I had an interesting call today with a prospective client who is working on a project, and what she really wanted to know was what access I had to special marketing options that she can’t access herself.
And being honest, I said beyond experience and skill, pretty much everything I (or any other marketing professional) has access to, anyone has access to. That’s the brilliance with so many options being available online nowadays – you don’t have to be a special person or in a special “club” to gain access.
Believe me, in the past and even now I’ve had people tell me I should lie and tell a prospect something else, just to get their business. I think being upfront and telling a prospect what I can and cannot do sets the stage for a better long-term relationship. Even if someone doesn’t become a client today, they will remember that I tell them things they way they really are, and hopefully remember that for their next project.
I also told her that if someone is telling you they have special access to some special magic pill that she can’t access, that’s probably not the case. I do pay subscriptions or membership fees or similar for some specific options I use, but none of it is anything that anyone off the street can’t access themselves if they’re willing to pay those same fees.
What you’re choosing, when you use the services of a marketing agency like ours, is part convenience and part expertise. You’re gaining a marketing degree without having to take the classes or pay the tuition. You’re gaining 30 years of marketing experience without having to spend the time.
It’s not much different than the job you’re doing right now. Could someone else do that job? Definitely (unless you’re the only person in the world with your job, and if you are I want to talk – just because I’m interested!) If I started doing your job today, what would make you different than me?
And the expertise that comes with it.
Marketing convenience comes from the fact that you don’t have to take the time to sit down and figure out what you should do, or even just the basics of how to make that marketing plan work. You don’t have to spend the years learning which words in your copy resonate best with a particular demographic, or what colors in a graphic design have certain psychological impacts and make sure you’re choosing the color that conveys the message you want. You don’t have to wonder what type of ad works best in a certain situation. You don’t have to research whether a billboard, a radio or television spot, email marketing, or social media marketing will cost less and be most effective for a particular type of situation.
Marketing expertise comes from the training and years that have been put into learning everything possible about the world of marketing. You don’t have to go through those hours of research and working through setting up a particular marketing plan, only to find out after it’s completed that it didn’t receive anywhere near the results you were hoping for. You don’t have to wait until after the fact to find out that there was an easy and convenient way you could have tied something extra into your marketing plan that would have been efficient and highly effective.
What type of special marketing do I have access to?
Adobe Creative Cloud. I use the subscription-based service so that my software is always up-to-date. You have access to this exact same software. The piece I have access to that you probably do not is 30 years of experience with these programs (that can have a large learning curve). I also have training and schooling on the psychology of graphic design, typography, color, and more, plus more than 30 years experience as a fine artist. So do I have access to anything special that you do not? Experience and skill.
Facebook and Google ads. And of course you do as well. You may not have as much experience with A/B testing, or setting up custom audiences, or knowing how to combine keywords with images to get the best response – those types of things come from years of doing. You have access to everything I do except for perhaps experience and skill.
A special email list. I will tell you up front that I don’t subscribe to any special email lists, but I can. And you can. And it’s one of the least effective ways of advertising something if it’s the only one, or one of the few ways you need to choose, or you have a tight timeline. There can be a very few exceptions to that – such as if the email list is the local chamber of commerce and it’s a smaller community. But for the most part, I pass. I wasn’t even going to include this on the list because it’s most often NOT a marketing method I recommend, but it is something special that you could feasibly gain access to perform some marketing.
Online stuff. Like a website, a lead generation page, access to specialized websites that promote events, activities, or businesses. I have access to my favorite website tool – WordPress – for free, and so do you. I have membership or subscription with several such marketing methods, and those aren’t restricted to just me – you can have access too. Again, the main piece that’s special is experience knowing how to put everything together.
Media. I have just about as much access to someone in the media as you do. I have some more access to a few specific people who I know personally. You likely have more access to a few specific people you know personally. Even then, the story still has to be good. Do I have access to online sources that distribute your press releases for you? Yes … and so do you. Even so, the press release still has to be deemed “newsworthy” by an editor for your story to run.
My list could go on further and explore many of the different pieces of marketing I use on a regular basis, but you get the idea.
The online world has provided access to literally thousands and thousands of possibilities that almost anyone can now access to market their business. That’s a great thing.
What I have found is that this has only confused most people even more, and at times the services of a marketing agency are even more critical to help fit all of the various pieces of their marketing together.
I won’t suggest items that I know from experience don’t work.
I won’t recommending using options that you don’t need.
I won’t force you to get marketing you don’t need and when you don’t need it.
Did I talk myself out of a small piece of business today? Maybe.
This particular client likely doesn’t need the services of me or any other marketing professional if she’s willing to research some of the things she can do (which she is) and she’s willing to put in the time to set it up (which she is). I suggested strategies for her during our call (like I offer on almost every marketing strategy call I provide) and hope her event will be a resounding success even if she ends up doing all of the marketing herself.
I’m more interested in the relationship I can develop as a trusted marketing resource, because my experience has taught me what comes around goes around and those good vibes will pay back tenfold!
Here’s wishing you good vibes!
Have you ever been so upfront and honest with a client that they haven’t used your services? Tell me about it below!
Vicky is the CEO and Chief Creative Strategist of Vicky Wu Marketing. She draws from 30 years of experience at the CMO level, the CEO level, marketing for Fortune 500 companies and multi-million and multi-billion-dollar organizations, PLUS strategies learned helping startups and nonprofits with limited budgets … now focusing on providing SMBs with effective and efficient marketing strategies – giving them access to the same level of expertise as the really big guys with deep pockets, that they may not otherwise be able to access.