How many times have you engaged a marketing services provider and spent good money, only to feel completely let down?

For most of us who own or lead businesses, this is an all too common complaint and negotiating through the sea of suppliers in the marketing industry can be a daunting task.

All we really want to understand is, “if I invest x-amount of dollars, will my return on investment be x-amount of dollars”? Whilst truly excellent marketing consultants will be able to give you an answer, most of the industry will not take such accountability. This unknown is truly stressful for SME’s.

Add the complexity of what “marketing” really means in this current day, and it is near impossible for someone seeking a marketing service to know what is needed. More specifically, it seems that every consultant you talk to suggests their method is the best, but ultimately, they are simply trying to make sales themselves, and in reality, we can’t really blame them.

Perhaps, if all marketing “professional service” providers were mandated to carry the level of professional accountability/ indemnity of accountants, lawyers, engineers, doctors, and almost every other professional service, things might be clearer, and there may be a higher level of accountability of services providers. But that is not what this article is about….

Alas, it is not all despair and you can take matters into your own hands, before spending a dime on marketing. Here are some ideas that will cost you nothing, yet are likely to be highly effective. Give these a go before considering spending a dime on engaging external marketing service providers.

For Marketing Professional Services and B2B Type Businesses:

  • Call around to your existing clients and ask how else you can serve them, and let them know you want their business.
  • Look at the top 50 contacts on your phone, it’s likely there are several potential clients. Give them a call and offer your service.
  • Lever off other companies. Consider complementary businesses with complementary offerings, who will refer you work to enhance their customer experience. Remember to give them referrals too.
  • Attend networking events and actively participate and focus on giving. Don’t just attend to sell, contribute by sharing your ideas and interacting with others.
  • Speak at events, conferences, and podcasts on your area of expertise.
  • Ask friends and family to post shout outs about your business and service offerings on their social media channels.
  • Post and share useful information on your social media channels.
  • Speak with your direct competitors and seek to collaborate. (Especially if you are smaller than them.) It’s likely they will have extra work that’s “too small” or they can’t deliver well, yet will still want to be able to service their customers, so will be happy to pass it on to you to do.
  • Ask for an opportunity, be honest that you want the work, and deliver well.
  • Give knowledge generously to your professional community.

For Products and B2C Type Businesses:

Along with the above suggestions, I would also encourage you to:

  • Look at network marketing platforms where you can add your product and lever off their existing database.
  • Look at propriety marketing platforms – i.e. Amazon.
  • Give knowledge generously to your professional community.

 It is most important to let go of the ego, and know that when you believe in your offering, calling on friends and your network for help is not a bad thing. I love helping out anyone giving it a go in business, and most will feel the same for you.

As a final note, if all of this isn’t for you and you’re ready to engage a marketing services provider/ consultant, ask yourself this: “Have they been able to achieve the marketing goals in their business, that I wish to achieve in mine”? If they have not, keep looking for the right supplier.

May you all a productive and happy week my friends.