In today’s podcast I’m exposing the underbelly of the marketing industry. My goal is to help you avoid making these mistakes and how to spot a beginner consultant.
When it comes to hiring an agency, advisor or consultant experience and expertise is what counts. Over the past few years I’ve seen a tidal wave of people putting up a shingle and proclaiming themselves a “marketing agency”.
At the same time I hear from client after client about how they picked the wrong horse or some other horror story about whatever “agency” with which they worked – and often about tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted.
There is no certification or industry requirements in marketing (like, for example the Accounting industry) Anyone can literally claim anything to get that sweet, sweet client cash.
Here are some things you can do to protect yourself and find a good match.
1. Experience Counts. Do a deep dive on the agency’s website and look up the people who will be working on your account to see how long and what kind of experience they have. Use LinkedIn to track their career and see what educational background they might have. (If they have a degree in Massage Therapy or other non-marketing related degree – move on.)
You can also do a Whois search to see when the company’s domain was registered to give you a sense of how long they’ve been in business. https://lookup.icann.org/en
As a general rule, if they have less than 10 years of experience, move on.
2. Check for Alignment: Be sure it matches up with what you need. (B2C experience may not translate to B2B for example.) While specific industry experience isn’t necessary, it’s going to increase the odds of success. However there is some validity to the idea that cross industry experience can bring “out-of-the-box” thinking.
3. Don’t do this. When hiring, don’t expect an intern or someone fresh out of college to set your company’s marketing plan. 100% of the time it’s going to result in a lose/lose for you and the intern. It takes more than “being creative” or “they are good at Instagram” to develop a marketing plan that delivers measurable ROI.
4. Forget about references and portfolios. These techniques to suss out someone’s qualifications are generally worthless. For portfolios, it’s impossible to tell what that specific person contributed to the work – maybe they just proofread it.
The trouble with references is that nobody is going to give you references that aren’t going to be positive. What good is that information? It’s better to use your Google Fu and get unfiltered results. Ask your colleagues who they recommend.
Spend some time reading blog articles from the agency or consultant to see how they think. This is a far more effective approach than fake portfolios and talking to happy clients.
5. Be clear on what outcomes are expected. Starting with outcomes helps narrow the field. If your plan is not written down (“it’s in my head!”) you don’t have a plan. Setting objectives without a plan is also called “guessing”.
If you are struggling with marketing or finding help, reach out to me and I’ll gladly steer you in the right direction. I’m dedicated to helping clients avoid costly mistakes. I provide a service where I help clients find the right agency. Even if you don’t hire me I can give you a list of qualified agencies, coaches and consultants.
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