“It has ceased to surprise me, but it never ceases to annoy me when businesses think that a the place to start marketing is with media.”
~ Debra Hilton
Would You Build a House Without Planning it First?
I saw an episode of Grand Designs where a couple started with a piece of land and an outline and modified it as they went. When the show was filmed they had already spend about $9 million and only had the skeleton of a house (parts of which they were in the process of tearing down).
Sadly, many businesses use this approach with their marketing. As a result they waste a lot of money before getting the outcomes they want… or before giving up completely. Most of these disasters could have been avoided if they had set up a marketing plan or system before taking any tactical steps.
Do You Know Anyone Who Has…
- Built or rebuilt their website before determining their ideal customer journey, sales funnel, and outcomes?
- Invested in promotional videos, brochures, or even a book before deciding what they want to be known for?
- Invested in branding and collateral then changed course midstream and wasted everything they had created?
- Wasted time, money, effort, and energy on disconnected, random investments in attempted marketing?
If your answer is ’No’, then you are fortunate and I wish that I stood in your shoes. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have done these things and are continually chasing bright shiny objects that promise the world rather than setting up systems that will attract new customers in an organised and controlled way.
Predictable Reliable Results Help You Sleep Soundly
- What if you knew that by investing $X you could expect #Y leads, and create #Z appointments?
- What if you also had a system that let you segment those leads by interest, value, and readiness to buy so that you could focus your time an energy on the most appropriate and valuable prospects and keep others warm until they had an urgent need?
- What if you controlled that system yourself and thoroughly understood everything that was being done in the marketing arena and everything that was being spent?
I understand why business owners don’t want to bother with their marketing, and I’m not suggesting that you have to do everything yourself, but I believe that if you delegate your marketing and have no interest in it at all you will waste a lot of money and get disappointing results.
Delegating Your Marketing is Dangerous!
There is a often a definite conflict between your marketing agency’s priorities and your own that you should be aware of and that should affect your decisions.
Your marketing agency is looking at the following criteria (they need to do this, because they have a business to run as well) and basing their recommendations on:
- Media and affiliate commissions;
- Profit margins;
- Creative availability;
- Peer approval;
- Portfolio building;
- Personal biases and background;
- Satisfying client preconceived ideas and biases;
- Client results;
You should be focused on attracting quality leads who are ready to buy or will be ready to buy at some unspecified future date and your marketing system should be engineered to:
- Attract quality leads;
- Qualify and segment those leads;
- Turn leads into customers;
- Nurture leads extensively;
- Turn satisfied customers into raving lifetime fans.
Once you are aware of these conflicting goals, you can ask the questions you need to ensure that you are investing your marketing dollars in building your own business, rather than supporting your marketing agency’s priorities and hoping for an acceptable result.
Know BEFORE You Outsource – Test, Question, and Prove
I’m not suggesting that you do all your marketing yourself. I am suggesting that you start with a system and a strategy and then talk to your marketing agency to discuss how they can supply the moving parts you need.
You may find that they will suggest improvements and refinements to your system but you should be very wary of any agency or consultant who advises you to throw away your system for the latest shiny object, or ignore your own expertise.
One of my clients knows his market very well and was confident that Facebook would not be a good source of customers for his particular niche but was willing to test his conviction. When a consultant approached him with an expensive package designed to discover prospects on Facebook, he was interested but sceptical, so he requested a scaled down version to add to his existing streams of leads. After three months he realised that while the number of leads was high, their quality was minimal. At the six-month mark he analysed all his streams and found that the cost per qualified lead was extremely high and decided to cancel the Facebook stream for his primary business on the basis of the numbers.
If he hadn’t already had a system running, he wouldn’t have been able to test the numbers, but he also did not blindly follow the advice of the consultant and throw away or put on hold what was already working. I think this is a trap that business owners often fall into: just because you are invited to try something new, doesn’t mean that you should throw out or pause what you are already doing.
Many marketing strategies build momentum over time and pausing them can have devastating results. This is particularly true with email, social media (both paid and free) and content marketing. Consistency is key!
Build a Marketing System that Generates a List of Quality Prospects
The goal of your marketing should be to generate list of qualified prospects that you can communicate with on your own terms. It doesn’t need to be a large list, it does need to be a quality list.
If your marketing agency isn’t helping you to build a list and communicate with the people on it, then you should make sure that you are doing this through another channel. Likes, shares, and other intangibles may help you to build your list and communicate with your ideal prospects, but you need to ensure that you track your results carefully.