DIY Marketing – Biggest small business mistake
DIY Marketing and Hiring Marketers to work In-house is one of the biggest mistakes being made by many Australian small businesses.
Marketing, like most business disciplines is changing rapidly due to advancements in technology, media fragmentation, and the resulting change in consumer wants and behavior.
Increasingly, there are more marketing specialists than ever before and the decreasing number of remaining marketing management generalists have to keep up their knowledge across an increasing array of new channels and tools whilst managing more complex campaigns and measuring and analyzing increasing reams of data on an ever decreasing budget.
Marketers are struggling with issues around Loyalty, CRM, Big Data, Search Engine Marketing (PPC, SEO, Display), Social Media, Content Marketing, PR, UX, etc. And each of these distinctively different disciplines has at least 3-4 different broad areas before one even drills down to specialities!
Outsourcing Your Marketing Infographic
Essential small business guide to hiring a marketing resource or outsourcing to a marketing agency
Yet most SME Marketing Job Descriptions read like a mythical Marketing Super Hero, with marketing job descriptions for a Marketing Manager, Marketing Assistant or Marketing Coordinator encompassing vastly disparate skill sets.
Here’s a typical description for a Marketing Coordinator or Marketing Assistant in a company where this individual is the one and only marketing resource and hence a recipe for disaster, where he or she is expected to:
The simple truth is that these marketing superheroes do not exist except on resumes of individuals who need a job and tailor their CV’s to say so.
The sad reality is that most SME business owners do not know what they really need and end up “copy and pasting” from job descriptions they have seen. Due to the fact that most business owners are not professional marketers, they have no idea how to tell a ‘good’ applicant with the appropriate skills, in a few areas they are actually good at, from ‘bad ones’.
At the very best, the SME business owner hires someone who is good in 2 or 3 areas out of the 7 or 8 they have advertised for, effectively investing in a marketing project manager, who will still have to either engage outside marketing specialists or try to do it all themselves. The overall result, no matter which way you slice it, is at best mediocre.
The easiest way to understand this dire situation is to look at the marketing department of a bigger company, where the typical job description above would be performed by 2 or 3 different teams or at the very least 2 or 3 different individuals. Yet small business owners expect one person to perform miracles or worse still believe they can do it themselves.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions, success stories of entrepreneurs doing their own marketing and doing it brilliantly, but the key word is exceptions. In many cases these entrepreneurs have a marketing background and a real passion for marketing their business. This is not the case in general. Most people go into business to do what they love, being an accountant or an architect, a lawyer, a plumber, a gardener, etc.
According to the Mavenlink infographic Hire or Contract Your Marketing Department there are a number of key criteria that should steer you in the correct direction:
Here is a summary of the factors that would see you lean towards an in-house or hiring solution:
- Large marketing budget at your disposal
- Slow to steady rate of growth
- Very sensitive proprietary information
- Few Urgent Deadlines
- You prefer Day-to-Day supervision of all personnel versus a Results Only Work Environment
- You disagree that media communication has become too complicated.
The Marketing Network Outsourcing vs In-House Marketing Diagram summarizes the advantages marketing outsourcing can deliver to a small and medium sized enterprise.
Outsourcing Your Marketing Infographic
Essential small business guide to hiring a marketing resource or outsourcing to a marketing agency
For a free and no-obligation assessment of your marketing needs don’t hesitate to call us or alternatively in the first instance you can have a look at the Marketing Check document in our Marketing Resources section.
The post DIY Marketing – Biggest small business mistake appeared first on The Marketing Network.
11 Questions To Help You Select A Marketing Consultant That Is Right For Your Business
Are you looking for a marketing consultant who can assist your business growth or help you overcome a challenging situation?
Judging by the number of SME clients who we have worked with who have previously been let down by their chosen marketing partner, it is easy to see why so many business owners are concerned that marketing people over-promise and under-deliver.
We believe the problem in the industry is multifaceted and is unlikely to go away in a hurry – here is an examination of some of the industry issues. Hence the purpose of this article is to assist SME business owners in selecting the right marketing professionals to work on their business.
At The Marketing Network we don’t hide behind jargon nor try to impress you with it
At The Marketing Network we don’t hide behind jargon nor try to impress you with it – talking of which this is hilarious! You know your business better than anybody else – we know how to get you in front of your target audience, with the right message at the lowest possible cost.
At The Marketing Network our experienced marketing consultants have the expertise to increase your sales and decrease your costs.
Marketing is about common sense so it is best to interview a few providers and see who makes most sense to you. Make sure to get references and see examples of their work before making the final decision. Most importantly, you need to be comfortable with how well the marketing consultant understands the key drivers in your business.
Here is a list of questions that will assist you in selecting the right marketing consultant for your business:
1. How many years experience does the marketing consultant have in the marketing industry?
Anything over 10 years is acceptable.
2. How many years experience does the marketing consultant have in consulting to small medium enterprises (SME’s)?
Less than 2 years is unacceptable. Consulting in general is one of the most transient industries and marketing is no different.
Anyone can call himself or herself a consultant and in fact over 8,000 individuals in Australia do so, but your chances of finding an independently accredited professional consultant are just 1 in 12!
So make sure that the marketing consultant you are talking to is a member of a professional marketing or consulting body, at the very least this means they have the right education / qualification.
3. How many different product / service categories has the marketing consultant worked across?
The more diverse the marketing consultant’s background the more likely they are to provide your business with innovative ideas on how to find, attract and retain customers.
4. Has the marketing consultant worked both in the corporate world and small medium enterprise?
The diversity of the marketing consultant’s experience across both big and small businesses is a great asset to your business, as each camp can learn much from the other. A marketing consultant that has worked with big business has the planning discipline and knowledge that can only be gained working at the big end of town. A marketing consultant that has worked with small and medium enterprises will have the street smarts that come only after one has experienced the limitations of tiny budgets that force a marketing consultant to think outside the square.
