Genie in a Bottle—you get three wishes: Nauman Akbar, founder and owner of MessageMuse, a full service digital marketing company, talks about digital marketing strategy.

I am Nauman Akbar, founder and owner of MessageMuse. In this post, I want to focus on what you should expect from your digital marketing agency in the way of a strategic plan. In a previous blog, we posted This One’s Just Right we talked about how to find the right digital agency or website developer for your business. Today, I want to focus on what you should expect from the digital marketing agency you choose.

I want to start by sharing one of my teaching stories with you. It shows that while all people have ideas, you are looking for someone with a unique perspective that will result in a successful partnership between you and your digital agency. Those are the skills I found unexpectedly in one of my students.

During my teaching days at a university, I gave my students a challenge just to see what they would come up with. It would be an icebreaker for the beginning of the year and also give me, their instructor, a good feel for who I was working with for the next semester. We were only into our semester a couple of weeks and I already saw patterns emerging—some good and some not so good.

The Test Question

I posed this dream-come-true question to all the faces eagerly waiting for their challenge.


You are granted three wishes by the Genie in a bottle. What do you wish for and why?

And as expected, we had the usual “world peace”, “happiness”, “good health”, and some actually wished for money. Some complained about needing more wishes because relatives would be mad knowing that they had not gotten a thing while others in the family had gotten plenty. Then several started to argue with each other.

There was one young man about four rows back who had yet to weigh in. In fact, his apparent lack of interest told me he was not captivated by this puzzle. This was a young man who had consistency as his only friend. He sat in the same seat, wore clothes that looked much like the other outfits that he owned, his textbook and notepad were set up in the same way, and the pocket protector in his shirt always contained two pens, then a mechanical pencil and finally some reading glasses that were pressed into use occasionally. I could have hated him but for the fact that I could have been him some 10 years back.

I looked in his direction and addressed him. “Would you care to share with the group what your three wishes are?”

His face firmed a bit as if to say I am certain about what I am about to tell you. It isn’t a look that you find on a young face because it is only with age and experience that you learn to express conviction through the muscles in your jaws. When he spoke, his voice was soft but clear. A wisp of a smile went liquid on his face. “I only need one wish, sir, but will reserve my other two.”

I didn’t know whether I was about to hear something profound or if he would come up with some ridiculous comment which would help him join his classmates who were still sniping at each other like 5 year olds.

But I kept an open mind and stood ready to be impressed. I encouraged him to continue while calling out the two young women still bickering in front of me.

“My one wish is to have unlimited wishes.” Those eight words hung in the air like a mesmerizing fog that dampened all the mental noise in the room. All of his classmates looked at him as if to realize, not his genius or cleverness” but their own stupidity and shortsightedness. And I am thinking, “YES! This young man has a brain and isn’t afraid to use it.” But I did have one question.

“Why reserve your other two wishes? You won’t need them.”

The faint smile intensified to a full-on grin. “Because if I release them to all these other people, they will wish for unlimited wishes for everyone and I will have no exclusive power.”

Suddenly, I wanted to adopt this young man to help me run my house, my business, my country, my army, and my world. He was strategic and thought about the consequences of his actions and what others would do. He conserved and used his resources in the most effective and efficient way possible. And, of course, I knew that he would make one fantastic digital marketing agent.

Vision is Everything in Digital Marketing

If you are looking to grow your business and you need help with logos, branding, website design, SEO, reputation management of your social media tools and possibly app development down the road then let the digital marketing company know that up front. But be honest with him. Let him know what your budget is to start and what you hope to do in the future.

I have long found that the business owner dictates the pace and the mental challenge that is expected of digital agency or web developer he partners with.

I will give you an example. Two customers sit with their digital marketer for the first time and each has their statement of expectation. The first business owner says:

“I have a small company that I want to grow but right now I don’t have a lot to spend. I need a website—just a website. I know the rest of the services are expensive so don’t even try to discuss all the things I could buy. I just want my website up and running.”

And then the second business owner’s synopsis:

“I have a small company that I want to grow but right now funds are tight. But I am hoping that with the right use of the digital marketing tools, I can grow and add more services. I have a fixed amount to spend now and I want to discuss with you the best strategy for its use. I would also like to see a long- range plan so that I have a digital strategy in place for you to implement as I meet my sales targets.”

I can tell you that the first customer’s work will get done but he has told me he doesn’t want me to plan ahead and I am not going to. And you know why? For two reasons: He doesn’t really know what a digital marketing agency can do for his business and, in his own mind, he doesn’t see a clear path to growth for his own company. And businesses that don’t have a clear path to the future, more than likely fail.

In the second scenario, the owner has a clear commitment to a digital strategy but is honest about the monetary limits. More importantly, he defers to his digital marketing agency to help him get the best use out of those first dollars spent. The digital marketer has the incentive to make good choices for his client because the success of the first steps will ensure that the agency gets repeat business.

First Meeting with Your Digital Marketing Agency

So what do you bring with you to your first meeting with a digital marketer? Here’s your checklist:

• An open mind
• The expressed expectation that this will be a long-term partnership that will benefit you and your digital marketing agency
• Information about your business, all business collaterals, and a list of digital tools you are currently using
• Measurable business goals with dates (they have to be realistic, folks)
• Your current budget that you can spend
• Your expectations of your digital marketing agency. Don’t be afraid to ask for a long range strategic plan that shows a rollout plan for your digital marketing needs.

Remember, asking for a plan requires a lot of upfront work on the part of your digital marketer. But you are basically committing to working with him in the future. That benefits both of you.

What Your Digital Marketer Gives You in Return

This is where you test just how strategic your digital marketing agency is. You are looking for someone who thinks like the student who needed only one wish—who looked to use only the necessary resources to get the desired effect and reserved the remaining wishes to control the value of what he had. You want your digital agency to do the same for you.

So here is what to expect to get back after giving him time to review the information you have provided:

• Articulation of what your business is about and your goals for it
• A list of needed services
• A timeline of your digital marketing rollout plan and an estimated cost for each phase
• A walkthrough of that plan that explains the choices for a particular order
• Discussion and response to your questions.

Take a look below at a sample digital marketing strategy:


Remember that if you are hiring a top notch digital marketing agency or web development company, expect a lot from them. That is their job. You have hired a genie and you get one wish. Make it a powerful one.

My name is Nauman Akbar, founder and owner of MessageMuse, a full service digital marketing agency, with a whole team of genies at your service. Give us a call and let us help you make your digital marketing wishes come true.

This article is brought to you by Nauman Akbar, founder and owner of MesssageMuse, a leader in offshore digital IT services. We are a full service digital marketing agency offering website development, enterprise app solutions for businesses, mobile app development, reputation management, logo design, and branding. We currently have customers internationally and in the US. We are now expanding our services to South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia. We are a registered business with the Delaware Secretary of State. We welcome individuals, businesses, and brokers to check out all the services and skills we offer. Give us a call at +1 (704) 315-2120 or check out our website at or send us an email at . Let us help your business find creative digital solutions at any price point.