We rely on professionals to tell us exactly what we need, whether it is a doctor, an attorney or a real estate agent. Professionals diagnose existing problems, then offer solutions based on their findings. The same is true when it comes to marketing agencies. Nowadays people think that they know what to do based on a few Google searches, but the result is that they draw conclusions that are incorrect.
What do I need?
We must trust the professional to avoid costly mistakes; a classic example is the private home seller who wants to use the Zestimate on Zillow to price their home. Real estate agents see this often and take the opportunity to educate the home seller rather than erroneously pricing his listing.
They have practical experience in the area and with the target audience, thus they know the trends and what buyers are looking for when buying a home. In that example, if a real estate agent chose to list the property at the client’s desired price, the home would be unlikely to sell, which would be a disservice to you and your client.
As marketers, we often experience a similar version of that situation. We try to educate our clients as much as possible because we understand that they lack the expertise that we have, and thus, it is more difficult for them to see what they need to do.
Before you schedule a meeting with your selected marketing firms, figure out your starting point:
You need a marketing strategy if:
- You know you want more clients but don’t know where to begin.
- You want to create a budget for your marketing expenditures.
- You want to plan a year’s worth of marketing.
- You desire to change your existing marketing.
- You need a professionally prepared media plan.
A marketing strategy will dictate everything that will be done from the branding to the execution of your marketing.
You need branding if:
- You are looking to change or establish the personality of your business (brand) — this includes voice and mission.
- You need help in establishing your services.
- You need to create a unified and consistent look.
- You wish to create collateral materials (brochures, folders, etc.).
- You would like to change your position amongst your competitors.
- You need to establish a new brand message for your target audience.
- You would like to explore creating a new type and color.
- You would like to create or revamp your tagline.
- You want to evolve your logo or have a new one designed.
Despite popular belief, branding is more than just your logo. Your branding is the basis of your business’s personality, not just the visual aspects of it. If you have decided to take your business to the next level, you likely desire to start with your branding.
You need public relations if:
- You are looking to be quoted as an expert.
- You wish to get free editorial included in the newspaper or magazines.
- You want news written (press release) and syndicated to various media outlets both online and offline.
- You want someone to handle your public persona.
- You want someone to help you with event sponsorship.
- You want someone to advise you on which charities to donate to.
PR handles getting your message heard and works to position you as an expert in your industry.
You need marketing if:
- You are looking for print advertisements.
- You wish to create digital media ads.
- You are trying to increase awareness for your business.
- You are looking to generate more leads.
- You want a content strategy in place that includes blog, articles and online press.
- You want an active social media presence.
- You wish to create brand ambassadors.
- You need an email campaign.
- You are looking to send direct mail.
- You are looking to advertise your business online and offline.
Marketing is the act of promoting your brand and generating awareness for it. The goal of your marketing is to convert people into prospects and finally clients.
Although you might already be engaged in a few of these initiatives, you might be missing some of the most important strategies that will tie it all together. Before you meet with your prospective agency, make sure you are armed with the knowledge of precisely what you need. It is always important to know what your current marketing is lacking.