Since starting my Indianapolis area marketing firm in 2005, I have worked with a variety of clients, from solo entrepreneurs to other agencies and creative firms, as well as small businesses with a full staff and sales team. But no matter the size of the client, the success of the company’s marketing program is usually not dependent on their marketing budget or how flashy their ads look.
If you are working with a marketing firm, or looking to hire a marketing consultant to outsource or assist with marketing your business, there are a few things that you need to know in order to make the relationship a successful one.
Unfortunately, some of the clients who fail to take these considerations to heart end up struggling in their businesses and they are not able to see the full potential of their marketing strategy and execution.
- Trust: Find a marketing firm or consultant that you can trust to get the job done, and then let them do their job. For many business owners, especially of smaller firms, this is a hard concept to grasp. You are an expert at what you do. Marketers are experts in their fields, too. If you are not willing to trust their opinion or go with their recommendations for every marketing decision, it will not end up being a good relationship. Marketing firms need to know that their clients value their opinions and instincts when it comes to marketing their business. If you are constantly second-guessing them or micro-managing their every move, you will end up wasting time and not getting much accomplished.
- Communication: The best clients for me are the ones who are the most responsive. Sure, we are all busy people and have a lot on our plates. We juggle our work, personal lives and family priorities. But we, as agencies, work hard to turn around that web content or blog post that you so desperately needed last week. Be considerate and take five minutes to read through it and respond, so that you don’t leave us hanging. Let us know what’s going on in your business by having a regular conference call, or sending us periodic emails throughout the day. This will help us to do our jobs better. And the more we know about your business, the better we can market your business.
- Inspiration: As an outsourced resource for your business, a marketing firm cannot be “in the trenches” with your sales team or in all of your team meetings. It’s just not practical. But you can help out your marketing or ad agency tremendously by providing some ideas that were generated from the meeting that relate to your marketing strategy. Perhaps you read an article that would be great to post on social media, or to expand into a blog post. Let your social media marketing firm know this, or create an ongoing list of ideas to send them. This helps inspire them to do their best job promoting your company and makes the marketing messages more authentic, too.
- Respect: Respect your ad agency or freelance marketing person, and you will be respected. This could range from paying your agency invoices on time to not calling, emailing them or even texting them with a last-minute request for a web update at 3 a.m. Marketers are people too. They have bills to pay, kids to shuttle to soccer practice, and –(gasp) — other clients to serve. If you show them the same respect and consideration that they show you, the client-agency partnership will thrive.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your marketing firm and set expectations and guidelines at the onset of a new vendor-client relationship. And definitely revisit the situation if you sense a strain or lack of communication. But don’t forget the above guidelines to maximize your investment in your outsourced marketing resource. Your marketing firm wants you to succeed, and make your life easier. They just need a little help from you. 🙂