This is a completely different article than the one that I had intended to write today, but sometimes circumstances change and other issues arise that should be addressed in a timely fashion.
I actually took a few days off work last week and went on a mini vacation to a family member’s trailer, which is located at a lake in beautiful British Columbia. For those of you who don’t know, many parts of Western Canada are experiencing drought-like conditions, and B. C. is one of the hardest hit regions so they’ve been experiencing very little precipitation and very hot temperatures. While I am concerned about the effects of the drought, I must admit that I am a fan of hot weather.
One evening after dinner, I took a walk down to the beach and found a nice sunny spot to sit. The beach was mostly deserted and, aside from myself, there was a woman, her two children, and her dog. She introduced herself to me, and it turns out that she’s the owner of the resort where my brother and his wife keep their trailer. In the course of our conversation, she asked me what I did for living. I told her that I provide marketing strategies and public relations work. She laughed and said that’s what her husband does, but he always said not to tell anybody. He works for a large hotel group and travels around the world as their marketing manager, but told his wife to tell people that his job is to fill hotel rooms, and not mention that he’s a marketer. She said that he’s embarrassed about being lumped in with marketers.
Unfortunately, this is something I can identify with. Although there are many, many very good, honest, trustworthy people who are marketers, the industry has changed with the popularity of online marketing. This has opened the door to some folks who have less integrity and are satisfied to provide “drive-by marketing”, promising unrealistic results to unsuspecting business owners, and not caring about the outcome because they’ve already moved on to their next victim.
Now this isn’t to say that there were unscrupulous marketers prior to Internet marketing, or that all online marketers are dishonest. But the fact is that a lot of business is transacted online, without personal interaction of any depth, providing the opportunity for business owners who are looking for quick results at little cost, to be taken advantage of. This leaves them suspicious of honest marketers who care about their reputation and have a vested interest in ensuring that their clients are satisfied with their services.
So just like lawyers, used-car salesman, an insurance salesman, marketers have to live with the reality that their profession is often viewed with a bit of skepticism. It is up to us, as marketers, to ensure that we act with honor and integrity in all of our business dealings, and keep the lines of communications open to all of our prospects and clients.
And what can business owners do to help themselves and avoid making poor choices? Well, it’s really quite simple.
First of all, talk to more than one company or marketing person. Find out about their various strengths and weaknesses and asked for testimonials.
Find out what their process is, and how they communicate it. Beware of offers that seem too good to be true; believe me, they are!
Also, pay attention to how you communicate with the marketer. Relationships, even virtual relationships, should be based on open communication. You should get a feel after a few conversations with the marketer about just how well you will be able to work together.
Finally be sure to be clear about the scope of the project and the expectations, and cover this off in an agreement. If applicable, set specific measurables to be achieved at certain points in the project, with an exit clause for both parties if things aren’t working out.
Until next time…
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