Is marketing an expense or an investment? And why has selling marketing services become so hard to do?
One reason is the glut of new marketing companies that seem to spring up every quarter. As technology becomes both more powerful and more portable, and as more online companies provide payroll services, business suite software, and creative services software, any freshly graduated entrepreneur can start a full-fledged business with a handful of laptops and smartphones. Marketing can seem like a wide-open field.
Another reason marketers run into problems closing clients is the fear of wasting money. A prospective client may not have worked with marketing in the past; that’s the prospect you’ll lose when you present a sample budget for an initial campaign and all of the creative assets. If the prospect’s first reaction is sticker shock, you’ll have to do some scrambling to win them back.
But the biggest reason selling marketing services is trickier than ever is that, before you sell your services to a client, you have to sell the idea of marketing. And before you start making claims about potential ROI, you have to make sure that your prospect understands what successful marketing looks like.
So instead of sketching out a year-long campaign that includes revisiting the brand identity, creating new positioning, updating logos and web pages, and deploying videos, eblasts, and blog postings, start small.
Let’s say your prospective client manufactures shoes. That prospect has a BOGO sale in four weeks. The same sale in the previous year had disappointing results. Your primary goal is to alert shoppers, but the important secondary goal is to encourage retailers to stock and display your prospect’s products during the sale.
Your proposal: Let’s just dip a toe in the water. We’ll promote this one sale for X number of dollars, using social media and eblasts. After the sale, let’s compare our marketing costs with your sale profits. We’re confident that you’ll see a marked improvement in ROI from last year.
Not surprisingly, this approach only works if the marketing firm is good at what they do: in this case, persuading people to buy a certain brand of shoe during one specific sale. But if the firm is capable and has planned correctly, an uptick in ROI is almost inevitable. Anything more than that is gravy.
These sales results should give your prospect hard evidence that investing in marketing solutions will indeed raise revenues and that the larger the investment, the higher the eventual ROI will be.
Is this strategy risky? Of course. But showing that marketers can be aggressive isn’t a bad thing to do. It’s much more sensible than the marketing pitches that never mention exactly which marketing solutions, what goals, and what costs would be involved.
One thing a savvy prospect would look for is an agency’s resources and capabilities. Do they have all the latest digital whiz-bangs? Sure. How about traditional advertising capabilities, like out-of-home and promo items? Probably not.
That’s where the long-established marketing firms like MediaMark Spotlight come in. They possess all the digital marketing tools and talents needed to create websites, apps, animated eblasts—basically, everything digital, and all created in-house. But the MediaMark Spotlight team also uses traditional advertising standbys like television, radio, print and billboards when appropriate. It’s this comprehensive approach to today’s marketing opportunities that gives MediaMark Spotlight the edge over pop-up marketers with limited histories.
Yes, marketing is an investment, not an expense. And your ROI on your marketing costs will always be higher with a full-service and fully-experienced marketing firm on your team.