This week, I sat down with one of our local Tri-State area clients at a crossroads. (I’d like to mention who it was because I’m very proud of the work we’ve done thus far, but for the purposes of this story they will remain nameless). We have provided them marketing consulting services for the better part of a year and they want to know what the results we’ve gotten so far. It’s a position we’ve been in before, defending our services in the eyes of a client that doesn’t see the big picture. This time it got me thinking though.
How exactly do you measure marketing consulting services?
Most clients want to make an exact dollar for dollar match to what marketing consulting services cost them and what they bring in. Because of course they do. It’s only rational to equate these in comparison.
But that’s not the whole picture. There’s so much more that goes in to what we do for our clients. For example, how do you measure rebranding? What about a public relations hit in a local Westchester magazine? Are there quantifiable sales that come from a new website design?
Now, most of the time these more ethereal marketing consulting services are measured by words like “awareness” and “buzz” and “mindshare.” I’m not saying that’s how you should track and grade a marketing firm, because it isn’t. Squishy metrics like these do both the client and the agency a disservice. They’re lazy. They’re intangible. They’re worthless.
With that said, there are things you can use to track effectiveness of any marketing initiative though. In fact, you can judge the value of most marketing consulting services to your business by just a few simple criteria.
In thinking about the challenge presented to me at our Westchester offices, I cataloged everything we did for this particular client in my head. Then, I started connecting the dots of our strategy in order to ask what it all meant. In a way, I sort of put myself in the client’s shoes. And then it hit me.
I realized that the sum total of all our marketing comes down to three simple things:
Yes, you want to sell every customer that comes into your world. Convert every lead. Monetize every action. And marketing consulting services everywhere should strive to do that. But life isn’t that simple, is it?
You need fresh customers to know about you. However, there are different levels of customer. Some may buy from you. Some may want to keep tabs on you for different products and prices. Some may aspire to buy from you one day. All of these I would call “customers.” But because they didn’t actually hand you money yet doesn’t mean marketing consulting services have failed. You’re on their radar because of your marketing. The more you contact these people, the sooner they’ll buy.
Pricing strategy, conversion percentage and overall leads driven all should factor in to how you judge the job we do. That’s undeniable. But while this is an important factor, it’s not all that goes into how much marketing consulting services may be worth to you. In fact, even more important might be…
Hypothetically speaking, if I drove five new customers to you, but all of them became heavy users/long-term clients/repeat buyers, would that be worth more than 50 clients doing business with you once?
The first purchase can’t be all your marketing is measured by. You need to look at the lifetime value of that customer your marketing brought into your world. This is especially important for high-ticket or service-based clients. Quality over quantity, right?
To do this, you will need some sort of customer management system that helps you determine worth in the long run. It sounds tedious, but it’s the type of thing high-value marketing consulting services do for their clients. Which brings me to my next point…
Of course you can do all the media planning and marketing coordination on your own. And if you’re especially good at it or enjoy it or don’t have anything better to do, by all means do it. But really think about the business you run. Are there deals to close? Customers to sell? Operations to oversee? Is your time better spent marketing or actually running a business?
With so many day-to-day tasks and endless options to consider, marketing ain’t easy these days. Branding, logo design, advertising, digital marketing, local publications, local TV advertising, public relations, social media management, production, etc. These things take time, effort and forethought. Having a marketing partner on your side not only frees you up to not have to think about all that, but also sets you up with top-notch representation to your customers. When done right, it should be a win-win.
Most business owners do opt for the do-it-yourself approach. I see it every day. The problem with this is your attention is divided between all the minutiae and actually running your business. I understand that if you have chops for marketing you can make it work, but if you go out there with subpar materials where your marketing sucks and you know it (Hey, that sounds like a great name for a book), then you’re not going to be successful.
It’s easy to overlook time and energy saved when calculating value provided by marketing consulting services. But when you have a marketing machine working in the background giving you the firepower you need to win customers, that’s priceless.
It’s these three areas at which we excel at MSCO. Our Westchester marketing consulting services take into account the full picture of what we offer our clients. As for the business in question, they’re still with us and looking forward to a robust 2015 plan. One where we’ll be judged not just by up front sales, but by the sum total of everything we do for them.Read More
Last week, MSCO began work with our newest client, Coco Training and Consulting. We’re excited, as always, to explore new opportunities, not only for this brand but for MSCO as well. We envision a strong future with Coco Training and can see multiple ways to work with and expand this business.
Coco Training delivers everything from executive coaching to sales management leadership and sales career training. To begin with, we have taken a look at their sales career training program. After careful consideration, we determined this to be their most promising branch. In order to position Coco Training as the experts they are, we needed a new approach.
From the very first meeting, it was clear that Larry Coco, President at Coco Training, was extremely passionate about his work. He aims to find the inspiration that exists behind each and every sale. With that in mind, we branded this branch of Coco Training as A Higher Sale.
Our new messaging reflects the passion behind his work. We’ve completely removed the standard sales gimmicks from our approach. Instead, we focus on Coco’s unique methodology: By identifying and acting on the power of inspiration, you can become an elite sales professional. That is how A Higher Sale works.
