9 Dos ands Don’ts When Using Marketing Consultants

Let’s play pretend

Let’s pretend you’re an insurance agent.  Someone meets you for the first time and asks you to issue them a policy.Marketing Consultants - Magic

What’s the first thing you do?

Do you go ahead and write the policy?  Probably not.  Not if you want to keep your license.

Why?  Because you don’t know anything about them so you don’t know what type of policy coverage they need.  You need them to answer a lot of questions so you can narrow the field of possibilities and provide them with the best coverage possible.  Right?

Let’s pretend you’re an interior designer and a client hires you to redo their home.  They toss you the keys and off they go.

If you went to work without client input – the client’s tastes, preferences, living requirements, lifestyle – you would basically ensure your failure. Right?

So Why Are Marketing Consultants Different?

So why do these same business owners assume they can hire marketing and/or social media consultants to craft their brand image, to write copy, to design their websites, to do their social media without providing them with input?

Do they think marketers have some sort of black magic or telepathic powers?

Don’t they understand that marketing and social media  professionals require input from their clients as they do from theirs?

Don’t they understand that marketing – good marketing – is customized and tailored for each and every client?  One size does not fit all.

Why do intelligent sales and service professionals and other business owners become deaf, dumb and stupid when providing marketing or social media professionals with the needed input and insight into their businesses so they can deliver great results?

I think business owners who don’t provide input and aren’t fully engaged in the marketing of their businesses fall into two broad groups:

  1. I don’t want to be bothered with marketing, which is why I hired you
  2. I’m afraid that the marketing created will require me to grow and I’m not certain I want to or that I’m ready to

To the first group, all I can say is don’t bother to hire anyone.  Most good marketing and social media professionals don’t want to work in a silo.  They need your input and guidance in order to create marketing that really fits you and your business and that will deliver results.  If you’re not willing to invest the time and energy to get good marketing, then you don’t really deserve their marketing expertise.

To the second group – the group that may be intimidated and fearful of the process, I say trust the professionals.  They have fresh and objective eyes.  As a result, they are more clearheaded than you.  If they see marketing opportunities for your business, then you need to swallow your fear and trust you will grow into being a bigger you with their help.

Here are 9 the Dos and Don’ts when Using Marketing and Social Media Vendors

Here is my list of Dos and Don’ts.

1.  Do have a marketing budget and know what you want to spend BEFORE contracting with marketing vendors.

Share this information with your marketers so they fully understand the scope of the job and so they don’t propose something you can’t afford.

2.  Do give them ALL of the information you can and keep them in the loop as things change, you get more clients or more awards.  

The more information you give them, the richer their work will be.

3.  Do share your ideas, expectations, and your goals. 

But also encourage them to present you with new ideas and stay open to those ideas.

4.  Do the work they ask you to do.  

Good marketing and social media professionals need and want your partnership in the process. If they ask you to do a profile of your ideal customers or to create an editorial or promotions calendar, do the best you can.  If they ask you to track results to identify what is or isn’t working, do it so they can refine their efforts and produce better results.

5.  Do be engaged in the material they present.  

Tell them what you like.  As important, tell them what you don’t like.  Ask questions about what you see to make certain you understand why they presented it.  The more insight you can give them, the better able they will be to hone the output to deliver better results.

6.  Don’t hire just any marketing or social media person who walks in the door. 

Make it your mission to shop around for the best marketing and social media people you can find.  Interview several to find one that you feel is a good fit.  Remember you are entrusting this person with access to your website, your email list, and your social media accounts.  They need to be trustworthy and responsible.

7.  Don’t expect them to read your mind or to fully understand the inner workings of your business.  

They don’t – even if they pretend they do.  Your business and the way you run it is unique to you.  They need you to explain it to them.

8.  Don’t agree to have them do something unless you are really committed to doing it. 

Nothing can be more frustrating and disheartening than putting energy into the front-end of a project only for a client to sit on it for 6 months with no feedback.  Not good.

9.  Don’t keep your marketing people in limbo. 

When you finally do get around to them, they may no longer be interested in working with you, which means you have to start over.  Plus you risk them losing any enthusiasm for your projects, so their best ideas, best work, may not surface.

Your Turn

Are there other Dos and Don’ts you would add to this list?

What are your experiences in working with marketing or social media consultants?  Good, bad or neutral?

Could you have made it better?

Share your thoughts below in the comments section.  I’d love to hear about your experiences with marketing and social media vendors.

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Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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