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How to Find Honest and Exceptional Marketing Help

In this episode...

Every company faces the challenge of finding a new marketing firm. Marketing companies are really good at putting inspirational pitches in front of prospects. How can small and medium-sized businesses see past sexiness and the hype of a marketing firm’s presentation to get measurable business-improving results?

In less than 20 minutes, you can learn to weed through the BS and get results.

Comes a time in every company’s life cycle that they need to find a good marketing firm. Maybe you’re just starting out. Maybe you’re current firm isn’t really doing the job for you anymore. You have new needs or your current firm is incapable of doing what you need them to do. Whatever the case might be. Everyone at some point in time, every business of every size is gonna find themselves in the hunt to find a new marketing firm.

Before you begin. If you haven’t listened to the episode totally hyped called The One Thing. Make sure you do that because the concept in that episode is vital to the decisions that you’ll be making. And, uh, it’s vital to the success is well. In all the episodes you’re gonna hear in Totally Hyped, one of the most common concepts that I talk about is to be sure of your objective and know what needs to be true in order to consider that objective complete.

Now the reason that’s important is because you’re going to be sold a lot of services. You’re going to be sold a lot of hype. A lot of you know, quite frankly, their dog and pony shows when you’re looking at marketing firms, could be quite impressive and can get you really jacked up. But at the end of the day, you have to be comfortable with the fact that you’re going to get the result that you need and your result better be something in the line of improving your business. For example, I have a current customer who believes that their sole objective is to drive leads, and that’s fine and I’m in agreement that, in fact more leads would be great.

But there’s an understanding that needs to happen in regard to how do you get a lead? And they expect that every single marketing or advertising effort should then just suddenly magically produce all these leads. They’re not really understanding the full life cycle of what it takes for someone to consider their product. Make a decision and then purchase their product and the effort that needs to go into aligning all of those things so that you could bring a customer from, you know, the kind of the research phase into. Is this right for me? What is this like compared to other products? And then all the way down to taking the product out for a test drive. On that note, if you’re selling something small like a trinket or an oil change, that process isn’t all that long. You need an oil change. You go get an oil change. You might look for a place near you or something like that, but otherwise it’s a pretty quick, and easy decision to make. If you’re gonna buy a small trinket, you don’t need to research competitors, you don’t need to. You’re probably just gonna look for the convenience factor. How can I get it in the way that I want to get it? And how can I get it as quickly as I want it? How can I pay as much as I want? Those types of things, but it’s not a very long cycle, at any rate, when you’re buying something smaller.

Take though, for example, buying a car on average, it takes a consumer roughly 108 days to buy a car. We can all relate to buying cars I think. 108 days to buy a car from the time someone considers that hey, maybe I need a new car to the time they actually purchase, more than three months pass. Now, remember that average factors in people whose vehicles whose vehicle breaks down and then they need to get a new one right now. Maybe it’s the same day purchase all the way through. People are gonna take a lot longer than 108 days. So, on average, it takes 108 days to buy a vehicle, and there’s a number of steps that need to occur in there in order to convince somebody that you have the vehicle. If you’re a car dealer that is perfectly suited for them.

Now that might come down to price, might come down to features that it has that you need what have you, But it takes about 108 days to do it. So, you have to consider your product and what it takes in order to get people to buy from you and what does the lead look like? A lead for a car dealer is when somebody calls up and wants test drive a car or their enquiring about a price or something of that nature. But that happens way down the line. They’ve already gone to Edmonds and auto traders and all kinds of different places. To look, manufacturer websites, what have you. They’ve already done all this online and even some referral searches of friends who might own a car that they might be interested in. So, there’s a lot that goes into that buying cycle, and you need to understand what that is, and so does the marketing firm you might be considering. So, one of the things that you have to consider is can this marketing firm understand what your life cycle is? And are they capable of achieving the result that you want? And we’ll talk about this a little bit more in just a few minutes, but it’s important to for you to be able to look beyond these great sales pitches in these great dog and pony shows and feel comfortable that that this marketing firm, uh can The marketing firm that you’re looking at can actually achieve those results. That is somewhat of a comfort level that you might need to have, and it might be in the work that they’ve done on, and that that you know that in fact, that work has has achieved the result for another company, and whether that company is similar to yours or not is somewhat irrelevant. You just need to be able to feel comfortable that whatever your objective is that that company can actually achieve that objective for you and make sure that you’re buying the objective and not services. Again, we’ll talk about all of this as we go forward here.

So, I touched on a little bit. Do you want a marketing company that is well versed in your industry? Or do you want a marketing company or a marketing firm that’s just great at what they do? And I have mixed feelings on this. Now, my firm over the years, whether we’re marketing or whether we’re building products for people building, uh, web applications and what have you. We never niched, we never just did n industry. We never just, uh, niched in anything. We kind of took on all kinds of different projects, and we’ve been able to work for all kinds of companies like Honda Corporation, Kohls Corporation, GE, Tetra Pak Global. We’ve we’ve been able to work with a number of really great brands and a number of mom and pop shops over the years, but we never niched and so there’s a beauty that comes from that and that we have this huge swath of experience that we can bring to the table in any project.

