How to tell a marketing expert from a marketing services provider

How to tell a marketing expert from a marketing services provider

There are a lot of people out there selling marketing services and associated technical or creative services. In fact its a constant source of interest as to how many companies and consultants are prepared to claim ownership for the “marketing expert” title.

Of course this leads to a fairly confusing picture for the buyer and as they may already be confused about what marketing is its a real problem. The results are apparent all around us as we see small companies that can ill afford wastage pouring their hard earned money down the drain as they carry out the wrong activities for the wrong reasons and are often short changed in the quality of service department along the way.

Lets look at web design as an example most websites are built by designers or by web development (IT based) companies.

The problem with this is that both these operations have a) no marketing training and b) they specifically want to bill you for what they do. i.e. design or coding.

If you as the customer have no specific marketing training then how, between you, can you deliver a website that is customer oriented and delivers your business proposition in the manner most likely to generate business?

(I’m of course making the assumption that you accept the role of marketing in the business cycle and understand that while its not an exact science there are certain fundamentals an when they are correctly implemented they will generally result in more business, higher value customers and eventually profitability and business growth! If you are unsure about this then read the Why Marketing is essential for Profit and Business Growth article that I may or may not have written yet but I’ll link it here when I have.)

So how can you be sure you are using someone  who know what they are doing?

  1. What does their company website and business card say they do? In my experience people that do Marketing are fairly quick to say that. They don’t say we do design and print or we build websites, of course as marketing companies sometimes do all these things it can still be unclear.
  2. Ask them for an outline marketing plan. Not only will this be a useful thing to have but their willingness to provide it will give you a very clear indication of their marketing knowledge. If you get one look at it carefully and see if it genuinely covers a variety of topics or whether the plan is in fact just an argument to buy their area of specialisation. We offer any business that asks for it a free framework marketing plan as we know that it will usually highlight something key that they need to consider and we know it inside out so its easy for us to do.
  3. What have they done in their previous work? Invariably the people I meet who know about marketing have had a marketing role somewhere either client or agency side. they specifically were not designers or ad agency sales people or working at IT companies. this info is usually available on LinkedIn now so you don’t even have to ask the question face to face, just check it out yourself.
  4. Ask for a list of features before you agree to any work. A Marketing expert is going to have absolutely no problem showing you why each bit of your website/brochure/exhibition stand is there and will actually be glad you ask. A service professional will often struggle because they are more used to simply giving you what you are happy with and that is the quick way to end up with ineffective costly marketing mistakes.
Also read my article on The true cost of lack of marketing investment.
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James is a business owner and marketeer who is passionate about business and entrepreneurialism. If you ask him he'll say that growing up in a family of twelve children was a defining factor in his endless appetite for new ideas and the daily collaboration with other business entrepreneurs through his marketing business. When it comes to business James calls on his time spent at companies as well known as Unilever, Sainsbury and Marks and Spencer for the procedural underpinning that helps him ensure efficient delivery and solve real commercial problems but the freedom of running his own businesss Spiritas.co.uk has allowed him to also cultivate his own internet ventures as well as maintain a client base that includes Toshiba and Universal Pictures amongst other well known companies, brands and a plethora of SMEs. If you need a collaborator unafraid to challenge or someone who can generate ideas that might actually work James is a good person to call. Google+

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