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Kamis, 25 Februari 2010

What to Look for When Outsourcing Your Marketing

It's not a secret that many companies that downsize, re-prioritize or expand find outsourcing to be a cost effective decision to fulfill certain corporation functions. Outsourcing has become an essential aspect of business strategies and this included the marketing function.

Outsourcing allows a company to put more focus on product development and overall operations. It eliminates the delay the need to hire full-time staff and avoids tasking overworked staff. Many marketing consultants help companies market their products and services without extending their in-house marketing staff. They can often provide the same service as an in-house marketing department, but at half the cost.

By outsourcing you gain the following:

  • Specialized skills and expertise
  • An external perspective and view point

Outsourcing can be intimidating at first, but there are things to look for when choosing a marketing consultant or an outside marketing firm. Here are a few evaluating questions that should assist you in finding a marketing consultant that is right for you.

  • Area of Expertise

    Find out what their expertise is in. There are many component to marketing. What do they focus on? Here are common areas of expertise:

    • Search Engine Marketing and Optimization
    • Branding
    • Positioning
    • Affiliate Marketing Development and Management
    • Marketing Strategy and Plan Development
    • Internet Marketing Strategy and Plan Development
    • Lead Generation
    • Sales and Marketing Campaign Development
    • Marketing Classes, Seminars, and Workshops

    Figure out what areas you need help in and look for consultants with expertise in those areas.

  • Training/Education

    What type of training and/or education is important to you. I will tell you that education is important, however experience and hands-on expertise can far out weigh education when it comes down to success in marketing.

    Ask for case studies, referrals, and experience in the areas that you need assistance in.

  • Certifications/Memberships

    This will also tell you how active they are in the marketing community as well as if they've been certified in certain areas of marketing.

  • Notable Achievements

    What are the notable achievements that the marketing consultant has achieved. What work are they most proud of?

  • Client References

    Never hire a marketing consultant without contacting client referrals. We can get very excited about the sales presentation and the marketing brochures we've been handed when looking for a consultant, but the truth is the proof is in the achieved results. If they could not succeed with other clients, what makes you think they can succeed when it comes to marketing your products and services? Call those references, it only takes a few minutes and it is worth your time.

  • Evaluate the Fees

    Before signing any agreements make sure you are clear in the fee structure. Is it based on milestone payments, paying everything up front, or are they working on a pay-for-performance structure? Be clear about what you will be charged and how those fees are determined.

    There are many marketing consultants out there and with the power of the internet they are not hard to find. Make sure you are comfortable with their experience and that you also feel they understand your marketing goals. They should take the time to listen to you about the vision of where you want to go and what you want marketing to achieve for you before they ever present to you a fee structure. If they are in a rush to have you sign the contract without taking the time to understand your business run away fast and find someone else. They should be patient in the courting process to gain your business, if you feel rushed it will only get worse after the agreement is signed.



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