Marketing used to be an art, but when the internet arrived it began evolving more toward a science.
Today, effective marketing is both art and science, drawing on expertise that ranges from human psychology to statistical analysis to machine-learning artificial intelligence.
Marketing is a specialized, fast-moving skill set. Few business owners have the training and background to be a comprehensive marketer.
Here’s an example of a customer’s journey, marketers cater to each of these touchpoints.
Even when business owners do have some marketing know-how, when would they find the time to use it?
Today, marketing involves a broad world of media that goes on 24/7.
Different audiences follow different outlets and influencers. Keeping up with them, getting their attention, communicating with them, persuading them — these all take time as well as specific skills.
This is why businesses are investing time and money into marketing services; they know they need to have a presence or else they’ll get left behind, and they know implementing marketing tactics is more complicated than it seems.
A 2019 BDC survey of more than 1,400 Canadian businesses found that Canadian small business’ (with less than $2 million in annual revenue) marketing costs average just over $30,000 a year, while those with 20 to 49 employees spend twice that amount.
A dedicated marketing service leaves the business owner free to do what they’re best at, which is running their business.
With so many avenues of marketing and promotion available today, how can businesses find the right match with a marketing service? Here are some key questions to ask as you evaluate:
1) Are They Sensitive to Your Business?
No matter what the product or service, every business has its own tempo and goals. It’s important that the marketing agency is in sync with the business owner as to what constitutes success and at what scale.
For example, a broad marketing campaign is not necessarily a fit for a small local business. Conversely, marketing that’s too tightly targeted to a region or demographic makes it easy for businesses to lose out on a lot of potential customers.
2) Do They Understand Social Media?
Sure, everyone knows about Facebook and Instagram. While billions of people use these services, billions more never touch them or pay any attention to what they see there.
They’re too busy with other social (or traditional) media outlets, and there are many dozens of them. Coming up with strategies to reach potential customers through all relevant social channels is a job for marketing service expertise.
3) Do They Understand Your Customers?
Some products or services have genuine across-the-board appeal to all customer demographics. Others are meant for segmented or niche markets, such as young or old people, women or men, affluent versus striving.
Today’s advanced marketing techniques can be applied with high degrees of targeting. A good marketing agency helps businesses see beyond their current customers.
4) Do They Understand Your Image?
One of the most important assets for any business is its image – the aura that it wants to convey to the world. This, of course, includes visual imagery, such as the look and feel of a website and related marketing materials.
Where your business’s image or name appears can have an unintended bearing on how new potential customers will perceive it.
Remember when people said there’s no such thing as bad publicity? They lied.
5) Do They Understand Local?
Some businesses are truly “borderless,” meaning their ability to deliver goods and services isn’t constrained by physical distance. These businesses can reach broad global audiences through strategic marketing.
Other businesses, such as plumbing and electrical, depend more heavily on local customers and require local marketing.
In the U.S. alone, 46% of Google searches were for local businesses. People rely on search engines to find local service providers, without a local SEO strategy in place, your business can miss out on a big opportunity.
A good marketing agency will be sensitive to these particulars and direct the marketing efforts appropriately.
6) Who Does the Work?
There are many types of marketing agencies, running the gamut between “full service” and “self-serve.”
Some agencies expect the client (that’s you) to do all the work. Sure, they’ll provide tools like a social media presence, a website, a blog, and a hashtag, but they expect you to fill it in and keep it refreshed.
A good marketing agency can provide you with all these services and more: everything from shooting YouTube videos to tweaking your Google keywords on a regular basis.
7) Are There Humans?
In these days where algorithms seem to run everything, it’s worth asking how much human contact and support you can expect from a prospective marketing agency.
Many paid web services promise business owners the ability to do their own self-marketing. Most business owners, however, don’t know how to use these tools or maximize them. Human guidance from the marketing services team is essential for success.
Marketing Goals to Consider
Marketing strategies and tactics are designed to achieve two essential goals: attract new customers and build customer loyalty.
The methods vary according to the type of business and its goals, but a few critical components of marketing activities include:
Do all your potential customers know about your business? Or has the business been running on reputation and word of mouth for years?
Marketing services keep a business on the “front page” of customer consciousness, especially when they’re actively searching for goods and services.
They also remind existing customers about ongoing news and specials with the use of newsletters, social posts, etc.
Many consumers are in need of products and services even if they don’t know it yet.
Maybe they weren’t aware of the benefits. Maybe they didn’t realize they could save money or gain convenience or enjoy pleasure from said products and services.
Marketing services create customer demand and direct attention to a particular business using various marketing funnels.
There are a few businesses that are genuinely, singularly unique. As the saying goes, wherever there’s a Coke, there’s also a Pepsi. How does one business stand out from its competitors when they’re all selling the same thing?
Marketing helps businesses separate themselves from the competition through messaging and perception.
The personal preference that consumers hold for a specific business or brand affects everything from word of mouth testimonials to the actual price they’re willing to pay. Effective marketing can amplify brand value – the business’s value – in ways that can go on for generations.
There are two steps to getting started with next-level marketing for your business. The first is the process of coming up with clear goals. Established business owners know what marketing (if any) has worked in the past and what hasn’t.
They have a good idea of their capacities and what constitutes satisfactory (and achievable) growth. New businesses are less constrained by past experience but more affected by the present because their competitors already have customers and a track record.
In both cases, it’s important to have a vision for the future that you can convey to a prospective marketing partner.
What would marketing success look like for your business? More new customers? Better engagement with existing customers? Building on brand equity already established? Creating a name when no one has heard of you?
Picking the Right Partner
Marketing is more than a service: it’s a collaboration between the business and the marketing services agency. In choosing your marketing partner, you’ll not only want experience and expertise, but also a guiding strategy on how to best move your marketing forward and the ability to develop the materials you need.
When you’re ready to bring your business to the next level through superior marketing, call for a free, no-pressure consultation with Magneta Marketing Agency. We’ll show you a wide range of options that will quickly make your business more popular and profitable.