Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Plug the Marketing Black Hole by Aundrea Wilcox

Why does everyone think marketing is so easy that anyone can do it?  This is a repeated mistake that small businesses make unwittingly.  When they need help with a marketing project, they hire a student, stay-at-home parent, unemployed friend or acquaintance, spouse or someone’s niece or nephew to do what seems like a simple task.  Marketing, however, isn’t as easy as it seems—no offense to anyone that is a stay at home parent or a self-taught, self-proclaimed freelancer.  Be careful about who you name as your chief marketer.  Marketing requires particular knowledge, experience and creativity.  The wrong person can do a lot of irreparable damage.      

Like it or not, not everybody is good at marketing.  In my mind there are two types of marketers:  one is an ‘idea’ person and the other is ‘hands-on.’  You may need to hire more than one marketer to carry out your marketing plans. 

The marketer with the ‘big idea’ may not be the same person who actually creates a direct mail piece or builds your web site.  That is why marketing firms and advertising agencies exist.  One side of the house ‘thinks’ while the other side ‘produces.’  So how do you know if you are working with a marketer that actually knows what they are doing?  Ask for samples of their work and referrals.  Never hire a marketer simply based on what they saythey can do for you.  There are a lot of fakes out there who talk a good game, but can’t finish a project or deliver any real results. 

References are critical in this game.  If you hear negative comments about an individual or firm that you are thinking about working with, do them a favor and put it right out there on the table and acknowledge it.  They need to know what people are saying about them and the way they do business.  If you feel comfortable enough to proceed after talking it out, by all means carry on.  But if you don’t, go with your gut and find someone else.  There are too many fish in the sea to just settle for anything that moves.

A master marketer has four essential qualities:

§ Perceptiveness:  They get you and what you are trying to accomplish. They know who your target market is and how they buy. 

§ Budget Conscious:  If you can’t afford it, it doesn’t matter how great the idea is.  Tell your marketer what you are willing and able to spend up front.  Let them know that you don’t like surprises (as far as your budget is concerned), and you want them to optimize your marketing spending.  Sure, there are lots of things you could do, but what can you do that will give you the greatest return with the least amount of money, time and effort?   

§ Git' R' Done Kind of Person:  A master marketer will deliver more than just lip service.  No matter what it takes, they will efficiently and diligently get the project done to your satisfaction on time and on budget, every time.

§ Web Site Portfolio:  Before you hire a marketer, look at their web site.  If they don’t have one or it looks like hell, why would you hire them? It’s like going to an upscale hair salon and expecting a spectacular ‘do’ from a stylist who is having a bad hair day or doesn’t care about their own appearance.  A marketer’s web site should be professional, simple, interesting, and by all means up-to-date.  If it doesn’t sell you, don’t hire them!  

Learn more about Aundrea Y. Wilcox, Author of the New Book, Startup Savvy: Strategies for Optimizing Small Business Survival and Success

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