If you lack a clear vision for how marketing can help you attain your business goals, it’s exceptionally difficult to use your market dollars effectively. Further complicating marketing spend is the fact that many business leaders put the marketing cart before the horse--hiring marketing service providers to execute strategy when there is no strategy.
There is a time and place for these providers, but that usually comes later in the strategy-building process.
When you do get to that point, there are some key aspects to look for.
Why “Expertise” Isn’t Everything
In hiring an outside agency or marketing service provider, you’ll typically find deep skills in some areas and cursory experience in others. The challenge is to find a source of support that sees your business strategically; one that objectively assesses:
- which aspect of the business can be best supported with marketing
- which channels work best depending on where that audience is on their purchase journey
- what messaging is best poised to distinguish your brand against competitive alternatives
Getting a “channel agnostic” view of your marketing plan means you’ll spend resources where they matter most… not where your service provider has deep expertise. This is the best place to start, strategically, because it avoids investing valuable time/money/resources in expertise you don’t need.
Strategy First, Spend Second
One message I try to reinforce with my Strategy Lab participants is: think before you spend. This is especially important when considering hiring marketing specialists. As a CEO or founder, that’s not always easy to do when you’re constantly being pulled in every direction (marketing, sales, support)--and you just want some answers.
But, that’s exactly what the Lab is designed for… to guide business leaders through the strategy-building process, while keeping in mind all of the other day-to-day responsibilities in your purview.
Next Steps: Determining Channel-Specific Needs
Once you’ve established your channel-agnostic foundation, you can always refine your search for marketing specialists--so you have the right expertise in the right area/channel. For example, you may discover a need for:
- SEO teams: From optimization to audits, SEO teams handle technical and on-page search engine optimization.
“A marketing roadmap is where it all starts.”
- Branding groups: Work with branding experts to develop a clear brand identity and the documents to back them up.
- Content marketing: Refine and target your marketing message based on customer questions and obstacles that your company can answer.
- Social media teams: Boost your reach on social channels by investing in a consistent schedule and plenty of real-time engagement.
- User experience (UX) experts: UX teams can ensure every aspect of your website flows seamlessly towards conversions.
At White Space, we’ve amassed a deep Rolodex of marketing experts like these who can help deliver on specific tactics for your business. But, again, a marketing roadmap is where it all starts. Without a growth blueprint, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of implementing one-off tactics that aren’t anchored in your long-term success.
It’s Time to Get Off the Spin Cycle of Marketing
If you're ready to move from a set of one-off marketing tactics to a complete growth strategy you can get behind, the Strategy Lab is waiting for you! Watch this free training on how we’ve helped small and mid-sized businesses move from those Random Acts of Marketing to a plan you can believe in and commit to.