant, Yesterday

November 22, 2023 by
Tetra Prime Consulting, Aaron Garner

“One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you’ll achieve extraordinary results.”

And no, it’s not digital marketing…

First Of All, You Should Be Doing Deep Work

So says Cal Newport in his 2016 book Deep Work – required reading if you want to revamp your productivity and become a “master craftsman” in your professional field. Newport introduces the concept of (you guessed it) “deep work” –  a productivity hack he says is the key to mastering your career. He writes,

“Deep works (are those) professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skills, and are hard to replicate.” (Newport, pg 3).  

In other words, deep work is the laser-focused time and concentration required to master a new, rare, and valuable skill. Master enough of these skills and you’re suddenly a hot commodity in your professional field. Growth becomes exponential and mastery (argues Newport) is guaranteed. Sadly, this iron-willed ability to focus is dwindling in the modern age. Newport blames this on our digitally-wired world and a workplace penchant for the surface-level, distractive tasks. He calls this decline “shallow work” and writes,  

“Shallow works (are) the non-cognitively demanding, logical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easily replicated.” (Newport, pg 6)

Think tasks like responding to email, posting to social media, and redundant meetings.

Your Deep Work Is In Jeopardy

Ultimately, the nature of the shallow tasks encourage disruption, distraction, and actually inhibit the brain’s ability to focus. Overtime, this constant distraction derails our ability to focus on work that matters – mastering the hard-to-replicate skills that require deep work.

This tendency towards the shallow  is creating a separation of sorts in the modern workplace. Newport warns,

“The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.” (Newport, 14)  

In short, those who master deep work will be able to master rare, hard-to-learn, and in-demand skills that propel them to mastery – making them the best and most valuable in their professional field.

The World Needs Your Hard-To-Replicate Skills

I thought about Newport’s theory in relation to our clients. As of now, we are a team of digital marketers who work with a powerhouse group of psychologists, counselors, therapists, and alternative medicine providers in the mental health industry. These professionals work directly with patients to support, facilitate, and provide services that aid addiction recovery and mental/emotional health.

This is their craft. They have invested deep work in their services – earning master’s degrees, clinical hours, and additional certifications to improve their knowledge and gain hard-to-learn skills. After reading Newport’s book, I am certain an abundance of shallow work would be detrimental and derail these achievements.

Newport implores those who are serious about their craft to ditch shallow work as much as possible. This includes minimizing email, cutting the internet, and deleting social media altogether. It’s a radical move in our digital age, but, I must say, I have to agree. When I consider the important services our clients provide, I want them to be doing deep work. After all, their services are vital to society and in high-demand in the world. When I think of deep work in relation to other professions, I can’t help but feel the same way. 

So, when Newport says “drain the shallows”, and you’re serious about mastering your craft and career, I absolutely urge you to follow this advice.

But – there’s a catch.

The Catch

In addition to a craftsman, you are a business – and businesses need customers. To get more customers, you need to advertise. What’s the point of mastering your craft if the world doesn’t know you can do it? However, the advertising world of today operates primarily in the arena of shallow work.

Consider this 2014 market study from researcher Dr. Augustine Fou measuring cross channel media consumption (CMP). In simpler terms, CMP measures the amount of advertising dollars needed to reach 1,000 people in a given medium.

Cross Channel Media Costs Comparison CPM Basis by Augustine Fou from Dr. Augustine Fou – Independent Ad Fraud Researcher

Slide 4 is telling. You can reach 1,000 people for as little as $20 dollars using internet-based mediums. For less than $3, you can reach 1,000 people through an internet search alone. With 77% of Americans going online daily and 81% on social media, the internet is a cost-efficient advertising goldmine of potential customers.

Beware The Shallows

However, taking the plunge into internet marketing demands a substantial time commitment and unique approach. This is all thanks to a new trend known as content marketing. The dictionary states:

“(Content Marketing is) a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material – such as videos, blogs, and social media posts – that does not explicitly promote a brand, but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”    

In other words, content marketing is all about producing new content that engages and draws customers in. Think reposting an interesting article on Facebook, blogging on a business website, or even tweeting a funny sign you saw on your way to work. A hallmark of the concept is that your customers don’t just want your services – they want you. They value you (or your company’s) voice, personality, and what you have to say. It’s weird, but it works. Content marketing is personable, popular, successful, and engages customers in a revolutionary way. When done right, it’s known to dramatically increase sales.

But beware – the practice demands constant attention, constant updating, and constant accessibility of yourself and your workers. The very nature of content marketing and internet advertising is designed to leave you glued to the screen – harming your ability to focus and leaving you stranded in a continuous loop of shallow work.

The Solution

It’s a catch-22. On one hand, being inaccessible and cutting screen time protects your ability to perform deep work. On the other, digital advertising demands a substantial amount of shallow work in order to compete.

The fight for deep work in the workplace seems impossible, but there is a solution.


Extract yourself from the shallows and hire someone else to take over your digital marketing. Instead of taking out the middleman, your mission is to add one back in. Think of this person as a liaison. A buffer between you and the time-wasting online mediums that jeopardize your ability to focus. A protector of your precious time and ability to do deep work.

Let me be clear, getting Kevin in accounting to update the company Twitter once in awhile (and asking him because he’s a millennial) is not what we’re talking about here. You need someone (or even a team of someones) who knows SEO like the back of their hand, can test out a new website application in minutes, knows the right content that’s going to increase traffic (and how to produce it), understands online tools like Google Analytics and Adobe Creative Cloud, and can navigate social media platforms like WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with a strategic focus. Digital marketing may operate in the arena of shallow work, but it takes a professional to get it right. In other words, it takes someone completely focused on your marketing operations. In other words, it takes someone like yourself, who is a master craftsman when it comes to this stuff and can do deep work.

Luckily, these people do exist. The catch-all term is digital marketing consultant, and they’re the key to preserving your deep work while staying competitive in a shallow-driven age.

What Are You Waiting For?

The sooner you can hire a digital marketing consultant, the better. Knowing the numbers and negative side effects of shallow work, the best time to hire one of us was probably yesterday.    

Tetra Prime Consulting, Aaron Garner November 22, 2023
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