This is a question that I get asked a lot and to try and come up with a simple answer is often difficult. The best way that I can describe the role of a marketing company is to say that it is a business that helps other businesses to grow.
Having worked on many marketing projects for a very diverse range of clients over the past 18 years I have come across a lot of very good and very ordinary marketing consultants. A good marketing consultant (or marketing company) will have a balanced mix of technical know how and practical experience. They will know a region inside out and they will have the experience to know what will work for a particular business and what will not. They will market the business as if it was their own and they will have a proven track record of businesses that they have helped to grow.
Some of the main ways that a good marketing company can help a business to grow includes:
This involves determining exactly where a business wants to be in a say 3-5 years and developing a strategy that will help the business to get there. Marketing strategies need to be tailor made for each individual business simply because every business is different. A marketing strategy should be a simple document, produced in a manner that will enable the business owners or manager to implement the recommendations themselves if they choose.
From my own experience, a good marketing strategy encompasses a wide range of subjects included identifying a business’ current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It makes recommendations on the business’ promotional material, advertising, corporate image, public relations activity, internet strategy and levels of customer service.
Many businesses find themselves in financial trouble due to a lack of customers. One prime example of this is retail – we have more shops now than ever before and there are more on the way. A marketing company can identify why a business is losing its share of customers and make recommendations to correct the problem.
Understanding marketing, advertising, public relations and the media is a difficult task. They are specialized industries that all business owners need to know a little about. I have found that in recent years more businesses are looking for specialist training in these areas so that they can take more control of the future growth of their business.
Because of this, experienced marketing consultants are sought after to pass on some of their skills and knowledge.
Many businesses look for marketing companies to assist them in the growth of their business in an ongoing capacity. The marketing company may develop a strategic marketing plan and then work with the business to implement the plan over a period of time. In my business we have many clients that we have been working with for years in the capacity of a marketing mentor.
More and more businesses are using the services of a marketing company to help their businesses to grow. The costs associated with using this service is normally far outweighed by the results achieved and if the marketing company is any good, it will be the beginning of a long and beneficial relationship for both parties.
You can expect to pay somewhere between $100-$600 per hour depending on the location, business size and the number of tasks being performed. A good formula for most businesses looking for optimum growth is 7-9% of their gross operating costs.