Hiring a Marketing Expert Vs Doing It Yourself

Marketing is a complex field that includes different strategies designed to improve visibility, establish a brand presence, engage prospective customers, and earn more revenue as a result. Business owners need to invest time and money into marketing if they want to stay ahead of the game and stand apart from the competition. A good marketing strategy can help businesses grow and enjoy more success.

However, many small business owners hesitate to hire professional marketers to handle their marketing campaign. It could be lack of trust, no budgetary means for it, or that they feel it’s a manageable task. In the end, they struggle to share responsibilities and delegate tasks while they run a business; which means they don’t outsource marketing and rely on inexperienced in-house employees to plan and implement the strategies that they end up overseeing.

Why Hiring a Marketing Expert can Help

Modern marketing is an expansive field, and it includes everything from digital marketing online to traditional offline marketing. Business owners rarely have enough time to learn different marketing techniques and understand how to implement them well on their platforms. All kinds of businesses, especially small companies, can benefit from professional assistance. Here are some reasons why hiring a professional is a good idea:

1. To Navigate the Complexities of Modern Marketing Strategies

Modern marketing strategies involve a wide range of techniques, tools, skills, and platforms, which is why people work in teams to implement it. The digital marketing team includes professionals with different skills and qualifications who handle different tasks. These strategies are just too complex for a single person to manage, even if they’re qualified in the field. Even the simplest marketing strategy requires steps like:

Establishing Your Audience
Branding the Service for the Audience
Graphic Design & Collateral Creation
Creating a Website that Sells
Making the Website SEO Friendly
Promoting the Website
Creating Social Media Profiles
Establishing Brand Presence
Generating Content
Creating Ads for Paid Platforms
Managing Ad Spend
Managing Authoritative Links to the Website
All of these things require different skills and most business owners have to invest time to learn these skills if they want to handle marketing without professional assistance.
2. To Create Content that Establishes Industry Authority

Content is an important aspect of modern marketing strategies because it helps establish authority in the industry, engages with customers, distributes information regarding products and services, and include keywords to catch the attention of search engines. The Internet is saturated with content, so users are very selective about what they read. It’s not enough to just create generic content and include relevant keywords in the text. The content should provide the target audience with significant value.

Content should be well-written with sound grammar and spelling.
All the information should be current and relevant to the keywords included in the text.
The content should be in long-form and range from 1,000 to 2,000 words. The average word count of the web pages search on the first search engine results page is 1,890.
The keywords used should be specific, and the content should include long-tail phrases.
All information should be well-researched and as accurate as possible.
The primary purpose of content marketing is to attract organic traffic to the website and to ensure that users stay long enough to become interested in the products and services offered. The secondary purpose of content marketing is to establish authority and win the trust of the visitors.
Skilled and experienced content marketing experts know just how to generate the right kind of content for their target audience. This job requires skills, training and deep knowledge on the nitty-gritty of writing for online audiences. It’s something most individual business owners aren’t able to manage.

3. To Develop Creative and Interactive Resources

Content marketing doesn’t just involve text though it is one of the most commonly used formats in modern marketing. Text content is easy to create, and business owners can develop good articles and blog posts if they put in some time and effort. However, experienced marketers know content marketing must be diverse and approach the target audience from different directions. A sound content marketing strategy will include:

Videos and tutorials
Podcasts and live streams
Infographics and animations
White papers and research papers relevant to the industry
These types of content require different skills and software, and a business owner doesn’t usually have access to them. In comparison, professional marketers have all the tools and knowledge required to create visual and text content and can handle it with a marketing strategy in mind.
4. To Deliver your Brand Socially

Social media is a great platform for small businesses because it allows them to reach out and connect with their target audience. They can engage with their audience regularly, establish a personal relationship, hear customer concerns, complaints, and provide resolutions promptly; this helps ensure customers remain interested in the brand.

However, social media is a double-edged sword if it’s not handled properly. Even the smallest mistakes can compromise the reputation of the company and alienate the target audience. Experienced social media professionals know how to navigate these platforms well and will:

Understand different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and develop unique strategies to engage audiences on every platform.
Explore the paid ads, promoted content, and other such paid marketing options available on these platforms and use them to the best advantage.
Monitor engagements and interactions between the business and target audience to understand customer preferences.
Handle complaints, questions, and requests from customers on the social media platforms.
Build and maintain a good reputation on these platforms and establish authority through content.
Professional marketers will use sophisticated social media management tools to keep track of all this activity and ensure nothing goes wrong. Managing social media requires time and commitment, but it can be very rewarding. Social media marketers are very savvy on these platforms and know how to engage the audience efficiently.
Many small business owners struggle with this aspect of marketing and have neither the time nor knowledge to keep track of their social media accounts. The time to update, post content, respond, and then interact with their audiences just isn’t there.

