Work doesn’t really work…

Work doesn’t really work— not the way it should, at least

Take the business of marketing. I scratch my head at how many times companies pay good money to hire a marketing or advertising consultancy to help them, and then promptly derail the possibilities by forcing the conversation to a place they are already comfortable with. That’s a bad idea, for if you ever hope get to somewhere you aren’t, you need to be willing to do something you’ve haven’t done. That IS why you hired them in the first place, right?

Marketing is still a dark art for a lot of SMB’s. It’s ever changing and complex, so many companies buy in with trepidation. That hurts the buyer more than the seller.

Today almost every business category imaginable is over-serviced. Consumers and clients are dripping with options (good and bad), and if you pay attention to the language and tactics most brands use, you’ll see everyone is offering essentially the same thing, using the same words. If you hope to rise above this, marketing (driven by a great story) may be the ONLY real shot you have.

And by marketing, I mean every single idea and execution aimed at arresting and connecting with a prospect or existing client with the ultimate goal of becoming business partners. Call it social, community, promotion or advertising. It doesn’t matter. They are all pathways to consumers — some more effective than others.

Your business — every business — has a story to tell. Great stories resonate and are sticky as hell in the minds of audiences. That stickiness increases the perceived value of your brand and your products. That improved value is where increased margin lives, increased margin means more profit. Knowing that, can you really afford not to tell a great story?

Now the reality check from the wizard of Ads, Roy H. Williams: “it’s difficult to read the label when you’re standing inside the bottle.” That’s why telling our own story in a way that audiences will embrace and recall is insanely hard to do without some qualified, objective help.

As someone who has spent plenty of time as both supplier and client, it comes down to this: you are way better with a good team than you are alone. So I say do your diligence, hire someone your gut tells you is the right fit for your culture. And be courageous enough to be a little uncomfortable. Remember; you don’t need what you already have, you need to grow. Now collaborate on creating winning conditions and then make them earn every cent of their fee. Do that, and then they’ll kill for you. Then, work WILL work.

Greg MacDonald
Creative Services Manager
Carleton University
Ottawa, Canada

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