Where a company that specializes only in an industry might suffer a little bit is that they only know and only have tools for that industry, and they can do what they can do rather than do anything that’s possible. So, I guess at the end of the day you have two way, those two things out. I have mixed feelings on it. To be honest with you, I think that there are some companies out there that specialize in industries that are just fantastic. And then I think that there are some companies out there that specialize in industries that air just super limited.

So, you really have to kind of take a look at your industry in the marketing firms that can do a good job for you and and make that call. Now this is going to sound like an over sales pitch from my consulting services. It’s not, it’s I just want to bring up the fact that if you’re struggling with this decision, which marketing firm should I retain? It might be a good idea to bring out a consultant.

Um, and just real quick understanding what a good consultant is whether you hire me or any company for that matter. A real consultant doesn’t sell services. A lot of sales people will call themselves consultants and it sounds good, but they’re only gonna be able to consult you on the things that they’re selling. A real consultant doesn’t sell services at all. A real consultant sells results like I’m gonna come in and I’m gonna say, hey, in order to get these results, these are things that I believe you should do. Whether you do them or not, it doesn’t it doesn’t affect my bottom line. Whether you do those things that I recommend and then you achieve those results. That’s what matters to me. I don’t make any money. If you buy the services that I recommend or not, none, I only make money based on is my plan solid.

Good consultants are never gonna cost you more money. In fact, I guarantee a good consultant will save you money. They will help you avoid all the pitfalls. They will help you understand what a service should cost. Whether services even valid for you or not, or if it’s just somebody selling the thing that they sell. So, at some level bringing in a consultant to help you find that right marketing firm is probably a really good idea. If you’re feeling at all hesitant in whether you’re going to pick the right firm for your needs or not.

Beyond that, it not even beyond that, uh, in line with that or in the middle of that, a good marketing consultant can take a look at what any proposals that have come in and also even help you create an RFP so as you can get good proposals. So, at some level, a marketing consultant, I know that this is what I sell, so I’m consulting you to buy my service. But I had some level that it’s the unbiased nature of a consultant that is the value. They can bring in a lot of experience and they can say, Okay, this industry expert marketing firm, um, is missing this this and this element and maybe they could bring that to the table or maybe they can’t. Or this non industry expert isn’t gonna be able to provide these tools that are necessary in your industry. So again, uh, marketing consultants, um especially me are amazing. Just kidding. But you really can consider a marketing consultant, and we do the first hour up up front for free, so you can get an awful lot of information in the first hour. Um, and I don’t get mad at you if you’re trying to take advantage of me. I really just want you to kick good marketing. At the end of the day, that’s what this is all about. So, make sure to look at, ah firms, body of work and not just the work that specifically related to your business. Look at everything they’ve done and you have to make a decision. Do you feel like the work that they’ve done aligns with the company’s brand? Is it does it feel like it should? For example, maybe a marketing firm does all kinds of different works and work, and they do banks as well as local sports teams, for example. You should be able to look at the local sports team, and it should feel like a local sports team and should get you excited about a local sports team as well as when I look at their bank client. Does that feel like a bank does it make me want a bank there? You should be able to look at their body of work and see that they, in fact, are, um, driving the marketing results that that particular company would likely need.

One of the other points that you should be aware of is, ah, marketing firm size. Size matters and size doesn’t matter. I just I’d like to say size matters because it makes me giggle a little bit. Anyway, um, a firm size really isn’t indicative of what they could do. A lot of companies that are looking for marketing help believe that, well, if I could just get that really big marketing firm, all my problems would be solved. And that’s just not necessarily true. I mean, they could just beam or expensive, and a smaller firm could bring you those exact same services for a lot less money because they don’t have the overhead and what have you?

I would just say this. You really just at the end of the day need to feel comfortable with what can this firm bring to the table, the services that will get the results that I want. And remember, the results you want aren’t improvement in your business. You’re gonna sell more widgets, and you’re going to sell more widgets in line with what it’s like for customers to buy widgets from you. So, don’t make a decision based on a firm size. Um, when you are buying services from a marketing firm, be wary of a few things.

If they go into the sale and they’re telling you, Hey, we could try a few things out here to get things rolling. You don’t need to do up front experimentation. You need to set your foundation, and there’s a difference between experimentation and dialing in your initial efforts to optimize those results. So, make sure that you’re really understanding that they’re not experimenting on your dime upfront. You never want to experiment upfront. Experimentation comes after you have this foundation set and that your marketing is on a steady role and it’s providing you the results that you want. Once that’s done and everybody’s feeling comfortable with that, that always needs to be optimized anyway. But once that foundation is set, um, now you can start saying, Hey, what if we tried this? What if we tried that? Let’s try to dig into the market a little bit deeper by doing this. Those are the times to do that. But make sure that that’s not the upfront sales pitch. Um, the other part of that, uh, sales pitch can sound a little like, and this really bothers me when this happens with marketing firms. It sounds like what we could get you going on this while we work out the larger plan. Let’s just start here. Let’s get you these basic things that everyone needs while we build the larger plan, and that is bullshit.

