With dozens of people out there telling you that their way of winning business works, so buy them, not the next person, what can you do to make a good decision?
Many people will look at people’s track record and their LinkedIn recommendations. Whilst I’d really like it if you’d look at mine, it is fair to say that this does discriminate against people who do know what they are doing but don’t have a long track record (or who are too shy to ask for recommendations ..but to be fair, we don’t often ask for them).
In any event, they should be happy to put you in touch with clients who will sing their praises. Make sure you get at least 5 or 6 because it is pretty easy to keep a couple of pets very happy and let the rest drift.
But that comes later… how do you know that what they are telling you to do works at the beginning?
Here are 4 simple tests
- Do they use their own system? Are they using a way of marketing to market themselves to you yet telling you to do something else? For example, are they telling you that exhibitions are too expensive to make pay a month or two after meeting you at their stand at an exhibition? Have they e-mailed you to tell you about the virtues of their SEO services?
If what they are telling you to do works, they should probably be doing it themselves. Do they?
- Is the pricing right? One of the big costs for marketers is their own marketing. if they are efficient marketers, the cost efficiency should be passed to you in lower prices. Is it?
Higher prices don’t necessarily mean a better product or service. The opposite is often true. (However, ‘free’ is seldom good value.)
- Does it Make Sense? Is what they are saying sensible? Do some maths on a ‘best case/worst case’ basis. I recently met with a firm who get a decent flow of enquiries from their website. They think they’ll be increasing this by 500% this year. Hmmm.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- What’s the tie-in? A lot of good marketing takes time, but that’s no reason to have a 12 month tie-in. Even if the results haven’t hit your turnover yet, you should be able to see the benefits faster than that and if what they are offering works, they should be confident enough to offer it without an extended tie in.
Tie ins protect the vendor from failure, not the client.
This bit is a bit salesy, so you might like to skip it.
Things we DON’T do include SEO, retain a PR company, do telesales, or employ sales people and we have no dedicated marketers.
Things we do do include : a monthly quality e-newsletter, social networking and automated distribution of thought leadership etc content (like this) and relay on marketers etc who recommend our services for their clients.
Although we do take the occasional ad for brand awareness purposes, our marketing budget is less than 2% of turnover…
and with the savings???
We spend the savings on product development, which is normally more than 20% of our turnover.
PS This item was suggested to me by this