Lessons Learned from Hiring Marketing “Experts”

I will be the very first to admit — I love teaching, lecturing, treating people and learning about Natural Health and other topics of passion. And the last one to market my skills, services and products. It just is not an area of great passion. Ironically, I truly love doing this type of work for others, but not so much for self.

As such, over the years, my wife and I have hired marketing “experts” who have “helped” us with our website, wording, promotion and the like. Our last experience was our worst experience.

We worked with an “expert” for a period of about 7 weeks. During this time, we re-did our site, banner, verbiage, pictures and other suggestions. At the end of an enormous amount of work. . . .we lost $20,000 in income from prior years. Not to mention the several hundred dollars we paid her. She said she was very upset and was willing to do what it takes to correct it. I asked for the unused portion of the money we paid her to be returned.

I am still waiting for it.

This person was the worst in a string of “experts” we worked with. During this time, I learned a great deal. Please allow me to share them with you, in the hopes that you can avoid such disastrous results.

Guideline 1. Find someone who knows your niche, not just an “Internet or marketing expert.” 

We had people provide some creative, interesting and unique ideas for marketing our products and services. Their backgrounds were very impressive. That is why we hired them. Their own work – writings, web site, blog etc. – was also impressive. If I was to do it again, I would ONLY hire such people if I too, was in the business of being an Internet expert. I am not. I am a Wellness and Natural Medicine expert. They knew nothing about this niche and thus, simply used the “one size fits all” which typically works about 10% of the time.

If you are in the field of Wellness, find wellness experts. If you are in the field of massage, find massage experts. Otherwise, hope that you are in the 10% of the one-size-fits-all. Not exactly a solid marketing strategy.

Guideline 2. Farm out tasks that you cannot do versus farming out the whole thing.

You know your field and are expert in it. You may not know how to do java script or design an iPhone app. Farm it out, project by project. It may take longer. You may need to make a couple more adjustments than usual, but in the end, it is well worth it.

Have a team, not a person.

Guideline 3. Remember that no one is more vested in you than you.

Keep in mind that at the end of the day, you know you and your business better than anyone. You are more invested in you and want to succeed (however you define success) more than anyone else. If an “expert” fails, they walk way. If you fail, there is no where to go but the mirror.

Guideline. 3a. Trust yourself.

You may not know how to set up the blog just yet, but you do know what you want it to look like for the customers you wish to attract. Listen to other thoughts, ideas and suggestions but at the end of the day, you need to step forward and make the final decision.

When working with our last “expert,” I made the costly mistake of allowing her to have the final say. My gut was telling me otherwise but I unfortunately did not step forth. Again, you know you and your field better than anyone. Listen to input. Trust you.

Guideline 4. Never have a back up plan.

If you have a Plan B, that means you do not have faith in Plan A.

Ditch Plan A and go back and revamp it until it is as close to perfect as possible. This of course, does not mean you commit regardless of results. You may have to adjust course several times along the path. But if you are already thinking “If this does not work, at least I have have a backup.” you are guaranteed of failure.

Football analyst John Madden said it best, “If you go into a season with 2 starting quarterbacks, that means you don’t have any starting quarterbacks.” What Madden was saying. . . . commit to a plan. Adjust if need be.

Guideline 5. Know that great marketing people are great at marketing, including the marketing of themselves. This may or may not translate into great marketing of you.

The last marketer we worked with had a radio show, book, splashy web, well written blog and a host of speaking engagements. She was wonderful at marketing. . . herself. Unfortunately this did not translate into anything in my field.

Look for people that marketers worked with. Call them. Email them. Get details and most importantly, ask one magical question: “What did Person A do for their bottom line.” Most people mean well. Well meaning does not always translate into increased visibility or profit. My grandmother was a wonderfully well meaning, lovable person. That does not mean I would have hired her. (Sorry Grandma. Still love you though!)

Finding a marketing person is easy. Finding a successful marketing person is another story.

Finding a marketing person who knows you, your niche and will help you to become more successful is the biggest challenge of all.

Hopefully these simple and direct Guidelines will assist you in your quest.