The decision to go into a contract with an outside marketing service provider ought to be a pleasant and profitable experience. The successful multichannel marketing agency certainly wants a positive outcome for their customers, and you simply want results that will add value to your business.
But in order to get the kind of experience and satisfying results you’re aiming for, it will help you to understand the reality of marketing as a service. While some companies sell you leads for a fixed price, multichannel marketing companies are like an extension of your business.
So to help you avoid making an investment you’re not prepared to make, here are 10 signs multichannel may not be right for you.
By taking the time to read this article you will be able to determine whether to avoid an initial investment that you aren’t committed to. On the other hand, if you decide to take the plunge, you will have a roadmap to help you get the most out of your strategic partnership with a marketing agency partner.
So let’s get into it…
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE MAY ANNOY YOU! (OR IT MAY MAKE YOU LAUGH…)
1. You just don’t have it in ‘ya kid
Some call it the X-factor, some call it the sizzle. It’s the stuff unicorn startups and companies like SunRun are made of. Every company is built on hard work and hard-won battles, but some companies seem to exude a kind of rocket fuel with everything they do, propelling them forward at high velocity. The rocket fuel is a perfect storm of favorable conditions that make them popular, organizationally strong and driven toward a single epic vision…
And then there’s the other 99% of companies, many of which are great companies in their own right and some of which are just average, and there’s nothing wrong with average.
If you don’t happen to be a unicorn, you probably lack the stardust to pull marketing miracles out of thin air. For you, there’s another option, a different recipe if you will. It’s made of grit, determination, resolve… the classics.
For you to succeed with marketing in 2018, and you can succeed, you’ll need to make your own X factor.
2. You don’t have money to invest in your business
I continue to be amazed at companies pulling in millions of dollars a year who still try to play it cheap when it comes to something as essential as driving quality leads and the way they project their brand. I get it though. You know what they say if you don’t ask you don’t get.
However, this one is non-negotiable. Multichannel marketing, a.k.a. omnichannel marketing or multi-platform marketing does not get done all by itself. I won’t bore you with the fine details, but designing ad strategies, running, managing and optimizing ads over months and years, not to mention landing pages and other strategies, is a lot of work.
That’s work that you don’t have to think about because a marketing service provider is taking care of it all for you.
And once that’s done, you still have to pay for the ads. So before discussing services like these with a marketing agency, ask yourself if you are prepared to make a financial commitment.
3. Your online business is like a pile of dirty laundry
Your brick and mortar business may be very well presented. Maybe you have a great looking fleet of vehicles. Maybe you even have a handsome head office with a great big sign outside. You might even be paying for billboards and you see your image all around town.
All of these factors will definitely support the future success of your business. The state of your online business is equally important, and if it’s undeveloped or in disrepair, it hurts your brand and your reputation. It also hurts the performance of any marketing/advertising you do.
Sure, for an agency like me, making ugly ads to match an ugly online business image may be easier, but it isn’t more effective. For more ideas, read our article on setting initial conditions for your online business.
4. You think you know more than the experts
I’ve talked to plenty of solar installation business owners, and quite a few marketing officers, coordinators, liaisons, etc. It’s been my experience that while internal marketing teams are well acquainted with the company’s brand image and mission, they frequently know very little about digital marketing strategy. Sorry, it’s just been my experience.
As I outlined before, there are a lot of moving parts to a custom built, profitable multichannel marketing machine. Your business is complex and you wouldn’t expect someone to understand it in full at first glance. So even though you may make a commitment to go forward quickly, learning how it works will be something that unfolds over time. The opportunity you have before you is to build a fruitful relationship with your marketing agency and learn as you go.
5. You don’t plan to cooperate with your marketing partner
It would be a shame for a business to make an investment in growth and not take the minimum required steps to get the engine for that growth set up properly at the very beginning.
At the beginning of a new contract, there are a number of integrations that we need to set up in order to be able to track people visiting your web properties. If you don’t have a business.facebook.com account, we need to create it. If you don’t have an Adwords account, we need to create it. And we need to create additional accounts for additional ad channels and other tools we use to get you fantastic results.
If you don’t comply, you will compromise your results. It’s really unbelievable, but some solar installation companies would prefer to shoot themselves in the proverbial foot rather than getting things set up properly in the beginning. Go figure.
6. You are looking for a reason to fail… or someone to blame
Investing in online marketing efforts is a business decision, and you are probably considering it at this time for a variety of different reasons. Probably your business is in transition.
You may be on the upswing, seeing opportunities for growth and wanting to take advantage of that. Perhaps your solar panels are all US made and you see an opportunity to get the upper hand on your competitors.
The opposite could be true as well. Business may have fallen off for a variety of reasons. Aren’t you getting as many leads as before? Do you have new competitors threatening your territory? Prices in your supply chain have gone up? Maybe you’re down an employee or two and need to fill the gap.
In either scenario, commitment is key to success. If you’re looking for a way to put the responsibility on a third party, to give yourself an excuse for why you weren’t able to grow or why your numbers got worse, hiring a marketing agency and claiming you “got burned” might be a solution. Note to self: offer a discounted plan, The Patsy Plan, hehe!
7. Your internal company dynamics are out of control
Most agencies sell their services to the business owner. So it’s critical that your team is behind you 100%. Sure, have negotiations and gather feedback. Whatever you decide to do as a team is what you should do, but once you’ve made a decision, be sure your team is behind you.
I’ve seen first hand what a rogue element within a business can do. Someone who you trust in your business to have your best interest in mind has the power to throw away multiples of their salary on a monthly basis by working against your business partners.
The problem can be quite complicated. My advice is to solve internal issues like these before signing any contracts with a marketing agency. It will only waste your money.
8. You have the money today but you don’t plan to renew
The addition of any new lead source takes some time to adjust to. Your sales reps have to learn to handle the extra leads coming in and you have to be on top of that to make sure those new leads aren’t wasted.
Usually, it takes about 6 weeks from start to finish for a solar company to sign a new customer and complete the work, and bigger commercial contracts can take much longer.
Wasting leads is identical to throwing money out the window, and not paying your strategic partners, aside from being criminal, will only give your marketing partner the motivation to help your competitors.
9. Your salespeople can’t close
Didn’t I mention this already? See above : )
10. You have no motivation for growth
I’ve mentioned commitment a few times over the course of this article. Why? Because anything short of commitment will lead to failure.
If you want cheap leads, there are vendors happy to sell them to you. If that is a better fit for you, then that’s the way to go.
If, however, you want to have a marketing machine at your service, that can grow along with your business, that will be custom-tailored for your unique selling proposition and committed to your success, then a marketing agency might be a good fit.
But it will only work if you allow it time to grow. Anybody claiming to sell magic beans is really selling snake oil and a good marketing agency is not in the business of making unrealistic promises.
So we’ve covered the 10 signs multichannel marketing may not be a good choice for your business. If you have read until here, you realize that this is a tough love message and applies to many aspects of your business, not just multichannel marketing.
When it comes to working with a marketing agency, there is a great opportunity in building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. If you’re interested in discussing how Support4Good Solar might be able to help you, just sign up or get in touch. Happy to help.