Marketing is a blend of science and creativity. There is no right or wrong way. We can recommend best practices and tried and tested methods of getting results, but in the end we cannot offer any guarantees of success - there are just too many variables-
- Market desire and demand can fluctuate
- Tactics that have worked once may not be as effective a second or third time
- A marketing message is just the first link in the chain - customer service and experience are essential elements in the sales funnel and beyond the control of a marketing agency
- Client’s may not be set up to accurately record conversions - making it almost impossible to report effectiveness.
Honesty or Excuses?
This is where transparency is really tested. As an agency, we want our clients to have confidence in our abilities to market their products and services - that requires positivity and enthusiasm.
There is, however, a fine line between positivity and overselling. As we know, there are no blueprints for marketing success and to offer guarantees is dangerous territory and always worth a look at the small print!
It's possible to be positive and honest - but as an agency we are always mindful of our client’s expectations. We share our years of knowledge and experience, stories of successes and less valuable tactics we’ve tried - all of these things help us formulate a marketing plan that is robust with a high probability of success. We also take the time to understand the client’s campaign in context.
Is it Make or Break?
If a client is launching a major campaign to ‘save their company’ - using their last resources to bring in those essential customers to keep the lights on - our advice might be more cautious. We could recommend a phased approach, with smaller incremental investments to ensure we’re testing results as we go.
If a client is ‘topping up’ an already successful campaign, squeezing out those last few conversions from previously tested media, we might be more aggressive.
It comes down to a balance of risk and reward. Marketing should not be like standing at the roulette wheel. Above all, it’s essential that you have complete clarity on what you're buying and what return you can expect at the outset of a campaign.
Let’s Start at the End
Both agency and client should be aiming for the same result - be that a rise in sales, greater engagement, brand awareness or another goal - whatever the goal is there should be one. For a campaign to be successful that goal needs to be shared, communicated and understood with total transparency.
If we as an agency, or our clients fail to communicate effectively, the result will be poor performance, lost working time, and wasted investment.
How are Goals Misunderstood?
When working as part of a team we have to remember that everyone could interpret a brief differently. Making assumptions as to what is required is the biggest mistake of all.
Asking questions - lots of questions - is the best way to ensure everyone has complete clarity. It sounds easy but can cause the occasional bump in the road.
As an agency, if we ask too many questions our client could be uncertain of our ability. If our client is asking lots of questions we would probably wonder if they really know what they’re looking to achieve.
What are the Right Questions to Ask?
Simply asking random questions isn’t a good strategy. Asking direct, specific questions is much better. Here’s an example:
“I’m not sure what is meant by ‘create a buzz around the new product’ can you explain that?”
The client has already written this into their brief - so you're now asking them to simply rephrase the brief.
Think about what you really want to know - it should be results orientated. Try being very specific instead:
“You want to create a buzz around the product, what does that mean for you? More engagement on social media? Mentions in the press? High click through rates on emails? - which metrics will tell us if we’ve hit the target?”
This instantly translates the clients needs into tangible, measurable attributes that we can work with.
Nothing matters more than the end result, data never lies but it's open to interpretation. Read our blog on analyzing results.
All agencies, if they are being totally honest, have had campaigns fall flat. There is, however, always value in the results - even if the value isn’t in sales dollars.
Knowing what works for your product, service, or brand is essential for long term marketing success. Dissecting the results of all campaigns - no matter how successful - will help you achieve this. If the result has fallen short of expectation then ask why - could you change something and test it again or should you avoid the resource in the future? Either way you will be improving your tactics or saving yourself future investment.
If you want to work with an agency that ensures honesty and transparency-
Call me today at +1(860)-210-8088
Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.