By Rob Zadotti
Small business owners know that a certain percentage of the operating budget should go toward marketing; however, deciding how much to budget often depends on the size of the business, as well as specific goals and the marketing and publicity needs that go along with those goals.
Hiring a marketing or public relations agency is a smart move. The right agency will understand your business, grasp what you’re trying to do, and have a wealth of resources to help you achieve the results you want.
But what happens if a small business hires an agency, and they are not satisfied with the results? Maybe they went with the cheapest option or what best fit their budget at the time. Perhaps they liked what the agency had done for a company in another industry, and didn’t find out until later that the agency didn’t have enough experience in their particular industry to achieve the same results. It’s possible that they simply picked an agency they recognized.
Whatever the reason, you could potentially find yourself in the same boat – dissatisfied with an agency and not sure what to do about it. If that happens, the question is – do you reevaluate your needs or expectations, or do you find a new representative?
You might be able to talk to your agency and find out if they can make some adjustments. But if that doesn’t work, here are a few indicators that it’s time to look for a new marketing or PR agency.
- Have the results you’ve gotten come from your agency – or from you? Whether your goal is to generate sales leads, franchise leads or anything else, make sure your agency can show you exactly what they’ve done to reach that goal. If results are more internal than from their efforts, you probably need a new representative.
- Does your agency’s strategy align with your goals? They should be upfront with you about how their activities will help you achieve your goals. If, for instance, you want media coverage around a product launch or rebranding – press releases will go a lot further toward that goal than a strong presence on social media. Also, make sure that your agency isn’t making you promises you can’t keep.
- Do people know who you are? One of the biggest reasons to use a marketing or PR agency is to build your brand. Your target market – and the general public – need to know who you are. The more familiar your name is, the more you’ll see results with sales. A good agency will take steps toward making you a household name – or at least a familiar one.
Remember, a lot relies on you as well. You must have regular communication with your agency to ensure they know what you need or expect of them – and be realistic about those expectations. And it’s also important to remember that you won’t see results overnight: building a brand takes time, and so does getting good media coverage. If you just started working with an agency, it would serve you well to take time and understand the goals and tasks they are executing, as well as have some patience with their efforts.
A nationally recognized business expert, Rob Zadotti is the co-founder of two successful businesses, Gold Medal Service and ServiceKey, and a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization of New Jersey (www.eonewjersey.org). For more information about Rob, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.secretsofbusinessmastery.com.