Part 2: You certainly should NOT hire a marketing company.
There is NO WAY you should hire a marketing company. This was my thought for years as I toiled away under the assumption that, because I was clever enough to start and run an entertainment business in the middle of nowhere and charge people for the privilege of walking through a corn maze (Unheard of back then!), I certainly didn’t need any help marketing.
I was right, just not for the “I’m-too-smart-reason.” In fact, my stubbornness was precisely why I shouldn’t hire a marketing company. (MC for short.) The MC/client relationship would have always been on the rocks because I, in my youth, was always trying to prove I was the smartest.
If you need to be the smartest, you should certainly NOT hire a marketing company.
Not enough budget. I was also perpetually underfunded. I was on, as Tim Vala likes to say, the “100% reinvestment” plan. Tim quotes this plan from Walt Disney himself, who believed in plowing every red cent back into the business.
Keep in mind that hiring an MC requires that the MC get paid. If you are not in the position to fund your advertising budget AND pay for their services, you should certainly NOT hire a marketing company.
You LOVE marketing! One of the reasons I was so hell-bent on independence around marketing was because I found it incredibly interesting. I’ve lived through the age of newspapers as the Kings of Reach, into TV, into Radio, into the Email age, through Google early years of search, to social and it has all been fascinating to learn and grow through all these phases.
You might find it fascinating, too! If so, we’re nerds of a feather and should stick together. If you love it, do it! I do! If you love something, enjoy learning all about it, and have time to do it… You should certainly NOT hire a marketing company.
You know nothing about marketing. Conversely, if marketing is something you hate, maybe detest, and you do not have even base knowledge of web domain ownership, Facebook page set-up, and email systems… You should also NOT hire a marketing company.
I’ll qualify this statement: You could hire someone who could take advantage of you and, at a later date should you discover this leverage, hold your business marketing assets hostage. That can get really ugly and really expensive.
When Marketing Companies Go Bad. We’ve had clients call us in emergency marketing situations with an agency holding control of websites and guest communications hostage for money, even for the name of the attraction! You must know the basics before starting with a marketing company, and you must ensure in writing that YOU OWN EVERYTHING produced.
So this doesn’t happen to you, here’s Hugh’s list of critical items you need to own to ensure you aren’t taken advantage of by a marketing company, web design firm or social media ad agency:
- YOU must own your domain name. Register it yourself, DO NOT have the marketing company do it.
- YOU must own your website hosting. This means YOU pay for space onto which the website is placed by the firm that designs it. DO NOT fall for the “We’ll design it and host it for you.” package. Think about it, if you get into a dispute about a bill, guess who can turn off your website in October until you pay whatever they say?
- YOU must own your email service account, such as MailChimp (our current recommendation) or Constant Contact. You amy grant a designer access, but do not give that person your admin login. Email lists are the ONLY lists you own! Mark Zuckerberg owns all your Facebook Fans (More on that later…)
- YOU must own all artwork, ads, logos, photos and materials created for you by any agency. Read the contracts carefully! If you are only granted, by contract, the right to USE the ads they create, renegotiate or walk away. Imagine you have a radio station create your ads, the jingle becomes the coolest hit around town. You want to move to the new, hot country station and the first station says, “You can move, but we own the commercial/jingle.”
There are reasons to hire a marketing comany.
There are reasons to NOT hire a marketing company.
There is ONE MORE post between, my ultimate recommendation, which I think will apply to most Farmers Inspired members.
I love writing about this, but I should ask if this is making any sense, and particularly if it is helpful to hear.
What are you thinking?