5. To Develop your Brand and Website Concepts

A marketing campaign will fail if the business doesn’t have a well-designed website and a carefully crafted brand presence. A website is the foundation of all marketing campaigns and needs to provide a good user experience to visitors, regardless of the platform they approach it from.

The website should be easy to navigate, mobile-friendly, SEO-friendly, quick to load on all platforms, aesthetically pleasing, and informative. It should be designed in accordance with the branding to ensure it conveys the right message to the target audience. Experienced website developers and marketers will consider the factors mentioned below when they create a platform and branding:

Target audiences and their preferences
Type of products and services provided
Competitors and the industry in general
The company’s ethics, goals, and message
The location of the company
All of these factors are considered in the website design and branding process to ensure the online presence is unique and appealing to the target audience. While business owners know their industry, product and target market well, they don’t have the skills and knowledge on how to position themselves best when it comes to branding. A haphazard approach or unplanned branding strategy can have a long-term impact on the success of the venture.
6. To Research and Analyze Your Engagement Campaigns

Modern marketing strategies are fluid and dynamic. They need to change and evolve in response to the changing market conditions, search engine regulations, target audience preferences, and other such influential factors.

A marketing campaign that’s successful today might not be as successful six months down the line, which is why experienced marketers always keep an eye on the campaigns through analytics and research latest marketing trends regularly. Here are some of the many analytic reports professional marketers browse through regularly:

The analytic reports containing website activity like a number of visitors (repeat and unique), duration of the visit, bounce rates, most popular pages, etc. This information will help them improve the overall quality of the website.
Analysis of paid ad campaign performance on search engines, social media platforms, and even off-line strategies like direct mail marketing. They keep an eye on the performance of the paid ad campaigns and determine if the ads provide sufficient ROI.
Analysis of organic social media interaction. This often includes impressions, opened posts, comments, likes/dislikes, shares, etc. Experienced social media marketers will study these reports and alter their social media strategy accordingly.

Develop A Marketing And Marketing Communications Strategy And Plan For Small Or Midsized Companies

Planning for the year ahead is never an easy task. Lack of resources (people, time, budget), keeping up to date on what’s going on in your market, obtaining quality leads and improving brand awareness and reputation have become increasingly difficult for all organizations – for profit companies as well as nonprofits. This has become especially true among US CEO’s who are concerned with not just domestic but also international uncertainties.

Developing A Marketing And Marketing Communications Strategy Is Critical

This should be your priority. Without a strategy for a plan there are way too many opportunities to get off track and chew up your investment. Your ROI will suffer. Consider the following to focus your efforts when developing your strategy and plan:

1. Determining, understanding and verifying your target customers and prospects should be at the top of your agenda. To improve profitability and ROI you must know what your audience wants and needs, how they perceive your brand and how it stands up to competition.

Be sure to avoid industry and company “myths” and internal “opinions”. Employ primary and secondary research to understand your audience. With so much information available about companies and brands, it is truly the Age Of The Consumer and will be for a very long time.

2. Additionally, as part of your knowledge of your audience, determine the size and scope of various sub-segments that exist today and will tomorrow. For example, does your audience include women, or Asians, or Hispanics? If so, look at the dramatic growth of these segments of the populations and determine if your brand needs to pay particular attention to them.

Also, recognize that millennials (23% of the US population) are not a homogenous group. At the younger end (20 – 28 years), 40 percent t are currently living rent free with family, while at the older end (29 – 35 years), 43 percent have already purchased a home. With that in mind, how should your strategy differ if you’re targeting adults 55 years and older (21% of US population)?

3. Once you clearly understand your audience, develop your unique brand position. To do this, create a brand positioning statement. The statement is a succinct description of the core target audience to whom the brand is directed and a compelling picture of how you want your audience to view the brand. Sound simple? Take a few minutes and try to answer the four components of your positioning:

· The target audience, in very specific detail

· The category in which you complete and its relevance to customers

· The brand’s benefit and point of difference

· A reason for the customer to believe – the most compelling proof

All marketing and marketing communications should flow from this positioning, and it should be fully understood and embraced by all employees, sales reps, partners and management.

4. Improving brand awareness is very important but only the first step. You also need to create great customer experiences with each touch point of your brand. And that means creating brand advocacy at all levels of contact. Develop brand champions at every level of purchase and repurchase to improve ROI.

Be sure these influencers completely understand, believe and can articulate your brand premise. And provide them with the training and tools to convey their trust-worthiness in a believable manner.

