We’ve recently had a flood of clients coming to see us and asking our advice as they’ve come to a juncture with their marketing and want to know how best to move forward.
The clients have all been from different industry sectors but with one main theme running through all – they’ve committed to undertake some marketing (in whatever guise that may take; new website, social media, printed advertising) but haven’t necessarily seen the results they were expecting.
When delving deeper into why things haven’t come to fruition in the way they’d hoped there have been a number of factors at play.
Breakdown in Communication with the Marketing agency.
We’ve had the all too familiar tale that the investment has been made – the results are not what were promised but the money has been paid and the project is too far down the line now to throw it all away and start again. When you know you’re not the expert in this field and go to someone who should be, you want their expertise and guidance. If you’re not well advised then it’s understandable that you’ll go along with what’s being said, until you realise that maybe this isn’t the right way forward. While it’s not an ideal situation and takes up a lot of time, you’re in the midst of it now and you’ll get there in the end. Whenever the end may be…….
Relying on Friends as Suppliers
We’ve also had a few instances of clients saying ‘yes’ to people they know and like. Because they’ve met them a few times at a networking event, or because they know them outside of work and they get on well. After all, if they’re nice people then they’ll be easy to work with and will do what needs doing. Won’t they?
THE WAY FORWARD
Strategic and Consistent
Part of the issue with all of the above is that there has been a lack of cohesion when looking at individual projects. With any marketing activity, it needs to be part of a strategic approach. Scatter gun and splitting services across suppliers often doesn’t work. One off solutions tend to be both costly and neglect the bigger picture. Everything you do needs to have Marketing thinking behind it. Content and design needs to be consistent and of good quality. Attention to detail needs to be prevalent throughout and everything needs to feed into the bigger picture. Only a true Full service agency with Marketing expertise are likely to be able to provide the results you really need.
You wouldn’t buy a shirt / blouse to wear to an occasion without having an idea of what overall outfit it’s going to go with - it might be the wrong colour, fabric or style. Yes, it would work as an individual item of clothing, but not necessarily with the whole picture. The same goes for marketing – various channels and tactics may work as individual marketing tools but not necessarily work well with the whole business strategy.
Marketing is an investment
Whether it is time, resource or financial, set a budget and plan with the overall strategy in mind. This will ensure direction and integration are always at the forefront of what you do. Committing to a marketing strategy will help you align your sales and marketing resources to one common goal for your business preventing any ‘one off’ spontaneous and costly activities, because they sound “too good to miss”.
Find an agency that gels with your business.
There are many excellent designers, website developers, social media providers out there, however, to achieve the desired results they will need guidance and direction from yourselves. If you’re not a marketing expert then make sure they are, they should ask searching questions about your business direction and objectives and only then can they help you plan and deliver a return for your investment.
Do not be wowed by their creativity and results for other clients, they need to deliver for YOU. They may understand the retail world, but can they get their head around your company if it offers business to business services?