Why You Need Three Marketing Resources

Funny how, when I talk with an outdoor advertising rep, the
answer to my clients’ troubles are always billboards. 

Radio rep and the answer is radio.  

It’s just human nature to be biased and, especially in today’s multi-channeled world, it can be dangerous to rely on only one marketing counsel. The reality is that marketing advice without challenge can be the wrong advice.

On the other hand, by relying on a number of resources you not only receive “best of breed” advice, but you also benefit from the "crucible of discourse" as each group pleads their case for their share of the marketing plan and budget. Your resource agency mix may be different depending on product and market (B2B, B2C), but below are the three that should be most considered to be included in the discussion:

The three most common:

Traditional Ad Agency – Even in a high tech world, there is still need (especially in B2C markets) for ads, commercials, specialty advertising items, broadcast, etc.. Don’t forsake the “meat and potatoes” base if it has been part of your mix in the past. However, don’t get locked into that same past as, in some cases, the tactics simply don’t work anymore or the business case/ROI is no longer there (i.e., direct mail campaign vs. e-mail).

Digital – If you don’t know what the acronyms SEO, SEM, PPC and the term, remarketing, stand for then you need to get educated. It is the new vocabulary for the new marketing platform and, with an estimated 93% of all purchases being first researched through a web search, it is virtually impossible to do business without an online presence and some type of digital marketing.

The challenge with a digital agency often, however, is that they are consumed with their “science” thinking that web views, click through rates and web site optimization is the “end game” and the ultimate deliverable. Few times do they really look at the next step in the sales process and determine how the cost/efficiencies of their activities have affected sales…it’s simply not at the forefront of their specialty.

Lead and Demand Generation – Dare I say that these are the people who will be the catalyst in the “healthy, productive conflict” between the agencies that will yield you the best marketing investment strategy? Lead generation, marketing automation, content development, lead nurturing, sales cycle ROI monitoring, calls to action and e-mail campaigns are all tools in the realm of the Lead/Demand Gen agency.  

By their nature these practitioners always ask the questions like:

  • How will this affect engagement of the prospect or customer into a sales cycle?
  • How does this move the sales cycle forward?
  • What are the stats behind how successful this effort was in terms of sales (or market share growth, etc.)?

And this is GOOD for you, because during the ensuing, spirited conversation it will be these types of questions that will separate the wheat from the chaff, the frivolous from the effective, and the suggested marketing efforts from all the agencies that will perform from those that will simply win awards.

If your goals are around brand building, degree of web site optimization or another more esoteric goal, then perhaps forgo bringing this last agency into the mix. Today, however, we don’t find many clients who can afford such a luxurious stance and most need solid business performance metrics to justify their budgets.

In summary, choose those resource groups that make the most sense for your business and needs and encourage debate. Most importantly, though, is insure that there is a robust discussion around the marketing plan that includes outside participants. “All of us are smarter than one of us” and, in the case of marketing planning and budgeting, the process also helps to arrive at the best outcome.

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