Protect yourself from marketing ‘red flags’

red flagsDuring my time at The Simons Group, I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with a ton of great marketing professionals and firms alike. I’ve also met and heard about those who are on the other side of the spectrum — so-called “marketing professionals.” They aren’t qualified to write a personal email, let alone help their clients reach their marketing and sales goals.

Here are some “red flags” to look for when seeking marketing assistance. These rules can apply to internal and external hires:

They don’t take the time to learn about your company’s needs. The best marketing professionals will do a complete assessment of your business, sales and marketing needs. They want to learn as much as they can about your current business challenges, sales environment, marketing objectives and more. The imposters will take no time at all on the front end and jump into what they can do for you, even if their “solutions” and services do not address your concerns and goals. If you’re interviewing marketing professionals or agencies, make sure they‘re focused on you and your business. If they’re not, it’s very unlikely they’ll help you succeed.

They promise quick fixes. Developing branding and marketing messaging requires a consistent effort over time to achieve the best results. In the strategic marketing world, consistency with a slow and steady pace really does win the race. If a marketer promises you a too-good-to-be-true solution to your problems, run — don’t walk — to the door. Shortcuts routinely end up costing you more in the end because efforts will have been wasted. Investing in long-term marketing efforts will establish a strong base for your sales machine and ultimately contribute to the health of your business.

They don’t walk the walk. Reputable marketing companies align brand actions with brand behaviors. In other words, what they say about themselves should match how they behave. If their marketing messaging tells you a totally different story than when you interact with them on a personal level, it’s time to worry. If they can’t match their own personality with an external brand picture, how will they accomplish this complex dance for you? Working with marketing professionals who walk the walk on a daily basis is a great way to make sure they’re capable of producing effective communications for your brand.

They don’t view sales and marketing as a unit. Even if you have the best marketing efforts in place, they’ll be worthless if the executing team doesn’t understand your company’s sales goals. The marketing collateral they craft will fall flat if they don’t serve your sales team’s development efforts.

Other red flags include poor planning and goal-setting, not keeping up with marketing trends and failing to measure progress. What warning signs do you look for? Do you have any tips for finding a great agency? Let us know in the comments below.

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