“Failure to plan, is planning to fail.” – Alan Lakein
Everyone talks about strategy.
Unfortunately, the word strategy has become the one step in any give marketing effort that most organizations translate to “money and time.” To that I would say, “Yes” to both. For marketing firms, when a potential client will not go through the planning process, it is a big RED FLAG!
One Example – I had a potential client in my office, who was adamant that he did not want to waste time going through a business brief process with my team as he wanted to launch his new product, “right now.” Even after explaining that our firm did not know anything about his product; his vision; his competitors; his goals; and so on, he still just wanted us to move forward with implementation and go to market. I said, “No.”
I appreciate his frustration. He had been through a couple of other firms and what they had recommended and implemented had not resulted in any sales and he had spent most of his marketing budget with no results. When I asked if they had required a formal strategy process, the answer, as expected was “No.” Now, here he is in my office venting anger about their incompetency and what a waste of money and time they were and here is exactly where I make my point.
What is at stake in this conversation is the brand of MY company. I would venture to say that most credible marketing firms would say the same. We grow our business by proving what we do for others, works. Period.
When a potential client asks us to skip steps in our process, what we hear is “Please risk your reputation to save me some money.” And, while we would love to work with their product, the price for us is simply too high. You as a client should expect and even demand that your marketing partner get to know your product, service and business almost as well as you do. Without a formal plan, you have no way of holding your firm accountable for results and they have no way to measure what is working and what is not. It is like driving at high speed with no car insurance, texting and eating pizza.
It is simply the most reckless and dangerous thing you can do to your business. Take time to plan, hold your firm accountable to the plan, and measure, measure, measure results.
-Betsy McCloskey | Principal/Partner
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