Marketing that's NOT a scam

No one likes to be scammed. Especially when your own hard-earned money is at stake, getting ripped off is one of the worst feelings in the world.

That’s why it’s so important to find the marketing team who will work best for your business, based on your requirements and budget. When you pay too much for marketing or don’t receive a proper ROI, it all just feels like a scam.

Brand Junkies hosts David and Kenn sat down to discuss how you can tell whether or not a marketing team will be a good fit for you, including if it’s best to find an agency or to stay in-house. If you want to find the right fit without being screwed over, follow along to see if you can put their wisdom to use.

Kenn: “The one thing I would warn business owners about, especially at the beginning or as they're first starting to investigate marketing, is that I don't recommend going in house right away. Most businesses are not prepared to spend what they would need to spend to bring in a marketing person who has all the knowledge and experience to do what they need. Often, businesses set aside an entry level salary and bring somebody in who's maybe just out of marketing school and they know a lot of buzzwords and they know their way around the back end of social media a little bit. And that's great. It's important to know the tools. But, there's no experience there. There's no ability to inductively reason through things that are happening based on experience... But when you have an agency, we have the processes in place that not only are we going to get your posts up, but you know what? Your graphic design is going to be awesome, we're gonna have video that we add to it. The copywriting is going to be amazing. So, you're paying for all that experience to be combined into those tools and I think there's a huge value in that that a lot of people don't see when they're just thinking, ‘Oh, I could hire somebody for the same price I'm paying an agency.’”

David: “We have clients who pay us just to consult with them. And what often happens with those clients is they give our marketing plan to their in house marketing team, and they're trying to get the team to do the things. But either A, they don't have enough time, or B, even if they do have plenty of time, it takes them three or four times longer to figure out how to do what we're talking about. And it's really difficult to find a unicorn in the marketing space - someone who can do great graphic design work, write great copy, think strategically at a high level. And if you do find that person, they're not gonna be for $50,000, they're going to do it for $200,000.”

Kenn: “First you've got to look at your marketing objectives. You've got to figure out as a company what you’re trying to do and what your key performance indicators are, then you can work backward from there. And then you look at your team and say, “Okay, what's the team doing right now? Are they working at capacity? Are they doing the best they can?” And you have to have an honest conversation with them, you have to say, “Okay, if we're running digital ads, who on the team is running 'em? Are you doing everything you can? Are you maximizing the strategy? Are you constantly monitoring it?” And at some point during these question and answer periods with the marketing department, you're gonna come across an answer where somebody goes, “No, I'm not doing that.” And the reason behind that is either going to be, “I don't really know how.” Or, “I just don't have the time.” And once you start getting those answers back from the marketing department, then it's time to start saying, “Okay, how do we alleviate that situation?” And then you start looking at bringing somebody else in.”

Kenn: “If you like someone, you believe in them as a business and you think, ‘Yeah, those two or that woman or that person or that group, they're the ones that are gonna get me where I need to go. But they're just a little bit outside of my budget, so I really need to hire this person over here who, I think will be okay but they're like a fraction of the price and they don't have a team.’ Don't hire that person. Save your money or take out a business loan. If you really have someone that you believe in, that's the key. You have to have people who you believe in that have a history in this space, whose references you can call. That lets you know that if you put money in this place, it’s because it's an investment.”

Kenn: “There's a lot of ‘the medicine show’ out there. You go back to the old days when guys would come around and sell the snake oil and they'd set up in the town and as long as they can wordsmith and say things and get people excited about something, people will buy into it. And that's one of the problems of what people need to watch out for in our business. It's great to be attracted; you want somebody who knows how to attract you because then you hope they can do that for your business. But you have to go beyond the surface and investigate who that agency is, look up those individuals, get references, make calls, ask that agency questions, interview them. If they’re not transparent with you, go the other way.”

The Takeaways:

Before you hire anyone to do your marketing, you have to establish both your goals and your available resources. If you don’t know your goals, you’ll have no way of knowing if your marketing is doing the job it’s supposed to be doing.

It’s a common misconception for smaller businesses to think hiring an in-house marketer is the best plan of action, but for most, this is a mistake. When you start as a small business, you’re more likely to bring in higher value for your dollar with an agency, because while paying for one person in-house might be cheaper, you get what you pay for. One person simply cannot compare to all of the resources and experience the team members of an agency would have when they work on your marketing together. However, if your business has grown quite large, it might be a good idea to have an in-house marketing department (so long as it’s a dedicated department, not just a random assortment of people who are doing many jobs, one of which is marketing.). And if your business begins to grow enough that the in-house marketing staff are overworked or need something done outside their area of specialization, it might be time to hire an agency (or a freelancer) again.

When you look for an agency, it’s important to properly do your research before signing one on. Ask questions like ‘what is the average amount of time a client is with you?’ and look into the outcomes of their work. Use your connections to ask around and confirm whether that agency’s results were good and if other clients found them easy to work with. It’s important both that you like the people who will be working with you and you believe they will be successful. Sometimes that means paying a little more than you were initially expecting to, and it’s probably worth it.

But not all agencies are created equal; if in your search, an agency refuses to be transparent about their results or who they are, don’t hire them and wait around to get burned! Go somewhere else and work with an honest agency who is willing to view your business as their own, and who truly wants to see you succeed.

Don’t get scammed. Find the right fit.

Think about this:

How do you currently manage your marketing?

Are you able to quantify the results? Do you have goals and KPIs in mind before you implement marketing tactics?

Do you fall in line with the agency vs. in-house business size guidelines that David and Kenn set forth?

For more info on how to pick the best marketing source for your business (along with lots of other super ballin’ stuff), tune into our Brand Junkies podcast! Available on Soundcloud and iTunes.

David Valentine