Often I have potential clients call and the first questions they ask are what “packages” we offer and “how much it costs” for marketing. This question always confuses me but I suppose they ask this question because they are accustomed to the way many companies in our industry operate. Many companies offer “packages” with big shiny “Buy Now” buttons on their website. Kind of like they’re selling Blowtorches to Snowmen.
But doesn’t this approach fly in the face of Marketing 101? Isn’t every business unique? Isn’t every industry unique? Every market? So how can you sell the same “marketing” package to every business of every shape, color and size without ever speaking with them? The short answer is you can’t. Well, you shouldn’t if you want to provide an effective service for your client.
No marketing company worth their meddle can tell you what marketing will work for your company without first learning about your company, your competitors, your products and services, your growth goals, other marketing and advertising strategies you’ve tried, etc. We have clients in the same industry pursuing business in the same markets, but almost always we are using different tactics for each of them. For example we may be operating marketing campaigns for two Realtors in the same market, but one may prefer to focus on specific neighborhoods which may have different demographics than what the other Realtor targets. Or they may focus on a specific niche market like First Time Home Buyers, retirees, gay couples, etc. Our recommended strategies and tactics will be quite different depending on their focus.
So why do companies in our industry offer these pre-made packages and allow you to pull a lever on their website to purchase one? Because they are hoping you don’t really understand marketing, and they want you to buy their product just like buying a pack of gum out of a vending machine. The problem is they are marketing for your company just like any other production line. They have created a square template and then they try to fit round-, triangular- and dodecahedron-shaped businesses into it. It’s great for them because it cuts down on the amount of time they have to spend on their clients (i.e., profit) but it’s not so great for the many businesses that won’t benefit from their services.