As a business owner or key stakeholder you’re constantly being approached by marketing service vendors offering their services and promoting the latest and greatest technology for you to get in front of your customer or acquire new ones. The magic black box is there to “fix” your problems and help you achieve your goals. Technology has always represented new opportunities for business and communication. Technology enables automation, scale and efficiency with the potential for reducing costs and overhead. It makes sense to embrace technology and change and yet you know your business best including current challenges, what’s working well and areas for growth.
As a business owner or key stakeholder you’re tasked with growing your revenue and profit to keep the lights on and live another day. If you’re a consumer brand, you’re attracting new customers into your tribe while still remaining connected to your existing customers. The same is true if you’re a restaurant, an event center, a financial institution, a real estate brokerage, a law firm or a retailer. With so many vendors approaching you, how do you decide if you should work any one vendor and then who you should work with?
Marketing and branding are not about the technology, instead they are about the right message, developing a relationship and connecting with your customer. The key factor is your strategy and how you leverage the technology to your advantage in a way that makes sense for your business and most importantly your customer. Sometimes it makes sense to do the work in-house, and other times it’s better to outsource. This is often dictated by, time, money and experience. A vendor can’t know if they can help you before they understand your business. Any relationship needs to start with an open and honest conversation on both sides.
Before taking on any new vendor take note of where your business is at. Here are a 10 questions to ask yourself before taking on a vendor or signing up for a marketing service.
- Do I have metrics to measure success? How am I currently measuring the business? How should I be measuring the business? Are the answers to those question aligned?
- Am I currently achieving or exceeding my goals and those of my business?
- What keeps me up at night?
- What’s currently working well?
- What is one key area I’d like to improve in my business over the next 3 to 6 month?
- What are three key areas I’d like to improve in my business over the next year?
- Are there features or services my customers are asking for that I am not providing?
- If I don’t address my challenges or expand into new opportunities, how will this affect my business?
- What product or service could help me meet my goals? or
- Do I have the talent and resources internally to make the change my business needs?
Choosing the right technology and marketing services provider for your business is an important decision for your business. Always have a plan, be honest with yourself and where you’re at and evaluate carefully.
Technology and marketing services can be a huge benefit to your business if they align with your goals. Marketing initiatives and specifically advertising amplify the current state of your business. If your business is running smoothly, then it likely will run smoothly at greater scale perhaps with some tweaks to your processes to handle the scale. Unfortunately, if things aren’t going well, then marketing will exacerbate areas you need to improve unless your strategy is in alignment with fixing your weaknesses.