Every business needs marketing. However, not every business has a dedicated marketing department. Many small businesses muddle through as best they can, but ultimately you are going to want to partner with a dedicated marketing agency.
When you do decide to take that step, here’s what you need to look out for.
A Track Record.
Any convincing actor or good salesperson can make you think that they are an expert in just about anything. When it comes to marketing, a world full of nebulous terms and buzzwords, one that can often seem impenetrable to the outsider, the portfolio of any potential marketing partners you meet with is clearly going to be very important.
As you look over their past work, remember to consider its creative merits and business merits. Both of these are important, so you want to pair with marketers who are creative and whose work produces results. But you will also find some examples of excellent creativity that haven’t landed with audiences. Or, you might see a series of uninspiring lackluster campaigns that have done well on paper.
The best marketing ideas will come from groups where people feel able to express themselves and their ideas. Spitballing is important for any business – these are the sessions where rare and unique talent can really shine, bringing their creativity to the forefront.
However, some businesses aren’t just bad at encouraging creativity, they actively suppress it. Whether this is intentional or not, workers who are afraid to express an idea, in case it’s deemed to be a bad one, are anathema to creative marketing. Any business can talk the talk when it comes to creativity, but you should look for businesses like Saint Paul marketing agency Upswing Creative who also walk the walk.
As well as having a trail of successful campaigns behind them, your marketing partners should also be able to demonstrate to you that they still have that expertise in the here and now. It would be terrible if you hired a marketing partner on the basis of an awesome past campaign, only to discover that the key talent involved is no longer a part of the business.
Arrange to sit down with any potential marketers, or at least speak to them on the phone or over Skype. Grill them about what they do, how they do it, and how they can help your business. Don’t jump into business with anyone until you are certain that they are the right fit for your business and can deliver what you need.
At its heart, good marketing is all about good communication. The goal of any marketer is to convey a particular idea or emotion to the audience. The best marketing does this almost instantaneously because the marketers that made it are able to take advantage of cognitive shorthand.
In the past, stereotyping was acceptable in advertising and often presented as the easiest and most obvious example. However, anything – the music, an on-screen image, the tone of a voice-over – can completely change the meaning of a scene and the viewer’s response to it.
There needs to be clear communication between you and the marketers, and the marketers and your audience.
Don’t partner with the first marketer that comes your way. Instead, take the time necessary to ensure that the marketing partner you choose is one you can work with in the long-term.