5. Does your prospective marketing consultant have B2C (Business to Consumers) and B2B (Business to Business) experience?
Although the marketing principles are the same each type of market – B2C and B2B – have their own peculiarities. A marketing consultant with experience across both areas will be able to deliver more comprehensive and creative solutions to marketing challenges faced by your business.
6. Does the marketing consultant have Integrated Marketing Communication experience?
The term Integrated Marketing Communication refers to the deep understanding and knowledge of all the facets of the marketing industry and how these different disciplines interact to provide the consumer with a superior brand experience.
Does the marketing consultant you are interviewing have experience across all or at least most of the marketing disciplines, and for how long? Here are some of the main areas:
- Research and Product Development
- Strategic Brand Positioning
- Online and Social Media Marketing
- Direct Marketing
- Media Planning / Buying
- Sales Promotions & Events
- Personal Selling
Ask for proof of their experience and examples in all of the above areas! Only marketing professionals that have had experience in most of the above areas for a period of at least 12 months per discipline can claim to understand and utilize Integrated Marketing Communications.
Why is it important, you ask?
Only an Integrated Marketing Communication approach will deliver the full benefits of marketing to your business. Integrated Marketing Communication is the “helicopter view” of your marketing situation, rather than a band-aid approach to the immediate challenges at hand.
7. Has the marketing consultant worked both on the client and advertising agency side of the marketing fence?
Marketing professionals on the client side concentrate on developing products or services to meet the needs of their target market, managing the distribution relationships and the sales process, analysis and research of buying trends etc.
Marketing professionals on the advertising agency side concentrate on the communication aspect of marketing, making sure that the right message reaches the right prospects, the right number of times. This is also generally the most expensive part of your marketing – getting your message into the hands of your prospects, before their eyes, and into their ears.
Both sets of skills are vital to achieving success for your business. Ask your prospective marketing consultant for proof and examples of their work on both sides of the marketing fence.
8. How creative is the marketing consultant that you are considering?
If a marketing consultant can’t come up with a few innovative ways of promoting your business in your first meeting, they are probably not right for you. Be aware, however, that ideas and strategies are tools of trade and marketing consultants may be hesitant to give those away for free, but they should be able to at least provide you with some constructive observations on how your business can be improved. If they can’t show you or talk you through at least a dozen creative concepts from current or past clients, you shouldn’t consider them!
9. Failure! Ask your prospective marketing consultant to give you some examples of projects that didn’t succeed or attain desired objectives and why.
Every one of us has failed in something and hopefully learned from that experience. This question can really provide you with great insight into the person’s honesty and ego, ability to overcome challenges, and learn.
10. Has the marketing consultant ever run their own business or invested in businesses other than their consulting business?
Marketing people are used to spending other people’s money with the aim of doing so in the most cost effective manner. Nothing makes one appreciate the real value of a hard earned dollar as much as spending money on marketing your own business. Marketing consultants who have simultaneously worn the hat of entrepreneur are much more likely to treat your marketing budget like they would their own – and that makes a world of difference!
11. Finally, will the marketing consultant just take your brief or will they challenge it?
Does the marketing consultant have the guts to challenge you – their potential prospect? It is an unfortunate fact that most marketing people who call themselves professionals do not have the fortitude to tell their clients and prospects the truth about their chances of success, about their briefs and about their businesses in general. At The marketing Network we promise to give you a good dose of reality. Our clients thank us for it and watch their sales increase.
As always, we love to hear from you, so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us for a confidential and obligation free discussion about any of your marketing needs.
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Are Your In-House Marketing Professionals Working Hard And Smart Enough?
For years there has been a disconnect between the marketing function and the rest of the organization, especially when it comes to management understanding what in-house marketing professionals actually ‘do’.
This chasm has been widened by clever marketers looking busy, wowing senior executive teams with pretty power-point presentations and using terminology that only they understand – all in an effort to justify marketing expenditure.
To be competitive, it’s time to get real and ensure your marketing function and the marketing professionals therein deliver.
Examining the in-house marketing function and your marketing professionals’ effectiveness begins at a high level.
When considering your product development process, is your product or service in line with market requirements? Do you have current and ongoing research activity to monitor if the appearance and functionality of your product or service addresses the evolving needs of your target market? Has your Marketing Manager justified the strategic development of this product or service, such as extending or broadening a brand to meet seasonal changes or matching a competitors’ point of difference?
When considering pricing strategy, are your in-house marketing professionals setting pricing that not only meets profit objectives, but forms part of a plan that reflects your brand image and increases market share?
Additionally, is your Marketing Officer or other responsible marketing professionals ensuring your product or service is made available to your target audience through convenient and appropriate locations in a timely manner? Are they flexible in developing and adapting distribution strategy?
Good outcomes from lower tier marketing professionals who conduct more administrative tasks are easier to measure, and are reflected in attention to detail and adherence to internal management protocols.
The father of modern management, Peter Drucker once said “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”, it follows that measuring individual performance using Key Performance Indicators is effective as long as those KPIs are truly reflective of both the marketing functions KPIs and those that the individual has been hired for.
Too often KPIs form a laundry list of tasks that existing team members can’t or won’t fulfil and aren’t related to an individual’s core competencies or experience (such tasks could well be handled by a talented marketing or advertising agency).
For obligation free advice or a more detailed analysis of the effectiveness of the marketing professionals you have hired, we exist in a unique position knowing how to measure success for individual businesses and how to increase marketing functionality that delivers to your bottom line.
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