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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Do You Know The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Marketing Companies?

Marketing and the SME.

Do they mix well?

I've talked to and worked with a large number of companies over the last few years.

Companies that turnover a minimum of about $4 million usually understand that marketing is not a cost but a neccesity for them to compete successfully and grow. But often they don't go any further and struggle manfully to grow by selling more goods, selling harder,working harder and sweating to the next level.

Obviously there are exceptions to this observation, life takes no notice of "rules"!

Then there are the businesses that turnover less and eke out a living as their CEO rush around buying sales with their time.

Who Needs Marketing?

So, what happens to the companies who think they know all about marketing for their industry, or don't think they need it or know they can't afford it?

Just look at the bankruptcy figures, or the takeovers or the loss-making companies. They're the ones losing the marketing battle.

Unfortunately they're probably not aware that lack of marketing has got them to that point.

They probably think it's lack of sales, lack of good staff or lack of a more credible product.

These are the companies that truly need to step back and look at how marketing can postively impact their business - before they lose their company.

Who do they turn to?

As well as good marketers (The Good) there are well-meaning but ineffective marketers (The Ugly) and just plain cowboy marketers(The Bad) around.

So how can you recognise the good from the bad and the ugly?

Which Ones Are The Good, The Bad And The Ugly?

It depends... and more to the point you only need to recognise the Good!

When you're talking to a marketing company ask yourself these questions:

  1. Did they ask you probing questions about you, your business,your usp, your services, your products, your goals, yourambitions and your current marketing before launchuing into selling mode?
  2. Did they test their understanding of what you'd said by paraphrasing your goals for the business?
  3. Were they willing to tie part of their compensation to results? And were they honest enough to admit that marketing almost always needs testing and tuning?
  4. Finally, did they avoid immediately offering a solution that involved only their skill-set. For example build a web site, set-up a Google Adwords campaign and do some email marketing without mentioning advertising, direct mail or pr.

Congratulations if you get a "Yes" in each question - you've got the makings of a great relationship. Your marketing company understands you and your aims so they've a good chance of helping you.

Any other answers and you need to do a lot more digging to establish whether they're really the company for you.

I've followed cowboy marketers (The Bad) into companies and find that all they've done is take a large retainer and provide boilerplate advice such as "do telesales", "produce a glossy brochure","attend trade shows", "you need an ecommerce web site" and"discount your product or service".

And guess what?

It sours the company on marketing, "because it doesn't work does it?"

I've written a short book for anyone who recognises they need some marketing but don't want to get burnt. It's an easy introduction to using a handful of key strategies and tactics to improve your business and you. Its' called "How To Leap Ahead Of Your Competitors"

Peter Tunbridge says of it "I have just re-read it once again and consider it would be of benefit to most business owners whom, Ifeel, have very little knowledge of how to market theirbusiness(es)."

Robert Craven Virgin Business Books Series Editor and author of "Kick-Start Your Business" said simply "Jim, Love the book..."

So grab it send an email now for your copy ".

Remember, by themselves indivdual marketing tactics help a business. If they're put together as part of a strategy all your effort is co-ordinated and the results, as they say, speak for themselves!

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