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Find a firm that fits

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While vetting a consultant, consider these points.

Kristen Hampshire | January 19, 2012

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits all marketing plan. The answer to your advertising problems is not to just build a new website or to begin Tweeting every hour, on the hour. Before revving up to blast out e-newsletters, a consulting firm should take the time to understand what makes your business tick.

Marketing is personal, after all.

But with the unlimited webinars and seminars designed to steer you into social media, or pay-per-click advertising or the marketing buzz of the minute, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

“Businesses today are inundated with new opportunities,” says Christian Klein, president of Company 119, an Internet marketing strategy firm in Cleveland, Ohio. But what you really want to know is how many customers will call you if you add X, Y or Z to your marketing plan.

“Businesses throw money at a new website and then the phone doesn’t ring and they don’t understand why,” Klein says.

The marketing plan should be aligned with a company’s sales goals. And a consulting firm should understand exactly what those goals are before making any recommendations.

Klein offers these pointers for vetting a consulting firm so you can be sure you’re partnering with a pro that is focused on your best interests.

Talk numbers. What new sales do you want to achieve, and what are your current sales? Ask the firm how they can help you accomplish that number, because ultimately a marketing program should drive business.

Introduce clients. Who are your customers? Be sure the firm fully understands your target market.

Share your past. What marketing efforts have worked before? What failed? How much website traffic do you draw (and are you measuring this)? “Talk to the firm about what your online brand is now – is it a positive one?” Klein says.

Trust your gut. Bill Dysert, president of design/build company Exscape Designs, Chardon, Ohio, felt confident that Company 119 was on board with his goals after the firm performed a thorough discovery and analysis of Exscape’s existing marketing tools and opportunities. “They came back with ideas to improve (our strategy) and let us make the decision based on what fit our budget,” Dysert says.

 

This is one of three stories that ran in Lawn & Landscape's Business Builder e-newsletter. To continue reading about Exscape Designs:

Great Exscape: A robust marketing strategy is driving business forward for this Ohio design/build firm.

Leading edge: Exscape Designs grows business and leaders through community connections.

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