These days, as a business owner or manager, you have many options when it comes to marketing. You can do your marketing yourself, find a crowd-sourcing company online, go with a freelancer or hire an advertising or marketing agency to help you with your growing brand. Here are a few things to consider when making this decision.
First things first – determine your marketing budget. As a rule of thumb, it is common to spend 5-10% of your revenue on marketing and branding, depending on the type of industry you are in.
If your yearly marketing budget is less than $15,000 – $25,000, you generally would not be considering hiring a marketing agency but would look into other options like hiring a marketing consultant who could help you with a strategy and would, perhaps teach you what type of marketing you could do yourself, as you are ramping up your sales.
Here’s the truth – you are the best marketer for your business – identify your budget, your priorities and dedicate at least 6 months to a marketing plan that is strictly aligned with your business goals.
Sales vs Marketing
Are you looking for immediate sales or are you thinking long-term, the bigger picture of growing your brand? If the answer is sales, then you are probably already considering hiring a sales agent first (or doing sales yourself – recommended 😉 before you start thinking marketing. If you are in a start-up phase with very little sales generated yet, and if you are not a tech company that relies on investors for funding, then sales will be your primary focus in the first couple of years (not marketing).
One of the most common mistakes small business owners make in the first few years of being in business is relying 100% on marketing to generate sales. While, yes, generating sales is our primary goal in marketing, and for some businesses with a short sales cycle, marketing (AdWords in particular) could be a great way to quickly generate leads and turn them into clients. But if your business implies a longer sales cycle and a certain level of customer education on your (new) product or services then taking the hard road of knocking on people’s doors, making cold calls and focusing on direct sales will be a better way of spending your “marketing budget” at this point.
That being said, if you already have steady leads coming in, and you want to make sure your conversion rate is higher or you speak to the right customer, so your sales cycle is shorter, that’s when marketing steps in. Cleaning up your sales materials and your overall marketing narrative will provide a consistent brand experience to your customers and a more pleasant sales process to you, as you will be speaking to the right person, who gets you and who wants to do business with you.
This is the next level, so to speak. You have the budget, you have sales rolling in, and you know who your customers are. You’ve been in business for a while and things are good. While business is growing, you also know that you can’t just sit back and relax, you need to constantly grow and evolve your brand, to ensure your customers enjoy the best service from you. Hiring a marketing agency at this point is the best thing you can do for your brand. Taking your brand’s message to another level with a consistent, polished delivery will send a strong signal to your customers that you care. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what makes your brand unique? If so, we’d love to chat! Give us a call or stop by at our marketing agency in Vancouver – we always have chocolate.