Undoubtedly, as you read this blog, and other materials, and hear sales pitches — both spammy and ethical — from various marketing consultants and services — you may wonder: “Why does none of this stuff work for me?” Here are three ways for you to change the story so it has a happy ending.
Focus on no more than three things (one is best).
You can’t be everything to everyone. So keep it simple. If you lead an established business, spend most of my energies on initiatives to develop repeat and referral business initially, and then pick one “new business development” model to enhance the process and develop new leads. (The ideal strategy would combine both; which is why for ICI contractors, especially, I strongly advocate client-related association participation, speaking and other initiatives.)
Develop a one-page annual plan and budget, and stick to it.
This doesn’t need to be complicated — in fact if it is getting to be more than a page, see how you can boil it down. Build metrics and measurements into it. If someone approaches you with a “great idea” and it isn’t in the plan, consider whether the new thing is urgent or truly could wait until you put it into the planning process. (You can design, in some cases, your metrics to send up early warning signals of a plan failing — then revise accordingly.)
If you are selecting a marketing consultant, research references before signing on, then, if “yes” — forgive disbelief and do what you are told to do.
Put your ego aside, and follow the instructions, dammit. Unless the consultant specifically asks you for original thinking, just go with the flow. Of course you should select your consultant wisely. The best test is to obtain referrals from non-competitive peers in similar-type markets.
Have you had good or bad experiences with a marketing consultant? Please feel free to share your observations with me by email.