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The Best Team Money Can Buy

One month from today college football starts.

Let me restate that –

ONE MONTH FROM TODAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL STARTS!

There, that’s a far more accurate representation of my feelings on the subject…

Growing up as a die-hard Arkansas Razorbacks fan the Hogs competed in the old Southwest Conference.  And even if you don’t know anything about SWC football you might remember the days of the Southern Methodist University Mustang teams of the early-mid 80’s, better known to their fans as the Pony Express.  To the fans of their rivals (like me) they were The Best Team Money Can Buy (and if you want to see a great documentary on it all check out ESPN’s 30 For 30 Series).

As I wrote this post to discuss why small business owners should consider engaging a marketing consultant that title popped in my head.  I’m sure that happened at least in part because I’m “ready for some football” but also because effective small business marketing involves discussions around the best use of a small business’ limited resources.

Your Marketing Partner

Marketing and promoting your business can seem like it’s both the easiest thing to do in your business (after all it’s just talking about what do, right?) and the hardest (have you ever wondered – how do I build a website?  How does Facebook help me?  How do I ever make the time to do all this stuff?)

And it’s true; Marketing could be a 100% DIY activity if you chose to do it that way.  There are no advanced degrees or licenses you have to have in order to market and build your business.

But, you have strategic partners (or at least I hope you do) for a number of areas who are not your employees:

  • Your CPA helps keep your books, finances and taxes in line
  • Your Attorney works with you on business formation, employment, contract and regulatory issues
  • Your IT systems are monitored and managed by a managed services provider

So why should small business marketing be different?

When was the last time you kept a sustained, consistent and effective effort alive for promoting and growing your business?  Are you maximizing your efforts to generate new business from your existing customers and partners through referrals?

There are lots of reasons for engaging outside expertise to build, improve and operate your marketing system.  Based on my experience working with small business owners I’ll say there is a better than average chance you are not getting all you could out of your marketing efforts. Good small business marketing is similar to effective accounting or IT systems – build a process that can be operated over time and adjusted to the changing needs of your business.

You work with partners for all these other functions, why not Marketing?

Different Models for Outsourcing

There are several ways you can work with a Marketing Consultant and the model that is best for you depends on where your business is in terms of its growth and your vision for its future.  The available models include:

  1. Get Coached – a lot can be accomplished by a very focused effort on working your way, with a guide, through building and implementing a marketing system for your business
  2. Have some done for you – maybe you (or your staff) is really strong or has a passion for an area of marketing (e.g., social media) – fantastic!  Then you can work with a consultant to help build that passion into an overall marketing plan for the business
  3. Have it all done for you – you provide direction, you collaborate to build a marketing plan and monitor its success over time, but otherwise you get some time and life back through trusting a partner to operate your marketing system for you

When you begin discussing your needs with a consultant there are some things you should think through beforehand (and they should ask you in your first meeting)…

Before Outsourcing Marketing Functions, Know These Answers:

  • What is the purpose of engaging a marketing professional to work with you?
  • Are you looking for a specific set of tactics or do you want to build a system for sustained success over time?
  • How well do you understand your marketing strategy – ideal target customers, unique value propositions and overall key messages?

An effective marketing consultant will work with you to build a system that will give you a framework for consistently growing your business over time.  When that happens the questions largely boil down to who is operating the system, with the consultant largely working themselves out of a job by helping you grow your business to the point where it makes more sense to build an in-house marketing function.  That means your business is growing a lot – Congrats!

Let’s Figure It Out

If you’d like to discuss how to get more out of your marketing efforts, just let me know.

If you’d like to get a manual for effective lead generation, check out my first book –The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Local Lead Generation.