Are You Too Close To Your Marketing?
Asking questions like these is the only way to take your organization and your career to the next level. However, even when we do find the time to ask the questions, we all too often look at the situation in the same way we did last quarter or year. And, since the plan was ours to begin with, one could question our objectivity.
That’s where an outside marketing consultant can help. Even if you just hire someone to come in and do a review of your current strategy, a pair of fresh eyes and a brain with fresh ideas can provide a tremendous boost. You don’t have to implement every suggestion, but the chances are good that they will have several that are no-brainers.
Choosing the right consultant is important. For a proper marketing review, you need a generalist and not a specialist. For example, you can’t expect a consultant in social media to review your entire marketing mix. Ideally, you also want to find someone who has spent time in industry – preferably the same industry as yours. No long list of degrees or certifications can replace personal experience with tackling the same problems and opportunities that you are facing.
If you can’t find the right consultant for a proper review, there are ways to get this marketing boost in-house as well.
First, make sure that you have a fresh influx of ideas by attending conferences on marketing. If you’re like me, you’ll have a whole notebook of new ideas by the time the conference is over. Then it’s just a matter of deciding which ones will have the greatest impact on my organization.
In addition to attending conferences, look for webcasts and podcasts on marketing. For a very reasonable annual fee, MarketingProfs offers a huge variety of free materials on marketing from some of the best names in the business. I can find an answer to almost any marketing problem I face in their resources.
Finally, instead of holding the annual postmortem as an hour or day long meeting, pretend you are your own marketing consultant. Interview others in your organization – your own team, salespeople, executives, your marketing vendors and, most of all, customers and prospects. (You may not want to tell everybody that you are pretending to be a consultant.)
After gathering input, and giving the situation careful thought, what recommendations would you make to your “client?” Write up your report as though you were being paid to consult and this can become the basis for a new marketing plan. Chances are good that there are some things that you’ll stop doing in addition to the new initiatives that you add.
This exercise can be fun and reinvigorating. Best of all, doing this at least once a year is sure to improve your marketing.