Marketing has drastically evolved. Both the tools and the methods used to put them to work have gone digital. However, the objective is still the same: to reach a target audience and motivate them to buy. But even though the end objective is the same, you can’t afford to use old models expecting them to work. This is especially true when it comes to finding a marketing consulting firm. You need to know what to look for in a marketing consulting firm because no two are the same. Even if their services seem similar, the delivery of the executables is guaranteed to be different. To find the right match, you have to know what to look for. Here are some tips.
Don’t Forget to Budget
As the not-so-old saying goes, “Cash rules everything around me.” And regardless of how grand your marketing campaign to be, some reasonable limits will have to be put in place in order to keep the costs reasonable. But don’t see money as ropes tying the hot air balloon of your plans to the ground. It’s more like sandbags that can be used to help you guide the flight.
Think of your budget as an asset, not a restriction. A carefully planned budget can be used to help calculate the effectiveness of the various services you use. Whether the services include web design, web development, SEO or other skills offered by a design agency, each thing has to have an ROI. To chuck money at the marketing challenge and blindly expect results precludes the opportunity to make the execution of the marketing plan a helpful learning process. For example, if your budget for an SEO agency is met, but some months have gone by and you’re not getting the results you wanted, you have some valuable data to use in deciding how to alter the plan. This can also be used to help give your marketing team feedback. If you have hired a company to take care of your website development, and you are looking for a reasonable goal for them, you can use your budget as a tool. Decide on the ROI based on a ratio of the budget, and let that be a starting point. Be reasonable, of course, but budgeting for marketing in the 21st century is all about flexible, interactive feedback based on data.
Check if the Firm Walks the Walk
Anyone can talk big. But a real firm not only has the right words and vision, but they put them to work—in their own business model. If a marketing consulting firm is claiming a certain principle drives what they do, you should be able to see it at work in their business. If they talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, this may be a warning sign. For example, if they claim they can produce a quality website, check out how their website functions. Is it something you’d be proud to show off? Is it user-friendly? Are the pages organized in an intuitive fashion? If everything is congruent with what they claim, that’s a good sign, and you should consider moving forward.
Make Some Concrete Goals
The number one and two priorities for businesses in 2017 were sales and building brand awareness. How about your business? The objectives of any marketing campaign need to be firmly set in place. Even though plans can—and often have to—change, that doesn’t justify going into an endeavor without clear goals. While flexibility is going to be a constant, there are some things you should be less flexible about. For instance, how do you want to compare to your competitors 6 months from the execution of the marketing plan? Or how about a year from then? If this is a priority, you will have to find a way to quantify this objective. Once that has been done, you will have some benchmarks the marketing team can shoot for.
These are just a few of the things you should keep in mind, but with these concepts as the basic building blocks of your marketing plan, you will be on your way to reaching the audiences you want in no time.