Many companies are rushing to provide digital marketing services. Business owners must be smarter than ever when looking for marketing help. They must never lose focus of their goal of improving profitability when contracting with one of these companies. Some of these self-proclaimed digital marketing companies are using this strategy as a means to sell their products. There is nothing wrong with this as long as those products are the best option to grow profit for the small business. The company’s products should be offered in conjunction with other marketing options including competing services. As a business owner, you should ask direct questions about what other products the digital agency will offer that are not tied to them.
Some companies that offer to be your marketing consultants as a means to sell their own products are CenturyLink and the Yellow Pages. CenturyLink, a provider of internet and phone services, has a community services division. They have speakers that attend small business events to speak on Social Media and SEO. As part of attending, you receive a “Free Website Review” to maximize SEO. To their credit, CenturyLink contracts a 3rd party to do the review and provide it to the business owner however as part of the assessment, CenturyLink business services are recommended. If the business owner had worked with an independent marketing consultant, a variety of options may have been offered.
The Yellow Pages has a similar model whereby representatives of the company represent themselves as “marketing consultants”. The problem is that they do not offer the products and services of other companies to the business owner. They do not offer unbiased marketing solutions that will serve the business owner best. Instead they offer their products in an effort to make their goals. Their bottom line takes priority over yours.
The compensation structure of these “marketing consultants” is often revenue goal based which means growing your profit is not of real value to them. What if they were paid on how they grew your online audience, your profit, your revenue or your sales instead? This comp structure would reward them for looking at all available marketing tools to assist in your growth.
Buyer-beware not all “marketing consultants” are created the same.