Weâ€™ve been talking lately about burned out clients, so I thought maybe I should devote a blog entry completely to the topic. There are a lot of them out there and it can be disheartening. We know that marketing is a tough business. Itâ€™s hard to know who you can trust and who you canâ€™t. The land of marketing is littered with the empty bank accounts of clients who have trusted someone with a boat load of their money and gotten little to nothing in return.
With this happening daily, itâ€™s not hard to see how many people equate marketing with old fashioned snake oil salesmen. Itâ€™s a sad state of affairs. Itâ€™s an even worse state of affairs when youâ€™re the marketing company that happens upon these clients after their most recent encounter and theyâ€™re so burned and so desolate, that they are afraid to dive back in to marketing their company ever again.Â At best, theyâ€™re gun shy. At worst, they have a virulent hatred toward anything marketing and refuse to consider it again.
A few years ago, when I was attending a national conference on broadcasting, I had the pleasure of seeing a highly creative person that I admire speak before a crowd of eager listeners. Heâ€™d created a worldwide phenomenon with one of his products and everyone in the room was basking in the joy of sitting in his presence. And then he opened his mouth and started to speak and my world crashed. His entire speech was based on a bitter hatred of marketing people. Though his company had done well enough to sell worldwide and be in (literally) every store in the United States, a marketing company had caused him financial failure that resulted in him selling his company and losing everything. He blamed the marketing company.Â Not surprisingly, I donâ€™t.
Marketing is just like any other part of your company. If you watch revenue and sales carefully, you should also watch your marketing company and budget carefully and make sure that the choices match what you desire for your business.Â Here are a few tips to consider:
Budget: Your marketing budget should never dominate the rest of your budgetary requirements for your company. When the speaker I mentioned above talked about his company, he made mention that at one point, his marketing budget was three times the amount of total sales he was bringing in. Thereâ€™s no way to recoup that loss and the marketing is just not doing what it needs to do. Thatâ€™s when itâ€™s up to you to reevaluate and cut your losses. A good marketing company will work with you to ensure that your marketing works with your budget. Not the other way around.
Ask Questions. No Marketing Company will ever hesitate to answer your questions. If they do hesitate or if they give you an answer that you donâ€™t completely understand, push them. Ask for more. Youâ€™re getting ready to turn your entire companyâ€™s reputation and message over to them, so donâ€™t be afraid to push and make sure itâ€™s the right fit. If you donâ€™t understand some term or phrase they use, ask. Donâ€™t just buy whatever they tell you. Do the research yourself.
Expectations: A good marketing company will give you specifics of what you can expect from them at the end of either your projected contract or on a regular basis. Make sure that you understand exactly what theyâ€™ll be delivering, when and how. Bumps in the schedule could arise and need flexibility, but the main goals and deliverables should never founder.
Do the Research: Find out what, specifically, youâ€™re paying for.Â I have run into a huge number of clients lately that are paying tens of thousands of dollars for things that are available for free online. This means youâ€™re not paying for something original or for a program. Youâ€™re paying someoneâ€™s hourly wage. In some instances, Iâ€™ve seen web design work and copywriting that surpasses that of high level attorneys. (In a few cases, upwards of $500-$600 per hour.) Thereâ€™s no way that their work is worth this. But in the contractual stage, their flowery language and promises of specific design, etc..makes a client feel like theyâ€™re getting something amazing and built specifically for their business. Theyâ€™reÂ not. Itâ€™s a template. And in fact, itâ€™s completely updateable by the client, but in many cases, they never receive the password/login, therefore paying the web designers thousands of dollars for simple text updates that may take ten minutes.
Make sure that you know specifically what youâ€™re going to get when you hire someone.
Your budget should be something youâ€™ve put in place â€“ not them.
Make sure that their marketing plan fits in with the overall goals of your company.
Lori Twichell is the owner of Beyond the Buzz Marketing. She is also the Marketing Director for Christian Work at Home Moms and JV Media Design. In her spare time, Lori is co-owner of Radiant Lit and a professional book reviewer for Fiction Addict. Lori and her husband live in San Antonio, Texas with their three kids and two dogs.