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How many companies have a Marketing Team?  Too few, in my estimation.

Staff meetings are important, but they get a bad rap because they’re usually meaningless.  Most of the time, they’re concerned only with sales comparisons, whether or not a grumbling client/customer has been mollified or when a particular order is being shipped.

With SmartPhones and people paying more attention to the cell phone hidden in their lap, meetings have become even more laborious and less participatory.

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On the heels of our previous blog, here are some questions to ask a prospective marketing consultant or marketing firm, plus one question not to ask.

  • What kind of marketing do you do?
  • What size companies do you prefer to work with?
  • What results have you achieved for some of your clients?
  • How many Marketing Plans have you written?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how would you rank yourself or your firm in the implementation of your clients’ Marketing Plans?  What were the strong and weak points?
  • What are your favorite marketing strategies?
  • What do you look for in a client?
  • What can we expect from you?
  • How do you feel about providing two references?

You might be interested to know that, as I approach my 38th anniversary in business, I’ve only been asked for references three times!  Of course many clients have already heard me speak, so they have a good idea of my marketing philosophy. When they agree, they contact me.

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When I first moved to Fort Collins, CO over 13 years ago, I joined a women’s business networking group.  Standing on the luncheon buffet line, I turned to the woman in back of me and introduced myself.

“What do you do?” I asked.  She replied, “I’m a marketing consultant.”  

“Oh, so am I,” I returned.  For whom do you market?  She said, “I work with small businesses and help them with their Marketing Plans.”  “Wow,” said I; “we do pretty much the same thing.  So tell me more about your clientele and how you help them.”

Then she began to flounder a bit.  After a couple of sentences, the truth surfaced.

When she finished, I countered with, “So you’re really a sales representative for an advertising specialties company, who writes proposals for companies to benefit from your specialty products.  You’re not a marketing consultant; you’re a sales rep.”

She was not happy with me, and I could have cared less.  That brief exchange made me wary; and, sure enough, the woman turned out to be the first of many people I’ve encountered over the years, who go around masquerading as marketing consultants and really are anything but.

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It’s time to start thinking about trade shows and home shows.  Only a few years ago,  home shows didn’t start until late March or early April.  Now they’re beginning in January and February.

Exhibiting at trade or home shows consists of four components.  Most companies focus on no more than two, usually one.

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Over the years I’ve spoken and written about this numerous times.  It’s the issue of priorities, particularly as they pertain to marketing.

It’s so easy to say, “We (I) don’t have the time to market.”  It’s equally easy to say, “We (I) don’t have the money to market.”

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