Vetting Marketing Companies

Feb 11, 2013

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It’s SUPER Hard

There is so much talk about social media, SEO, online marketing, branding etc. It has been a crazy online marketing world since early 2012 with major social media changes and major search engine changes. You have likely wondered how to navigate this space and have had a difficult time deciding who to listen to, believe and do business with.

This post and corresponding whitepaper are designed to help you learn how to vet marketing companies.

Everyone Says the Same Thing!

Chances are, in your local community there are a host of marketing companies that all say the same thing. If you haven’t experienced this, give it a try. Go to Chamber, BNI or other local networking events and listen to what marketing companies are saying. “We do marketing. We do websites. We do graphic design. Our designers are the best in the area.”

Vetting marketing companies is truly difficult when platitudinous statements dot the landscape. For most small businesses, sorting through this maze of platitudes is an insurmountable obstacle that results in confusion. Confused people do nothing and that means more small businesses with disjointed, in-congruent, weak marketing.

12 Steps to Vetting Success

  1. Age & Size – How long have you been in business? Sounds cliche but over 80% of businesses fail within the first 5 years and even more fail 5 years after that. Find out how stable the company is by asking how big they are, how old they are, and if you are really daring what their gross revenues are.
  2. Growth Rate – Ask about % growth rate over the last 3 years. What is the trajectory that this business is on? Are they keeping up with industry trends and staying ahead of the curve?
  3. Offices and Locations – How many offices? Are they actual commercial office buildings or do they work out of someone’s house, garage or basement?
  4. Genetic Makeup – Ask about their human resources. How many on staff? How much experience do they have in the industry? How many in each type of skill set? More traditional than interactive personnel? Does the genetic makeup of the company match what you think you need (if you need PR, how many people are in the PR department and what do you know about those individuals)?
  5. In-House vs. Outsourced – How many full time W2 personnel do they have? This is a good indication of stability because full time W2 staff require consistent income and stability to support.
  6. The Leader – Have you met the leader? Do you TRUST him? What do others say about him in the community.
  7. Their Website & Materials – The principle that I like to call “Trust the Website”. The website of a company is usually the best indication of a company. If the website is shoddy, you should probably think twice.
  8. Their Rankings in Search – Search for things that you think the company should show up for in Google. This is not a sure fire way to vet, partially because you don’t know what exact keywords that the company may be targeting. You can always ask though and see how well they do. This isn’t just for SEO companies. Google is a great measurement for authority in general.
  9. Portfolio and Case Studies – Let the work speak for itself.
  10. Intellectual Property – Proprietary processes, procedures, brands, books, copyrights, trademarks, published materials etc.
  11. Social Proof & Third Parties – The BBB, Rip Off Report and others are a great easy place to find out who has trouble making customers happy. Your friends, community and others can help you in finding out how well the company delivers on their promises.
  12. Your Gut – Does your gut tell you that this business is a solid, honest and trustworthy company?

whitepaper 2 Marketing Whitepapers

A Tool For You

Please download this whitepaper on how to vet marketing companies. It will help you work through the most important part of vetting, which is choosing the marketing provider that is the RIGHT FIT for your business regardless of pricing.

This editable PDF allows you to rate marketing providers on these key indicators and total their scores.

Once you have went through the exercise this tool is designed to take you through, you should then consider bids, proposals and pricing.

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