There are many so-called cowboys, um I mean, experts out there hanging a shingle to ‘do’ marketing these days – new marketing, new media, social media marketing, online marketing, search marketing, web marketing and so the list goes on.
So many things to consider. However, what you might not consider is what they don’t bring to the table – things like;
- years of advising clients about the right direction to take,
- what market positioning to occupy,
- whether their brand is working for them or their customers
- what it is that their customers want and
- an understanding of how to bring all of that together.
Sure web, social media, mobile, etc is an exciting new frontier – BUT it’s just yet another new tool in the marketing arsenal. These too will be replaced by or morph into something else newer and sexier over time.
Marketing isn’t new and neither are the basic fundamentals of marketing and communication – only its speed has changed and we’ve thrown some sexy new tools into the mix. But that’s the point, any tools you choose should be part of your mix – there is no ‘one’ marketing or communication fix-all and social media definitely isn’t it. Print is not dead and neither is publicity – it just depends on how and, more importantly, why any tool is used in the first place.
Sadly, all too often I see business owners lamenting that they’ve done design, PR, websites, marketing collateral and it hasn’t worked – and mostly it comes down to two reasons;
- The designer, publicist, social media expert, ‘marketer’ (we’ll call these guys the do-ers), haven’t understood the importance of getting the client’s strategy correct or even what outcomes the client was after in the first place – they just did marketing stuff.
- Or the client has outsourced to so many different people in an effort to get things done, that the brand essence and messages are significantly diluted by the many do-ers wanting to ‘do’ some good ‘stuff’ (a technical term) that reflects their skill set.
At the end of the day, all of this often only serves to undermine the brand. And over time that could cost the business owner profits, sales, customers and often, staff.
If you’re anything like most business owners, you’re busy running your business. You might hope that by outsourcing, something will happen, something will get done. And you’d be right, stuff will happen, but it won’t necessarily be the right thing, for the right clients, or at the right time with the right messaging and offer or at the right price.
So if you’re looking to improve your marketing in 2012, start by asking any do-ers you’re considering about their expertise in developing client strategy. Here’s a hint – if they’ve got less than 10 years in heavy duty marketing either in-house or in agency – choose someone else. After all, do you want someone ‘practicing’ their new craft on your business? Didn’t think so (LinkedIn is a great place to check out potential marketing folks).
And if you look, you’ll find there are some great people out there with awesome expertise, who don’t charge much, if any, more than the cowboys out for a quick dollar – who, let’s be frank, are unlikely to still be around in 3-5 years time, because they’ll be on to the next trend. But consider what damage might they do to your business in the meantime.
Once you’ve chosen someone who understands what outcomes you’re looking for (and understands the importance of the marketingt project to your business, family, etc) have them take you through a thorough process which either you or they can then apply to everything from that point on. That way, you’ll have a congruent brand, with solid positioning and a market-focussed offer at the right price targeting the right clients.
And voila – your ducks are in a row.
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