Many SME businesses are constantly on the lookout for the next great marketing idea! As a result, (and perhaps not surprisingly!) marketing services businesses often pitch their proposition as just this – a great idea. The increasing ubiquity of the internet delivers new applications and ideas almost daily. There is a seemingly endless stream of new marketing ideas on offer. Make no mistake, there are some great service suppliers out there. They offer great marketing services but a great service isn’t enough. It needs to be right for you and your business. With marketing being core to virtually every organisation, marketing activity should be more than an add-on. Using a 3rd-party supplier to deliver their knowledge and expertise can make sense. However, as a business owner, you need to take ownership of your business marketing. It must be an integrated element of your business plan and objectives. When you are considering a new marketing approach and talking to a potential service supplier, perhaps you might like to consider the following as a route to making sure you get the most out of your planned promotional investment.
Effective marketing with a 3rd party service supplier has 3 Elements
- Beginning – Establishing your relationship with your supplier
- Middle – Working to implement the new service
- End – Seeing the sustained process through to delivering real value to your business
With a service supplier keen to take on new clients and an SME market looking for those great new ideas, it can be easy to find the focus is on 1 and 2 because these are the areas that (ostensibly) meet the needs of both parties. In actual fact, the real success comes from 3. With the most focus on 1 and 2 things can seem to go well at first. This is when it is all about set up and anticipation. Then, sooner or later, consideration turns to whether the marketing effort is really delivering? Because maybe outcomes haven’t been thought about too much, there is a distinct possibility that the answer is No! Bringing consideration of ‘Delivery of real value’ into the mix from the start can be uncomfortable. Through this process, you look at possible results and how you might monitor progress. In essence, you consider the possibility of things not working out as you hoped.
No failure – only alternative outcomes
Actually, good marketing should never fail (in that it delivers nothing) because if you are monitoring what you are doing you should always learn! So, there is no need to be afraid of focussing on the Beginning, the Middle and the End, right from the start. Considering the whole process of implementing a new marketing idea from beginning to end can be more challenging than just concentrating on the new idea and getting things rolling. This is particularly true in the early days but ultimately a well thought through campaign is more likely to sustain because understanding the bigger picture keeps things in perspective. Good planning definitely improves the likelihood of success but even if you don’t get the hoped-for results, you will learn things that can prove invaluable in future marketing planning. In practice, I don’t believe you should ever rely 100% on any single piece of marketing. As I have said many times, effective business promotion and communication is a joined-up process linking together all the key aspects of your business proposition. Anyway, the most reliable way to get good results from your marketing is to have a well thought out plan. The next time you come across a marketing service thinking ‘That sounds like a good idea‘, make sure you give yourself some time. Consider and plan how you might implement it to deliver real benefit to your business.