Marketing is changing fast, and the changes require new skills on the part of marketing consultants and other providers. Here are the skills that today’s marketing providers need to be successful.
I’ve heard about and observed many marketing “fails” in my years as a marketing professional in the software industry and as a marketing consultant at New Incite. One that I observed in my early years as a marketing consultant was when a brand new marketing consultant proposed an expensive brochure to a small business. The cost was what he was used to spending when he was in a corporate marketing role, but it wasn’t in the small business’s budget. Plus, the small business was a CPA firm that was sensitive to pricing because of their profession!
In another situation, website developers proposed a wide range of costs (thousands) for a simple website update for which my client ended up paying much less. (I wrote about this in a previous post, Getting Ripped Off on B2B Website Development and SEO?)
And most recently, I’ve been hearing about marketing providers who are just proposing the latest new tactic – social media – without taking time to fully analyze and understand the client and their industry. I wrote about this, too, in previous posts, In The Rush to B2B Social Media, Don’t Forget Strategy, Analytics, and Why Lack of Strategy will Kill your B2B Blog.
Marketing providers recommend the wrong marketing tactics, lack transparency and fairness when pricing services, and propose marketing tactics before analyzing and understanding their clients for a variety of reasons. Avoid these situations by choosing a marketer that has the right skills to successfully and fairly serve your business.
1. An understanding of business strategy
In order to be successful, marketing (and all your operations) must be strategic. If you don’t know the audience, your marketing messages and images will probably be off the mark. If you don’t understand how you are positioned in comparison with others in your industry, you will probably lose business. If you don’t understand your industry, you may offering the wrong services, pricing and more.
2. An understanding of your company and industry
Marketing is not a cookie cutter operation. Every business has a different culture, budget, target audience and ability to execute. Your provider should not recommend inappropriate tactics or strategies. If you get a sense that a marketing provider is pushing a service without understanding who you are, don’t engage them.
3. Knowledge of and experience executing tactics
The best marketing providers have executed the tactics they recommend. They understand what works and how it works, whether the tactic is trade shows, ads, SEO, website development or social media.
4. Understanding of technology
Today’s marketing provider must be tech savvy, with direct experience in executing search engine optimization, website development, social media and analytics. If your provider is a strategy consultant, they must have access to the right resources that have direct tactical experience.
5. Storytelling ability
Today more than ever people are buying not just a product, but the meaning and philosophy of its provider – the story behind the product. Your marketing provider should be able to identify your story or stories and your unique differentiator, and tell the story in a way that is meaningful and compelling for your audience(s).
Use the five skills above as a checklist in your marketing hiring process to avoid problems with your marketing projects. You’ll end up getting better results from your marketing and maybe even save money.
If you need help planning your marketing strategy and tactics and/or executing the marketing tactics, contact New Incite today. Since 1997 we’ve worked with hundreds of companies to reduce marketing waste and increase results.
Photo on Flickr by losmininos. Some Rights Reserved.