That is to just get you locked in. And the reason that’s bullshit is because until you have the larger plan, you don’t know what any of those things should be in the first place. You don’t know if you need social media help. You don’t know if you need to improve your SEO. You don’t know if you need pay per click. You don’t know any of those things that they want to get you started on until you have the larger plan developed.

It’s just a fact of life, and if they try to tell you that they know right up front, and let’s just start here. Even those efforts need to be steeped in the understanding of what the whole plan is the messaging needs. You don’t wanna even do an SEO campaign. Uh, if you don’t understand what the messaging is and what the landing pages should look like. So, when people say, let’s just start with SEO, or let’s just start with pay per click, bullshit. Just call bullshit on that. You don’t need to start anywhere. You need a plan and you need to believe in the plan. Another red flag when you’re looking at marketing firms is that there’s too much focus in the plan on specific services. Usually what that means is these are services that they’re really good at these are services that bring ah higher profit margin when there’s a focus on. Unless the only way you would ever know this is if, in fact, there are, um, results that you can see that show that in fact you need to focus right here, they’re typically aren’t upfront. Unless, of course, they’re one of the services that specialize in your industry. There typically aren’t, uh, knowns up front. You have to try things out. Does this work? Does email work? Does SEO work? Does digital work?

What have you? So, at some level, most firms don’t know up front what’s going to work and what’s not. You have to be careful because a lot of the buzzwords and what as soon as they say them, they can get your blood going a little bit and you might get a little, uh ah. little excited to hear some of these things where I’d love to see myself in social media. Stop. Don’t do that. Just listen to the whole plan. And that whole plan should feel very realistic to you and should match up with where you believe your customers are and how you believe your customers would react. So again, watch out if somebody is just like, Hey, we’ve got to get you on social media right away. They don’t know right away, unless they again are well versed in your industry. They just don’t know right away.

Remember also that when you’re making a purchase from a marketing firm. That marketing is an investment, and I’m defending the marketing firms here a bit. Marketing is an investment improving your business. It’s not just a necessary evil. You remember, marketing is an investment improving and improving your business, Not it’s not just this necessary evil. Henry Ford, uh, say what you will about his moral compass. A lot of people have a lot to say about that, but regardless, I mean, the guy obviously did well in business, and he had this great saying, and I’m probably not going to get a perfect, but it’s just a wonderful saying, he says. “Stopping marketing or advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” It’s just a great thing. The money that you’re spending a marketing better be making you money and you better feel it.

I guess at the end of the day, that’s what I’m talking about. It shouldn’t ever feel like that. You should almost feel like, Oh, shit. If I stop marketing, I’m going to lose business. If you feel like, well, if I just stop marketing, I’ll save some money. You’re you’ve got a disconnect and you’re doing something wrong there.

So, this is meant to be a short topic, and I’m going to just recap everything we’ve talked about here. There is a lot of detail that goes into this high-level conversation I’ve just had with you. If you want more information again, free consultations you gotta You can always listen to all the podcast at and those are free. But at some level just understand that there is a better way to do marketing If you’re not feeling comfortable with the way you’re doing marketing right now. Alright, to recap everything we’ve gone over, it’s just four short bullet points.

All you need to remember is, you got to know your objective and feel comfortable that the plan that the marketing firm is presenting to you can achieve that objective. Otherwise, don’t buy. If you’re waffling and you’re like I’m not sure is this right? Maybe you didn’t get the right proposals. Maybe you didn’t do the right RFP. Again, I would be remised and and again, even if I didn’t do this, I would tell you to get a consultant. Ah, completely unbiased. No skin in the game, consultant. By no skin in the game, I mean that they can’t make money from the services that they recommend.

Next bullet point is don’t be swayed by whether a marketing company specializes in your industry or not. Be swayed by whether you believe they could get the results and check with some of their clients. Call, ask for a few clients and they don’t have to necessarily be related to what you do. Just check with their clients. What was it like to work with them? Did they get the results that they promised? Again, bring in a consultant if you feel a little bit if you had any of these decisions, it doesn’t have to be me, but you can go to Level Logics, fill out a quick form, and I’ll I’m there to help you out.

Feel comfortable with the relationship with marketing company that you’re about to choose. You are going to be spending a lot of time with them. There’s going to be a lot of collaboration. You’re going to have to feel comfortable that a they could do the work. Be that that work is gonna be in line with what your companies like. Can they really bring out your brand? Can they really sell your widgets?

Anyway, that’s all I have to say on this topic for right now. This is again very high level, I understand that. If you want more detail, give me a call and there will be other episodes related to this, so there will be more detail forthcoming. Hope you enjoyed this little brief moment. And if you’re in the middle of trying to find a marketing firm and you need a little bit of help, feel free to give me a call. I won’t charge you a penny for some initial consultation and collaboration. All of my contact information will be available at with this episode and other episodes. Thanks for listening. Visit for a categorized listing of all episodes.

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