Is The Shoemaker’s Daughter Syndrome Costing Your Ad Agency New Business?

shoe cobbler and ad agency new business

If you’re suffering from the Shoemaker’s Daughter Syndrome, you may want to consider closing the gap between what you recommend for clients and what you use for your own purposes.

Guest article by Gerry Black, Direct Response Copywriter/Marketing Consultant.

Over the years, I have come across many clients and agency owners who exhibit this classic disconnect phenomenon.

Most people have heard the reference to the Shoemaker’s Daughter Going Barefoot, sometimes referred to as the Cobblers’ Children Going Barefoot.

An early acknowledgement of this quirky characteristic is found in Robert Burton’s, The Anatomy of Melancholy, first published in 1621:

“Him that makes shoes go barefoot himself”.

Simply put, it boils down to this: The reason the proverbial shoemaker’s children go barefoot is because he is too busy making shoes for other people’s children.

Sound familiar? Are you too busy performing your services for others that you don’t benefit from them yourself?

If so, you may want to lean in. In today’s modern business world, allowing the Shoemaker’s Daughter syndrome to continue could come around to bite you.

The first thing to understand is that you are not alone.

Examples of this phenomenon are everywhere – in every industry.

  • Technology companies using slow, dated equipment.
  • Advertising and Marketing agencies that do little marketing at all.
  • Consultants who don’t implement any of the strategies they recommend to clients.
  • Contractors who take forever to complete basic projects in their own homes.
  • Web designers who haven’t finished their own websites.

And on it goes.

Here’s the irony: 

These companies are usually quite capable of providing the service or product they offer to clients and customers with impressive results.

Yet, their own businesses don’t benefit from their own expertise.

So why does the Shoemaker’s Daughter malaise continue to happen?

Well, in many cases, it may simply boil down to human nature:

  • It’s more financially rewarding to work for clients.
  • It’s more fun to work on other people’s problems
  • It’s much easier to prescribe medicine than take it yourself.

Whatever the reason, there is a potential danger that could be looming on the horizon for ad agencies that don’t start walking the talk.

Back in 1621, people did not have the information and knowledge that today’s prospect has access to.

The internet has allowed consumers to be more educated and inquisitive about products and services.

A financial advisor, might get asked about their investments. A company selling technology, can expect questions about what they use to operate their business.

If you’re in the marketing services business, you better be ready to respond if your clients ask if you’re using the strategies you recommend.


About The Author:

Gerry Black works with Independent Professionals and Small to Medium Size Business Owners who struggle to attract new clients. He shows them how to get more attention and visibility in the marketplace, get better response to their current marketing, how to convert a higher percentage of interested prospects into paying clients and make larger sales.

For a copy of his Free Report visit, “7 Questions Your Web Site Must Answer To Convert Qualified Prospects Into Paying Customers”.

photo credit: The last Cobbler 2 via photopin (license)

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.

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