Marketing Done Badly is Bad for All Business.
Nothing frustrates me more than to walk into a meeting with a prospective client, only to hear them ask “what’s the point?” To sit and listen to the board of an organisation question the value of marketing. All too often it stems from them having used agencies who have been expensive and where the results have been less than positive. Invariably, when a business questions their agency the response is “we worked to the brief, we did what you asked us to.” Here’s the thing, if you have ever said that to a client you are part of the problem. You’re helping to give Marketing a bad name.
Throughout my career, prior to setting up my own marketing company, I was a big buyer of marketing. There were two things that drove me mad when dealing with marketing companies.
One; when my agency didn’t understand that I saw them as the experts. When they didn’t realise I was paying them to guide me through getting it right. It was not acceptable for them to blame me when they didn’t produce the results promised.
Or two. When my agency replied to any disatisfaction with the following statement. “Based on the brief you provided, this is what we have come up with. I’m sorry you’re not happy but for us to do any more work, you will have to pay extra.”
If you are a big buyer of marketing, I’m sure these two issues will be all too familiar. Ca-ching, I’ll bet you’re often wondering whether your marketing is just a waste of money.
As a professional marketer you never, ever want a client feeling their marketing is a waste of money!
Some Simple Rules for GREAT Marketing
Here is my one golden rule as a successful marketer. Never accept the brief! That’s right; I have never read a brief from a client that explains exactly what they want. Even fewer, actually outline what a client really needs. I have had so many younger marketers ask, “Well hang on, how are we supposed to know what the client wants, let alone quote for our services?”
In my experience the client doesn’t really know exactly what they want and yet, it’s our job to give them what they need. This is simply consultative selling. With my clients, I like to go so deep into their business and their troubles, that the things that are keeping them awake at night are keeping me awake at night. I come at the issues with a marketing perspective whilst never presuming I know my clients business better than they do. I ask lots of questions but still listen more than I talk. I make sure we do the marketing elements first, before jumping straight to advertising or communications. I gently remind my clients, that advertising and communications don’t work if we don’t have the marketing right.
Here is the second marketing rule I live by. Be accountable! If you are in a consultative process, you won’t be wrong, so price accordingly. I live by the simple philosphy that as far as a customer is concerned any marketing that doesn’t work is expensive. If your pricing is fair and equitable and you’re achieving great results, your value is never questioned. I am so passionate about this, we offer all our customers fixed prices. What we quote is what they pay. Full stop. There have been times when that has cost me profitability. However, in those situations, I look at my own team and our approach. I never point the finger at my client.
Lastly, never be ambiguous. Measure, measure and measure your efforts and don’t be afraid of the results. Act and react based on data and keep your customer involved in the process. Great marketers don’t have to have all the answers, they need to be open to all the answers.
Remember, no business can knowingly put a bad product out into the market place. Many marketing companies do this and hide behind a pricing regime that allows them to make extra money from poor performance. This gives all us marketers a bad name. I believe marketing is the language of business and should be at the forefront of driving all business decision making and success. We’re not there yet, we’re often still an afterthought. It’s bad marketing that’s holding us all back.
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