No matter how successful or creative a small business or the entity of an entrepreneur is with a new product or idea, at some point the company will need to practice marketing to increase consumer awareness about what the company sells. Without that key attention, a small business will not be able to increase its market, revenue, and eventually its net profit.
The above said, most small businesses don’t have the experienced staff or depth to perform quality marketing work for themselves. Often, the key staff in a company are usually the inventors or entrepreneurs themselves, still trying to get the business to grow and see an exponential success. Most of their energy and efforts are consumed at breaking even to continue to find more investors and pay the bills. As a result, the marketing efforts that are done are frequently at the basic level, missing depth and experience. Often, such companies and their entrepreneur have to outsource and find a marketing outfit to give them direction, both from wisdom as well as a lack of internal resources.
So, if outsourcing for expertise is necessary, how to find a good marketing consultant or firm to help out a small business? There’s a couple of steps every entrepreneur should take when considering hiring a marketing firm:
Self-Evaluate Your Need – is a marketing or advertisement firm really a correct solution? Is that resource really the right response a small business is looking for to solve its problem? Many times problems affecting business can be in entirely different areas such as needed better salespeople, reducing operating costs and bills that are higher than they need to be, or taking advantage of internal skillsets that haven’t been utilized to their full potential. Without a self-evaluation, a small business could be chasing an issue with the wrong approach.
Try a Formal Bid Approach – Instead of wandering blindly a small business will get a far better response from marketing firms using a formal bid approach, such as request for proposal. This method basically spells out what your small business does, and what it generally needs in terms of goals. Then the marketing firms have to write a proposal explaining how they can specifically help with their services. This provides a far better, detailed source of information for a small business to choose from versus just talking to people on the phone.
Don’t Just Go With the First Shop – Good selection of a marketing firm takes research. The fit needs to be correct to give a small business the best bang for its buck. That means looking at a number of marketing firms before making a choice. Often, a good selection process finds a short list of candidates first, and then makes a final choice with more research and interviews.
Be Prepared for Meetings – A common marketing firm approach is to wow clients with expert knowledge, and then subtly putting down the client to make him feel that only with an expert can any good marketing be done. The fact is, a small business ownership and management know their own company best, not an outsider. So going into potential candidate meetings requires being fully prepared about how a small business works and then examining if the solutions offered by a firm truly meet company needs.
Picking a marketing firm involves choosing hired service that ideally will be a long-term supporter for a small business. In a perfect world, a company or entrepreneur shouldn’t have to find another marketing expert once the right one is found the first time. However, as any successful small business knows, the world is anything but perfect, with lots of challenges to boot. So performing good research and picking a marketing firm with in-depth review and interviewing will almost always produce a better contracting result than just going out blindly and hiring the first expert found.