A decade of experience in both freelancing and marketing with large companies has taught me many lessons.
Among them is this unfortunate fact: Many people just don’t know how to make use of outside marketing help.
It’s one thing to hire a marketing consultant or an outside firm — anyone can do that — but one must engage that help effectively to really see results.
If you’re looking to hire outside marketing help, whether from Mad Mojo Customs or any other service provider, I recommend heeding the following tips to make sure you come out of the experience with the best possible result.
Be Prepared to Answer Questions
When we engage a new client, the first step is a thorough discovery process. We need to know quite a few things about a company before we can start developing a marketing plan, and that means asking a lot of questions.
Typically, the discovery process will involve at least one conference call, and if geography permits, a face-to-face meeting. As the client, it’s important that you bring quality information to the table. If you have partners or other people helping in the development of your business, you should probably invite them into the process as well. If you have a sales force, make it a point to include them or their supervisor.
Don’t get frustrated if you’re expected to answer the same questions more than once. I’ve made it a habit to ask the same questions multiple times because experience has taught me that each ask will usually yield different answers. It’s not that you’re being tricked, it’s simply that different answers give us more information to work with.
Believe it or not, the most mundane questions can sometimes bring about the best ideas. I once worked with a client for months, often asking him similar questions about his target market each time we spoke. After dozens of those phone calls, he finally had an “a-ha” moment and told me a bit of information that had been buried in the back of his mind the entire time. It was trivial knowledge to him, but it was the catalyst for an entire marketing strategy that completely changed the way we advertised his product.
Set Perfectionism Aside
Over the last couple of years, I’ve started taking this saying to heart:
Perfection is the enemy of the good.
I’m a perfectionist myself, so it took me a while to embrace this belief.
While I am not advocating poor-quality work, I’m absolutely advocating the notion that if you can’t get past the approval stage, then nothing actually gets done.
Don’t get me wrong. You don’t want shoddy work to go out with your name on it, nor do you want to use any advertising that’s potentially damaging to your brand. That part is certainly true. However, you don’t want to hold up your marketing efforts over minute details that ultimately have no bearing in the big scheme of things.
As an example, I’ve seen business owners who have delayed the launch of their website for weeks because they wanted to personally make changes to the copy on a few buried sub-pages. That’s weeks of potential traffic building and domain authority that are being wasted over trivial details that could have been updated down the road.
That’s perfection getting in the way of the good.
As a marketing company, we want your marketing assets to be awesome. At the same time, we want to provide results, and even the most mind-blowing piece of marketing material won’t do a bit of good if it never leaves the drawing board.
Try Not to Project
This one is simple. Do your best to set aside the thinking that “I don’t like it, so no one else will like it.”
I’ve seen many great marketing campaigns stopped dead because someone came along and said something like “I wouldn’t open that email, so why would anyone else?”
That’s projection, and it’s not the best way to make these decisions.
The truth is that not everyone thinks or reacts the same way. An email subject line that looks ridiculous to you might be compelling to your target consumer. An ad that you perceive as “unprofessional” might be seen by others as clever and worth noticing. Unless you’re trying to sell to an army of your clones, leave projection to a minimum.
(Side note: As marketers, we always run into that whole “does it look professional?” paradox. I’ve come to learn that when clients ask that question, it’s because they’re afraid to try something new or innovative. To them, appearing professional means looking like everyone else. There are plenty of large, successful companies that market using hand-drawn illustrations, humor, or other things that one might want to dismiss as “unprofessional.” It can be done if it’s done well!)
The scientific part of marketing involves a lot of testing, research, and statistics. We use that data to determine what the largest segment of your target audience will respond to. Quite often, you won’t actually fall into that target audience. If the marketing message doesn’t sit right with you, then take a moment to remember that it wasn’t meant to resonate with you.
Defer to the Experts (You’re Paying Them, So Why Not?)
This is a big one.
Early in my career, I was shocked by how many businesses would hire an outside marketing expert, pay them significant sums of money, and then argue with every recommendation that come from them. (Now I’m used to seeing it.)
I would like to think that if you have enough trust in a marketing expert to sign a contract, you should have enough trust to let them make marketing decisions. Conversely, if you don’t trust their judgement enough to let them steer your marketing, then you certainly shouldn’t be giving them any money.
I’ll be the first to admit that marketing experts aren’t always right. When you deal with an innovative company like Mad Mojo, we work very hard to break the mold and pioneer new methods of marketing. That means some of what we do falls flat, but that’s just part of the journey. The only other option is to traffic with marketing companies that stick to the “tried and true” methods that were obsolete two years ago. Just be sure to expect results that match that level of ingenuity.
Truly successful marketing means taking calculated risks, and that’s what people pay us for. We’re experienced and educated enough in this business to make those calculations and balance the risk and reward of any new idea. We’re not just throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. (You actually get more of that from less creative marketing companies. Because they’re mired in the mundane, they’re constantly getting poor results, so their only recourse is to jump from one outdated idea to the next with their fingers crossed.)
Naturally, we work best with clients that are willing to defer to our judgement when it comes to devising and executing their marketing strategy. We want input and feedback, of course, but at the end of the day, we want our clients to know that we’re making decisions with the same metric as they are: Is what we’re doing going to help grow your business?
Hiring an outside marketing company can be one of the most effective ways to accelerate business growth. New ideas from experienced professionals are exactly what’s needed when your advertising is stale and your current marketing efforts are falling flat.
If you choose to work with a team of marketing experts like ours at Mad Mojo, be sure to keep the above points in mind. We’re here to help your business succeed. When we work together, you can certainly expect no less.