Developing A Focused Marketing And Marketing Communications Plan And Budget

After the hard work of developing a meaningful strategy, recognize it’s equally important to develop a specific plan and budget. The following should be taken into consideration:

1. You must be media neutral and open minded in developing your plan and budget. It is extremely important to understand the difference between “efficiency” and “effectiveness”, and not get caught up with the latest trendy new tactic.

Regardless of the specific marketing tactic, or type of digital or traditional media, you’re evaluating, keep in mind that cost efficiency does not necessarily lead to effective results. Also, and most importantly, the best source of marketing communications leverage is the quality of the message, not the marketing tactic.

2. The scope and diversity of marketing and marketing communications tactics has grown faster than the ability to measure some of them. Marketers now are actually spending money without knowing how it impacts their profitability and ROI! Consider the variety of ways in which nearly $450 billion is expected to be spent in the US in 2018:

· Sales promotion ($83 billion), telemarketing ($60 billion), direct mail (($46 billion) and events ($40 billion) highlight projected 2018 US Marketing Services expenditures;

· The internet ($78 billion), television ($68 billion) and the combination of radio, newspapers and magazines ($47 billion) are projected to be at the top of the 2018 US Major Media spending categories.

Source: Zenith Total US Spending

And while it may surprise you, 90 percent of consumers (and 94 percent of millennials) still use coupons. The coupons come from a variety of on-line and traditional mediums, but mail is most popular. Why do marketers still use coupons? The simple answer is because they’re effective in guiding purchase. In developing your own plan and budget, determine and recognize the effectiveness of all marketing tactics, not just their efficiency.

ROI Focused Marketing And Marketing Communications Consultants

If you’re like most small and midsized companies, you and your team may not have the expertise or time to develop an ROI focused marketing and marketing communications strategy, plan or budget.

Even major global brands are seeking outside advisors. In my May article, I discussed the dramatic growth of management and accounting consulting practices (33% increase in US revenue) at the expense of traditional global advertising agencies (0.3% increase in US revenue). One reason for this 2017 growth of consultants is their focus – not on trends or what’s in the news – but on marketing and marketing communications effectiveness, profitably and ROI.

While you may not be able to afford the large global consultants, you should consider hiring a marketing and/or marketing communications consultant. The type of people you should hire should:

· Have a focus on ROI, with significant experience across industries, b2b and b2c brands, both large and small, as well as for profit and nonprofit organizations

· Be media neutral, apolitical, down to earth, be willing to be part of a team and “tell it like it is” so candor will flourish

· Have flexibility to bring in other professional specialists when and as needed so that overhead isn’t an ongoing expense

· Have strong convictions to measure what has been done and measure what will be done to improve ROI, perhaps including a marketing communications audit

In today’s challenging environment, a greater focus on strategy, planning and budgeting can go a long way toward leapfrogging competition and improving brand profitability. And the fresh eyes of a consultant can go a long way to building a meaningful future for your brand.

Driving Online Sales Through Offline Marketing – A Lesson From Google

Last week we received a direct mailer in the post from – of all people – Google. It was the third time they’d written to us in the space of six months. The mailer consisted of a glossy and substantial gate-fold with the headline ‘Boost your AdWords profits in under an hour a week’. But why send it? Surely if anyone is in a position to profitably shun direct marketing, it would have to be Google, or so you would think. Not only do they dominate the search engines, they actually own the means of dissemination – it doesn’t cost them a penny to position their own marketing messages at the top of every Google search on the web. And, besides, why didn’t they just send an email? They have our details. Why send a relatively expensive mailer?

Because direct marketing works…

As you would expect, the marketing boffins at Google have done their research – sending their AdWords customers a piece of hard copy information in the post acts as a tangible complement to their online marketing efforts. This is something that people are able to keep, put in their in-trays, read during a coffee break, pass around the office and, most importantly, act upon.

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, more and more web-focused businesses are integrating both digital and direct to communicate with their customers and prospects. For evidence of this shift, just take a moment each day to monitor what turns up in your mail box.

Nor is direct marketing a static discipline. Breakthroughs in data processing and print technology have enabled direct mail to move away from broad-based mass mailings to smaller niche targeted campaigns, with highly personalised content – reflecting in its own way the one-to-one intimacy of the online social and business networks.

Importantly, targeting prospects by promoting your URL offline is proven to be a highly effective means of driving traffic directly to your website. An additional advantage of this approach is that there is far less chance of your prospects being distracted along the way by search results from competitor advertisers – not to mention reduced overheads on pay-per-click bidding and SEO wars.

While digital marketing is indisputably a powerful and essential element of the mix, it will never be a substitute for direct marketing, but it is a worthy partner. Just ask Google.