In this final part of my three part series on qualifying marketing help I offer a few more ways to do it. Why so many? Because the difference between hiring marketing help and hiring the right marketing help can make, or break, your business. It’s one of the most important, and toughest, decisions any business owner will ever make. And, like a marriage, it’s better to do some extra qualifying upfront to avoid being stuck later because you didn’t.
To recap the list from part one (of this three part series) titled “3 Ways to Qualify Marketing Help:”
- Google them.
- LinkedIn Profile.
- Website Bio.
- Find out how well they know Social Media.
- The Work.
Now, for my final few:
7.) Awards and Press: This one can be a bit controversial because while awards can be a great litmus test for some, for others, not so much. The argument is that few award shows factor in “results” as a winning criteria. I can appreciate that argument. Also, if an agency is doing lots of boasting about their awards, it’s often a way of overcompensating for weaknesses in other areas. On the other hand, if someone has no awards, that’s not good either. So, seek a happy medium.
Press-worthy work is another good litmus test because great press can be a great, free, added benefit for you. So, find out if they’ve gotten any. If they have, are we talking the local Penny Saver, or The New York Times?
8.) Are they a respected industry thought leader? The more respected they are in their industry, the better the chance they’re truly good at what they do. How can you know? Do they get invited to speak? Do they get interviewed? Have the agency principals been published in the trades? Are they on Wikipedia?
9.) Do they make it easy to work together? This is one you might not have considered. The fact is that investing in marketing help is a scary proposition for most business owners, especially first-timers. A smart marketing resource will be aware of that and have an easy way to start the process and test the waters.
10.) Are they driven and truly passionate about their business? It’s one of the most important, yet most overlooked items on the list. If you’re passionate about your business you’ll want to work with someone equally passionate about theirs. Sometimes you can simply hear it in their voice or see it in their eyes. You can also tell by how they present themselves online. Does it feel inspired, or rudimentary?
11.) How well do they market themselves? This one almost seems dumb because you’d assume that any marketing firm looking to help you would be awesome at their own marketing. Not true and I’ve heard all the excuses: “Well, I guess I’m like the shoemaker with no shoes.”…. “Hey, I’m just way too busy with my clients.”… yada, yada, yada.
Don’t buy it. The last thing you want to do is to hire a marketing firm that sucks at marketing themselves.
To conclude I’ll repeat a last key point that I mentioned in my first post regarding referrals. Referrals are an obvious, logical way to find help and they often work out fine. I don’t list “getting referrals” as a qualifier because everyone already knows that. What they may not know — and what this series addresses — is that a referral is just a starting point.
I could probably add a couple more to this list, but if you follow these 11 guidelines you’ll be well on your way to finding the right, qualified, marketing help. This is the final installment of this three part series. Check out part two, “3 More Ways to Qualify Marketing Help.”
Good luck, and “Happy Qualifying.”
Handshake Photo via Shutterstock
Please don’t judge people by their presence in Wikipedia. Getting listed there is almost impossible.
Maybe it’s exactly BECAUSE of Wikipedia’s high standards that people trust it as a good judge of credibility.
Good list. I’d extend point 9 to say that chemistry is critical as well. My buddy calls it the “weekend in Boise test.” Assuming the marketing firm passes every single test, do you connect with them? If you do, the relationship will go much more smoothly. If you don’t it can suck no matter how hard you work for each other. We typically enter relationships because there is some sort of connection that brings us together. Sometimes a lack of chemistry can kill a business partnership faster than anything. I’ve also got a few thoughts specifically related to Public Relations and picking the right resource. I Think I Need PR, But Where Do I Start: http://www.diyprshop.com/2012/02/i-think-i-need-pr-but-where-do-i-start/
No question about chemistry which was thinking behind there needing to be an easy, low entry point way of getting started to test it. Your similar piece about PR makes lots of sense. Prospects really need helpful guidance when making hiring decisions for services like ours.
Agreed. Again, solid post. 🙂
Thanks again for your comment, Andy. Glad you liked the piece. Here’s a new, related one you might like: https://smallbiztrends.com/2012/08/gold-medal-employees.html#comment-1317732