How hard is it to find marketing help?

How hard is it to find marketing help?

OK, here's a little secret, and I'll start right off.  It's not hard to find marketing help.  Actually, it's really easy.   Anyone can help your business with your marketing.  There, I said it.  No reason to keep reading.  Unless you want to.

You know you do.

Seven million people can't be wrong.

Do a quick search for people with 'marketing' in their position titles on LinkedIn, and you'll get seven million results.  Yeah, that's right.  Seven. Million.  Conversely, there's "only" 700,000 lawyers.  That's seven marketers to every lawyer, if you're counting at home. I wonder two things:

  1. If Shakespeare had been born today, would he have written in Henry VI: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the marketers", and
  2. If lawyers chase ambulances, what is in such abundance that seven million marketers can chase their own?

Oh that's right - marketers chase you, the business owner.  How's it feel to be loved?

There's 28 million small businesses in the U.S., but only seven million with more than one employee.  So, for 'real' businesses (those with say, a fancy office, maybe even with a reception room and with a dusty fake plant in the corner), that leaves on average one marketing job per company.  Sure, some big companies have bajillions of people in the company with the term "marketing" in their title - like "Global Marketing Manager", "Assistant Global Marketing Manager", and "Fort Wayne Regional Global Marketing Manager".  These days, some fancy marketers try to show how unique and different they are and don't even use the term "Marketer" anywhere in their title.  Terms like "Lead Strategist" or "Chief Awesome Sauce" come to mind.  I must admit, even I drank that Kool-aid for a bit:  I thought I was being clever a few years ago and called myself a "Firestarter".  It was right there on my business card, too.  Unfortunately, being a firestarter is frowned upon in most circles, and people still get antsy around me at Fourth of July picnics.  My point is:  there's probably at least another million more people in the marketing business but with fancier names - so there probably more marketers than there are businesses to support them.

But wait...there's more!

Don't forget, there are also marketing agencies that can serve you.  Whole scores of super crazy creative people, all in one place.  There are traditional agencies, digital agencies, social marketing agencies, search marketing agencies, and central intelligence agencies.

(OK, that last one is just to see if you are still reading, even though I told you that you could stop at the beginning.  Congratulations, you've wasted another few minutes of your life already).

While some agencies are generalists, some are true specialists - they might serve only one industry like healthcare, government, or automotive sectors.  Further, some agencies serve a single company (on purpose), such one called Elephant working solely for Apple. These people are paid a lot for their expertise.

So it's really not all that hard to find marketing help

So, regardless of whether you have an internal marketing guy or team, or an external ad agency: the problem here is not that there isn't anyone to help your business with marketing.  The question is, do you want it to be just anyone to help you market your business?  You work hard for the money (so hard for it, honey).  Do you really want to blow it by choosing the wrong "marketing partner"?

The bad news

Even big smart companies and huge award-winning ad agencies team up to produce mind blowingly stupid and pointless less than stellar work. Case in point:  Car leasing and cats. I 'd love to have been in the room when the agency's Director of Inspiration was inspired to think that one up.  "Hey fellas: I know we're selling car leases for VW...  Hmmmm... wait, I know!  People love cat videos. How about videos of people acting AS cats?  It'll be hilarious and people will remember nothing except that they saw the ridiculous TV ad about cats".  Creativity sure can cough up some hairballs - and this one was approved by corporate big wigs at VW.  Probably the Subregional Director Of  Light Bulb Moments.

This one just came out this week: New York State (the state as a client) and BBDO (the marketing agency hired by the client) - two of the largest organizations in their respective categories.   A $211 Million "not to exceed 50 million dollars" ad campaign that did less than well.

The really bad news

Third party marketing consultants and experts might not always be better.  The truth is, all marketers are liars. That's what my wife tells me, anyway.  Except she alway adds:  "except for you, of course".  I'm not sure whether to be insulted or pleased.  I'm going with pleased.  Of course, I could be lying.

Marketing consultants usually have an particular angle or background.  For example, they might have worked in radio, newspaper, or TV.  Not as commentators, journalists, or on-air personalties.  No, these folk seem to most often have been salespeople.  They just took their "Media Consultant" card from the radio station and duplicated it.

So how do you choose who should help you?

Since you lasted this long even after warning you twice, I'll give you my opinion.  In my next post, What to Look for in an Outsourced Marketer.