Marketing your idea, product or service is a big part of how your business not only survives but thrives. So when it comes to selecting a marketing team, your decision on who you hire can be crucial to the success of your project.

When you hire the wrong marketing team, lots of things can go wrong very quickly, time and money gets flushed down the toilet, and usually the people on both sides of the relationship (you vs. the marketing team) are very unhappy (to say the least) with the way things turn out. I often get calls from people who have been through situations like this and lovingly refer to them as “burn victims” due to how (understandably) sensitive they can be after having to go through a tumultuous ordeal.

So what makes a good marketing team or a bad one?

Often I find it’s simply a matter of miscommunication or match between the business owner and the team they select. This mismatch can happen on a variety of levels (don’t you love how life is so messy?) but here are some key things to consider when selecting the people who are going to help you spread your great idea, service or product to help you grow your audience.

The hardest part of meeting people who have be burned by a bad marketing match is that there are a key indicators of a bad match, but the burn victim wasn’t aware of the warning signs.

1. Are they knowledgeable and passionate in your area and about you?

All ideas, products and services can usually be clumped into industries or market categories (such as “Travel & Leisure”, “Construction”, “Food & Beverage”, “Health and Wellness”, etc) and it’s a good idea to select a marketing team based on their previous experience they have with marketing in your category. Many industries have a language and way of doing business that takes some time to understand, selecting marketers who have already had some experience with people in your area means they’ll have a larger pool of previous experience to draw from and the background research required is usually far less at the start.

I believe you’re not going to get your full value without your marketing team having a vested interest in helping you and your product, idea or service succeed.

It’s not absolutely necessary that they have a portfolio or client example in your industry, but they should at least display a keen interest or passion for what it is you’re doing. I believe you’re not going to get your full value without your marketing team having a vested interest in helping you and your product, idea or service succeed. And as a marketer it takes quite a bit of time to break the skin of a category, to dig in deep and get to the heart of “why people buy into x” takes a bit more than a mild interest.

2. Do they get things done right?

Ultimately you want to make sure that you’re going to get what you’re paying for, and since you’re paying for it you want to make sure that things will get done right. A great way of learning this is from testimonials from clients or recommendations that they have done things right in the past (feel free to ask to follow up). Ask for current work samples and see if they’re up to par with what you’d like to see for your project. Another great measure is to check out how respected they are in their industry, usually people who do great work earn quite a reputation for doing so from colleagues in their field.

Also, when I say “get things done right”, I mean do they have a reputation for standing behind their work and not leaving clients high and dry? Trust me, mistakes happen, we’re super amazing people – but we’re still human, every once and a while even we get nipped in the butt by a good ole doozy of a mistake. What I’m talking about is, when the mistake happens, do they fix it, do they make it right and explain to you what happened in plain English without skirting the blame? That’s what I’m talking about. 🙂

3. Can you work with them?

Working styles are very important to project success, If you make sure that your working styles match up, everyone will be much happier. For example, if the marketing team likes to work completely hands-off and independently, but you’re a highly interactive person who wants to discuss the project every day with them you may have some problems along the way.

Also, having an open communication dialog and a good working rapport are both extremely important to overall project success. If and when project issues arise or project terms change during the course of your project, neither side should feel ashamed or guilty for discussing the terms of the mutual agreement you set forth at the beginning.

In Conclusion

I hate meeting “burn victims” of bad marketing matchups more than anything, and hope these three simple guidelines can help you avoid being burned. I would love to hear your feedback on what you think makes a great marketing team in addition to the three fit guidelines I’ve mentioned above. Feel free to leave your comments below.

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