Choosing the Right Marketing Partner
The person or group of people you choose to help you with your marketing has to become your partner. They really have to believe in not only the product or service you offer, but they must believe in you. It’s just as important for them to feel comfortable working with you as you are working with them.
- Do they rub you the wrong way or do you feel like you’ve known them since childhood?
- Are they too direct or not direct enough?
- Does the way they dress bother you? — I’m not kidding
- Do they present themselves in a manner you appreciate?
- Are they the type to have a basketball net in their office?
- Do they have a fancy espresso machine — does that even make you wonder if they’re too expensive for your marketing budget?
- Is it like home every time you visit? I’ll let you decide if that’s a good thing or not…
- Do they listen to you or are they too busy telling you about your business?
Another point to make is that your mother, father, brother, sister, best friend, girl/boy friend, significant other does not make for a marketing professional. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a client tell me they make their marketing decisions via the ‘family committee’. You politely ask how long they’ve been in the ad business and well, you know where that goes. And if you decide to make their adjustments and the ad is a failure, who gets blamed in the end? But truthfully, you need to trust the skills of your marketing partner.
For example, if you were to put 10 marketing professionals in a room and provide them with all the same information about your business, you will get 10 different marketing plans — including logo designs, color schemes, thoughts on the best media and their layouts, budgetary needs and more. Some will be way out there while others may be closer together. Does that mean 9 out of 10 are wrong? Especially the ones out in left and right field? NO! They’re just different. And which one should you choose? The one you feel identifies most with your personality, the one you feel will do your business justice. Remember, you have to feel comfortable picking up the phone and asking questions of your agent. And they need to feel as though they can be straight and honest with you. It’s an important relationship we build with all our clients.
And how honest should they be? There are times I will tell a client, that in my heart, they are making a mistake. It’s my job. I’m being paid to tell them my opinion. Remember, 10 marketing agents, 10 different thought processes. But you need to stick to one. So what do I do if the client insists? Depending on how strong my objection is — I’ll either make the change with fair warning or refuse the job. It’s my reputation on the line. It’s a rare instance where a client will admit that they should have gone in another direction.
It’s a marriage. You have to go through the dating stages. You have to like the person or group you’re working with. You have to feel you can leave them the keys to your dream. And if by some misalignment with the stars it doesn’t work out, make a clean break. But make sure you’re doing it for all the right reasons. A quick, flirtatious wink from another agent does not mean the start of a wonderful, lasting relationship. And remember this, the agency has just as much right to terminate the relationship with you if they find you’re difficult to work with. They have to feel just as committed to the partnership as you are.
Remember, there’s no online dating service for marketing partners. Sometimes the best blind dates are the ones set up by your business associates.