How can it be that marketers – people who specialize in creating positive images – have such an image problem?
In my career, I have met a lot of marketing professionals. Hundreds? Thousands? And, on the whole, they're ok. Just folks trying to make a living.
But we also have more than our fair share of wanna-bes.
Spotting B2B marketing wanna-bes
Wanna-bes are difficult to spot until it is too late. They have great business cards, LinkedIn profiles, and brochures. But hook up with a chronic underperformer, and they can run your business into the ground.
The impact of chronic underperformance by a marketing consultant goes beyond the tens of thousands of dollars in wasted advertising, lost sales, and missed opportunities. It can also lead to lost customers, lost partners, a lower barrier to entry for competitors, and even PR crises for the organization -- not to mention a career crisis for the executive who picked the underperformer.
That's a dealbreaker!
Dealbreakers come in many shapes and sizes. Here are a couple to look out for -- I'll expand on these in future articles.
If your marketing consultant...
- Does cookie-cutter marketing, where every campaign is a variation on the same theme... that's a dealbreaker
- Has a "command-and-control" mentality, where the agency tries to tell the client what to do without listening to their needs... that's a dealbreaker
- Over-sells, meaning the agency is all bling and no cha-ching... that's the ultimate dealbreaker
This last bunch is especially irritating. They make lots of noise about design awards and awareness campaigns but say "it's just so hard to know" when prospects ask, "what did it produce?"
It is true, of course, that it is hard to know what marketing produced -- IF the marketer doesn't do closed-loop marketing. That's the sort where results from each effort are fed back into planning cycles. Indeed, deciding about future marketing efforts without a clear view of what's worked amounts to guessing. And guessing on the client's dime is not ok. It's... a dealbreaker!
More to come. Meantime, here are some related articles: