Hiring a Marketing Company? If They Can’t or Won’t Tell You a Measurable Result… RUN!

Have any of you hired a marketing firm and are still waiting for the results…maybe even months later? You should be seeing results right away or you’ve gone to the wrong place.Direct marketing produces right away. Branding takes longer…a lot longer. Learn to tell the difference.One of the things I keep telling my business clients is that you don’t do anything that you can’t measure. So, before we ever decide to do any step, marketing, sales, production, we must have a measurable target. Then when we start seeing results, we measure the results, and compare that to our target. If we are below target we tweak, adjust, optimize to get it up where we thought it should be, and, in most cases, we can get there quickly…probably in a week or two. Over time we are still looking for the opportunities to make that number better. Significant improvements usually come along because we are looking at the numbers.I heard an interesting statistic the other day. You are 7 times more likely to achieve your goals if you have
A measurable target,

An action plan to get there,

Are monitoring the results, and continually optimizing.
That’s a rather impressive number . . . 7 times more likely if you have a measurable target.Do you have measurable goals, track your results, and act on what you find?I’d like to tell you a story about an experience of mine.Last year I was traveling to the Middle East a lot, the oil companies are some of my clients. Because of the amount of travel, 1-2 weeks a month, I found that I was letting some of my marketing results slip. I was just not around to do it myself any longer. When I’d get back my marketing would be behind, and so were the number of new customers coming through the door. I’d have to work to get the client flow starting again, and suddenly I’d be on my way out of the country with the cycle starting all over again. This resulted in a see-saw of clients and productivity. Something I tell my clients how to avoid, I emphasize that they focus equally on a balance of incoming leads, sales closes, and production completion. But here I was letting things slip myself.I decided that it was time for me to hire a marketing company to do it for me when I’m gone so I’d come back to a steady flow of new clients. I turned to a local well known marketing company who works with some of the largest companies around. The first thing I asked them was, “What is your average direct mail campaign response rate?”I don’t do anything without having a target. My own direct mail campaigns typically run in the 5% area. I know that for every 1,000 pieces of direct mail I send out I’ll have around 50-60 calls. So, I wanted to know how well this “expert” company was doing before hiring them. Their answer was, “Oh, every company we work for is different. We can’t measure that kind of thing.”CAN’T MEASURE! That is what I teach my clients to do, and this expert marketing company doesn’t measure!!!!At first I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I asked them to let me talk to 5 of their clients.And I was absolutely amazed. Every last one of their clients had exactly the same answer.
“Gee, I don’t know how many new customers I’ve gotten from their campaigns.”

I wouldn’t take a non-answer for an answer so I asked if they had seen ANY increase in business of any kind. When forced, they answered, “No, I don’t think so. Not yet anyway.” And these companies had used the marketing firm for 6 months to 2 years. That was certainly long enough to see a result, but they hadn’t.

Every last one said: the marketing company is doing a “brand awareness” campaign for them and that it would take about 2 years. They didn’t expect to see any real progress for at least 2 years.
2 YEARS! And at about $15,000 a month. Boy did that marketing company sell them a bill of goods.That is one of the main differences between direct marketing and brand awareness marketing. Direct marketing is a direct contact with the customer with direct and immediate measurable response. Where branding is sort of like saying here I am and some day you’ll recognize I’m standing over here.Branding works for companies like McDonald’s, Coke, Nike, etc. When I want a sandwich and see the arches I tool right in there. I know what I’ll get.However, for most small businesses, you can’t wait 2 years for the results. Branding alone isn’t going to get it.Direct marketing will produce a measurable result next week. I’ll know that I got 0.5% or 5% out of every 1,000 pieces of direct mail or other direct marketing. If it’s below 5% I’ll tweak it and watch the response go up the next time and the next time. I can continually get better and better.Branding can still happen as an afterthought of direct marketing. But I intend to see a result on the first mailing, probably next week. And, yes, over time the response rate will get better and better as I build brand awareness. The difference is that direct marketing is driving for a specific measurable result on each campaign. It’s asking for an immediate action…Come to my seminar…Sign up here.Branding alone is just saying “Hi. Don’t you see me. I’m great.”I continually measure not only my own results, but those of my suppliers and, as a result, I get better all of the time. If I’m not watching the numbers I can’t get better. I’ll continue to get what I’ve always gotten.Let me ask you an important question.Do you think the marketing company I mentioned doesn’t know what its sales figures are? They do. Yet, they don’t know what results they deliver to their customers.What does that tell you? It tells me they are more interested in tracking their sales figures and improving those than they are in tracking the results they provide to a customer and getting better at that. They are interested in improving their sales but not mine.So, the next time you place an ad anywhere, or hire a marketing company, ask them what their typical response rates are. If they can’t, or won’t tell you, go somewhere else, you are in the wrong place.And what I’ve discovered is that most won’t commit to a specific deliverable number. When you find one that will, grab them. They are gold.

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