Marketing can be an occupational hazard. This is especially true when you meet small business owners with a fear of being ripped off by ‘marketing types’.
Many have had bad experiences with marketers in the past so, understandably, they’re wary of making the same mistake twice.
The problem I believe is because marketers don’t always fully explain what the business owner can expect or what can be achieved for them. They get carried away with selling the hype and give the impression that if x and y is done then the leads will start pouring in. Often the reality is quite different, leaving the business owner with a bad impression of marketing professionals and, worst of all, a distrust of them.
This is not to say that many marketers and marketing agencies aren’t good at what they do. They are. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that any marketer or marketing agency can be used to effectively promote and market any business. In marketing, there are different levels of specialty and expertise.
For example, getting a marketing junior to do your social media on the basis that they are young and must be constantly on social media platforms isn’t a good reason to hire them. While they may be familiar with how each platform works, it doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to use and leverage the system to get maximum benefit from it for your business.
Even if you’ve been burnt in the past, there are some positive benefits to getting it right when it comes to marketing. A couple of simple ways to guard against poor decisions around choosing help with marketing are:
Firstly, clarity about who you’re trying to connect with will take away a lot of the ambiguity around the type of marketing you need. Many small businesses may feel that they can service all types of customers and, while that may be true, there is typically a particular type of customer that is most attracted to what you offer.
Secondly, knowing what issues your customers have and how you can solve them makes it easier for the marketer work out:
This is one reason why I wrote a book on marketing for small business owners called ‘Get Smarter Marketing’. The aim wasn’t to turn small business owners into marketing managers but instead provide them with enough information so they could make better decisions around marketing their business.
If you have a fear of being ripped off by marketers then the best way to protect yourself is to get educated on the basics of marketing. This way when you meet with a marketer or marketing agency you’ll know: what to expect, what typical strategies are available and be able to ensure your business gets the right type of marketing it needs to prosper.
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