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Run If You Hear These 5 Marketing Statements

Mike Sweeney | July 15, 2009

In Tuesday’s 5 Marketing Misconceptions That Need to Change post, Will covered some of the misguided statements we hear from clients.  If I only had a nickel for every time we hear those types of statements….

In the spirit of fairness, I am determined to defend the marketers who make these types of statements.  Here’s what Will left out – often times these misguided comments originate from an agency, consultant or service provider that the company has put its trust in.  So let’s look for some warning signs.

If you hear your agency, consultant or service provider make any of these five statements, consider running.

1.) Hi, I’m Mike from XXX National Directory/Search/Ad Network Company, and I am a Marketing Consultant with the company.  I am here to help you build your marketing plan.

RUN! FAST! Nothing against these folks (really), but selling Yellow Pages or even a “boxed” pay-per-click solution does not make you a marketing consultant.  It makes you someone that is trying to sell Yellow Pages or a “boxed” pay-per-click solution.  There’s nothing wrong with selling.  God knows we all do it in some form or fashion, but please don’t try to mislead people by calling yourself a marketing consultant.

Clarification: If you are in fact interesting in purchasing what essentially amounts to an advertising package, by all means engage with these folks.  Just don’t expect to get any marketing strategy advice out of them.

2.) If you choose us for your SEO project, we can guarantee multiple top 10 rankings on your targeted keywords.

I thought these people had gone away, but it appears they’re back in full force.  And I can’t blame clients for listening.  When someone tells you they can guarantee results, it’s hard to ignore.

That being said, let’s all say this together:  SEO is not a quick fix, set it and forget it solution for driving traffic .  The best SEO strategies I’ve seen involve a long-term commitment to the creation of relevant content, building that content in multiple formats, and finding multiple distribution channels for that content.

I am guessing there are companies that make an SEO guarantee and do follow through on it.  I am also guessing that those guarantees are made on keywords like “patent attorneys that also handle divorce cases in reston virginia”.

3.) You really can’t afford to wait on addressing social media.  We should build out your presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter right away.

Stop.  Please.  We all realize that social media is important, even though it’s getting a bit crowded.  Like anything else though, you shouldn’t build anything if it doesn’t fit into a more strategic plan.

Some of these groups will bait you with the promise of thousands of Twitter followers, Facebook friends, or LinkedIn connections overnight.  Great.  Go ahead and recruit thousands of followers, all of whom could care less about your message.  They’re following you because they’re trolling for followers as well.  And the followers/friends/connections you do want?  You’ll turn them off quick with the hundreds of meaningless updates you’ll have to post to accumulate all the meaningless followers.

Build a social media strategy.  Make sure it ties back to your overall marketing strategy.  Then join, listen, learn, and eventually execute.  It’s that simple.

And one more thing, and I know this will be painful for some “social media gurus” to hear.  Social media is NOT a necessity, nor is it necessarily effective, for every business and business category.

4.) We know you think of us as a print design shop, but just last week we added capabilities in web design and development, search engine optimization, pay-per-click management, email marketing, social media…oh, and we can also handle your dry cleaning if necessary.

Wow, just last week huh?  So you must have hired an entire new team right? Nope.  Acquired a company that specializes in those areas?  Nope.  Formed a joint venture with a web marketing agency?  Not so much.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with trusting a marketing service provider that has done you right over the years and who is now claiming to offer new services.  Just make sure you probe a bit or execute a small trial project before diving in head first.

5.) You shouldn’t cut back on your marketing/advertising spend in a recession.  As a matter of fact, I was reading in Business Week (or insert another referenced publication) that the companies that spend MORE during a recession end up as the top brands years later.

So your client just laid off half his/her staff, notified remaining staff that salaries and bonus levels have been frozen for the time being, cancelled plans to open the new office in the commuter-friendly downtown location…and you’re going to bring the “increase your marketing spend” message?

Don’t get me wrong.  Increasing marketing spending may be right for certain companies; we’ve even seen a few of those up close and personal in the last few months.  But the first move – as an agency, consultant or service provider – should be to figure out how to spend your client’s marketing dollars more efficiently.

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