You can check out our initial branding on our landing page here. Moving forward, we are working on launching a PR and social campaign for A Higher Sale, among other things.
Stay tuned for the latest news regarding Coco Training and all of our other clients!
Welcome to Tommy’s Tips! This is the first in a weekly series about marketing consulting services and advertising tips for businesses of all sizes. While it is my namesake, this is the sum collection of all the knowledge here at our Westchester NY marketing firm MSCO. I’ll be sourcing input from all our staff on topics ranging from public relations to social media management to website design and much more.
First, let’s start with a question we hear a lot at MSCO: “What does your marketing firm do?”
Whenever I hear this I want to answer with another question: “What don’t we do?”
My time at MSCO has seen our team take on all sorts of business challenges. From major companies looking to reclaim market share to startup products searching for a foothold in the marketplace, we’ve handled it all. Here’s just a sample of what I’ve managed while working for this marketing firm:
The list goes on. Pretty much anything and everything you need to do to run a business we manage for our clients. It’s a holistic approach to marketing we wouldn’t have any other way.
In reality, the way we work is by asking ourselves what needs to be done to make this client successful. Digging deep into the business, whatever the size, allows us to take on the responsibilities necessary to build something great. Not all marketing firms operate this way, but it’s the way that’s been proven to work for our clients.
Of course, different marketing firms have different specialties, so it’s important to understand what you need to take your business to the next level before engaging one. But how? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
If you’re a small business consulting with several marketing reps, your head might be spinning by now. With dozens of marketing consulting services in Westchester alone, local business owners of all sizes have a tough time figuring out what they need and what they don’t from a marketing firm. What should you look for? That all depends on where your business is in its development.
Instead of plainly asking “What does a marketing firm do?” here are some questions to ask yourself when looking for help marketing your business.
Specifically, what do you do well? How is the core of your business built? In an ideal world, how does it operate? What are you really selling?
Before you can look outward for help, you must look inside at the core of your business and understand how you work best and what your value is in the marketplace. If the answers to some of these questions are hazy, a marketing firm can help direct you to a solution. In fact, one of the strengths of MSCO is getting to a true value proposition that begins with branding and permeates every aspect of a client’s business. It’s how we turned Ferraro Landscaping into Rolling Lawns.
Where are you weakest? What specifically do you need help with? Are there new things your competitors do that you don’t understand?
Once you understand who you are, go beyond that to find what you’re not doing. For a large company this could mean identifying a competitor that’s gaining ground fast and looking at why. A small business might just not have the bandwidth to accomplish everything a marketing firm can.
As an example, we work with some New York area retail based clients at MSCO. Many times, they fear competitors getting ahead of them through digital marketing, specifically SEO or Google AdWords. Because they understand where they’re deficient, we can focus on those areas instead of spending discovery time identifying where we need to dedicate our effort. The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one. The next is taking action.
Are there important events coming up? Expansion? Downsizing? Product launches? Busy season? What is the timeline for sales?
Looking down the road is important to get a comprehensive idea of what you need to accomplish with a marketing firm. If you have challenges that are time sensitive, you need to recognize them and get a marketing firm involved as soon as you can. Planning for major events prevents mistakes and yields better results. That’s just life.
Case in point: TF Andrew came to us to launch their new Elmsford, NY showroom. Our objective was clear; make this the swankiest flooring party ever held in Westchester. After months of planning, we pulled it off in style.
Moral of the story is not to let deadlines and other happenings sneak up on you. Always keep an eye toward the future, especially when you want to make the most of a relationship with a marketing firm.
Where are your customers? Who are they? What do they do? Where do they live? If you’re a local business, how local? Certain towns like Scarsdale or Chappaqua? All of Westchester? The entire New York City Tri-State Area?
Hint: You cannot answer “everyone, everywhere doing everything.” Even Coca-Cola has a core audience.
Some of these questions can be answered by a marketing firm. Still, you should at least know your core customer for your business to get the most out of marketing consulting services.
Is there a budget for marketing? What do I dedicate to marketing and what do I save for advertising? How much revenue do I need to earn to make this initiative a success?
The old saying goes “You get what you pay for.” That’s especially true when it comes to marketing firms. Understanding the limits of what you’re getting from your marketing firm is crucial to success. Not only that, but answering the previous questions accurately will maximize your returns. If you need a marketing firm to do everything immediately, you’ll have to pay accordingly. But if you can identify one or two areas to improve at a time, you will pay less and get more from the engagement.
MSCO works with clients that have budgets of all sizes. For those clients, our services are a combination of everything in the list above plus more. Some marketing firms specialize in fields like digital marketing or public relations. Of course, if you elect a piecemeal marketing strategy, you’ll need to coordinate all those different entities and then you become a marketing director, not a business owner. If your time is more valuable elsewhere, you would do well to consolidate with someone like MSCO.
No one has all the answers. In fact the smartest among us often have more questions than answers. But to answer “What does a marketing firm do?” first ask yourself what you need it to do. We’ll take it from there.