Eight Concerns I Have About Hiring a Marketing Company
Before I get started, let me explain why I am writing such an obscure blog post, considering the nature of my business. I have seen a few posts by marketing businesses, wondering how to get the right clients with so many other marketers out there. I realised that I have quite a few issues around marketing, because I have been burned a few times by marketing businesses. This post is therefore here to help marketers understand some of the reservations that the rest of us may have. Now fortunately not everyone is like me, but you may also have some of these concerns. Marketing people, please don’t take this as an attack, but rather information to help. Here goes.
1. What return on investment will I realistically get?
This is a tricky one, because you can’t possibly know for sure, but I need to know what to expect. Now we can all make a graph, and show how magnificent the return will be, but how do I know that it is realistic? Here’s the problem. I pay you money and you set out to get me more clients. If it fails, I now have less money and no more income. You have more money, and you are the one who possibly hasn’t done your job properly. How is that fair? If you do help to make me more money, that is great, but I feel like I’m the one taking the risk. How will you make me comfortable to take that risk?
2. What happens if I don’t get this return on investment, or I get the wrong leads?
Looking at the last point, what do we do if your marketing efforts fail? Other than me stopping your services, you’re still better off and I’m out of pocket. This has happened to me a few times; people promise me the earth, and nothing changes. I am then out of pocket and have no new business. If marketing businesses were prepared to accept responsibility to a point, and make some compensation, this would be an easier pill to swallow. The other potential issue is this: will I get the right business? I have used means to advertise before, and received loads of leads, but all complete time wasters and spammers. When I want more business, I want the right business, not necessarily just more enquiries. Do you address this when you speak to a potential client?
3. What will you do differently to what I have been doing?
I currently do my own marketing, and I do a decent job. I’m not hiring you to do a decent job, I’m hiring you because you’re supposed to be better than me. I expect you to do a better job than me. Do you just do what I ask you to, or do you bring your expertise to the table? Will you give me an idea as to what you will do differently (without giving the game away)? Let’s be honest, if someone is going to just do what I ask, I may as well just hire a virtual assistant. They are probably cheaper and more efficient at just posting material than a marketing expert. I want your expertise, not just someone to do the work. That is why you are worth more money. Do you demonstrate that to your potential clients?
4. I have a niche and somewhat unique business; are you keen to try new things if you don’t have the experience in my industry?
My business is different to others, and many common marketing tactics don’t work for me. Even if you have worked for another business like mine, I’m not like them. How do you use your knowledge, but adapt it and create something unique for me? I don’t just want your run-of-the-mill campaigns; I want something that will bring my business to life and represent my brand. If you can show me how you understand me and my business, and what value you can add, you’ll be halfway there.
5. Will you take my beliefs and requests into consideration?
This may sound like a pain, but it is a huge issue for me. Let’s look at a practical example. I don’t like Halloween. In fact, I hate it. I want nothing to do with it. If you were running my marketing, and I said that I didn’t want a Halloween campaign, would you honour requests like this, or would that irritate you? If things like this throw you into a spin, then you’re going to upset people. This is an easy request to deal with, but that is just one of the beliefs that I have, the other ones may be more complicated to accommodate. How do you deal with stuff like this?
6. Who owns the marketing content that you create for my business?
This one is straightforward. You make some pictures or videos for me, and then 6 months later we part ways. Can I still use the old content that you created, or does that go with you? Also, would I need to expect to see my content pop up in someone else’s marketing campaign with their logo? Do you make things like this clear to your potential clients before you start?
7. How do we manage social media interaction with clients or potential clients?
Do you interact with people on my behalf? This is a problem for me, because I have a reputation to uphold. How can I be sure that you will do this the way I want it done? We all know how social media can turn nasty; I would be hesitant to hand that control over to someone without us both understanding what is expected. How do you approach this concern?
8. What happens if there is a huge disaster with a marketing campaign that you suggest?
Let’s say that I don’t want to do a specific campaign, and you talk me into it. As you are the professional, I take your advice. The campaign goes monumentally wrong, and all my clients leave, and I must close the business. What then? If I had made the call, then I would need to deal with the consequences. As it was your idea, that would make me incredibly bitter. How would you deal with this? This may never happen, but it is something that I think about. I realise that it would be unfair to try and pin a disaster like this on you, but I want to know that you take my success or failure just as seriously as I do. Marketing is more than just getting sales; it is about creating a brand. I want to know you take that seriously.
There you have it. Eight reservations that I have about hiring a marketing company. You may think some of them are stupid, and that is fair enough, but now you know why some clients may be hard to crack. If this is what concerns me, surely there must be others that agree. I think the common thread through this post is managing people’s expectations. We often see posts about answering “yes” when people ask if you can do something, and then figuring out how to do it later. This won’t work for me. I’d rather talk these things through with you, and even if you don’t have all the answers, at least see that you have the same concerns. For example; if I ask about potential social media disasters, I’d rather hear “yes, we take those seriously and we put in steps to avoid them”, than “no, that won’t happen”. It comes down to trust, and I need to know that I can trust you, and that you’re looking out for me.
I will leave that with you. If you’d like to respond, please do so on the social media posts where I share this, as I need to turn the comments off due to all the spam. Please remember that this is not against marketing businesses, in fact quite the opposite. It is meant to help. To prove that I am quite friendly, please look at this range of spreadsheets that I have created to help you report on your clients’ social media analytics. Please feel free to download these at no cost to you, just to show that there are no hard feelings. If you’re not in marketing, I hope that you do find the right marketing company. You can feel free to download the spreadsheets too!
Happy marketing everyone!