When you open a home-based business, you may handle every task at first. As time passes, however, you will probably find that you need professional assistance to help your business expand, increase your profit margins, or reach untapped markets. This is where the services of a reputable marketing professional can be invaluable. However, you might want to give some thought to how you will deal with a marketer you are considering. Here are seven things that entrepreneurs and home-based business owners can say that will make any legitimate marketing professional cringe, and some of them may even lead to a marketer rejecting you as a client.
1. “I have no competition, so your job should be easy.”
It is truly amazing how many entrepreneurs believe that no one else has had the same idea. You probably have more competition than you suspect. Perhaps you failed to perform sufficient research, which is a mistake that can sink your business before you even get out of the harbor. Maybe the reason you have no competition is that other people did conduct their research, then concluded that no one wanted or needed the service or product you plan to offer, or their market research may have shown that the price people would be willing to pay was below the break-even point. Even if you have managed to come up with a true innovation that no one else has thought of, you can bet that competitors will emerge just as soon as your business starts showing any sign of success. Furthermore, telling marketing professionals how easy it will be to handle your account could be construed as a sign that you might balk at paying them anything close to their normal rate.
2. “I’m hiring you to make my website, product, or video go viral.”
Do you know how many honest marketing professionals will guarantee they will make you go viral? The correct answer is none. If there were a formula for making a YouTube or TikTok video go viral, then every video would be viral. If there were a formula to make a blog go viral, then every blog site would be viral. If every website, product, or video goes viral, how could any of them ever hope to stand out? In other words, the playing field would be so level that you would still be one in several million. Fortunately for everyone, there is no formula. Things can go viral for a number of reasons. Perhaps a video is so humorous that virtually everyone who sees it shares it on every social media account they use. Maybe a celebrity or major influencer buys your product, loves it, and voluntarily recommends it to their followers. Of course, you can also go viral for all the wrong reasons. Suppose you innocently post something on your blog that you did not realize had negative connotations. This could trigger a massive public outcry from groups or individuals who found your post offensive or insensitive. In short, there is no way to guarantee that you will go viral, but you will have a better chance if you have a well-developed marketing strategy.
3. “All I want you to do is create and place ads, so you don’t need to develop a marketing strategy for me.”
These words are often uttered by entrepreneurs who have no concept of the differences between marketing and advertising, how they interrelate, and why you do need a marketing strategy. A marketing strategy defines who might want or need what you offer, where they are most likely to see or hear your ads, and how they will prefer to respond. Your marketing strategy can also help you devise ways to stand out from the competition. Depending on the nature of your business, you could focus on the exceptional quality of your products, a warranty on your services, speedy delivery, or a liberal refund policy. Placing ads without first developing a marketing strategy is a little like blindfolding yourself, throwing a handful of darts, and hoping that at least one of them hits the target.
4. “Everyone will want what I offer, so developing customer profiles is a waste of time.”
Being optimistic can be a good thing, but being overly optimistic can be disastrous. Simply stated, everyone will not need or want what you offer. Suppose you have developed a vastly superior type of wheels for inline skates. You probably will not have many orders from octogenarians unless they are purchasing them as gifts for their great-grandchildren. People who are severely allergic to pet dander are not likely to need your magnificent cat tower. Renters living in apartment complexes are unlikely to call you for lawn care, buy your lightweight tiller, or ask you for a quote on a new roof. You cannot even assume that everyone will be enthusiastic about your new brand of toilet paper; globally, about half the population does not use it, and those that do tend to choose brands that have the specific features that they want.
5. “Do you guarantee to double my sales within one year?”
This question falls in the same category as asking for a guarantee that your marketing professional will make you go viral. It implies that you have no control over your sales. If you are a service provider who delivers shoddy work, word will soon spread, and you will receive fewer and fewer requests for service. However, the opposite is also true. If you deliver exceptional work, show respect for your customers, and demonstrate your professional integrity, you can expect that at least some of them will refer their friends and relatives to you. If you sell inferior products at inflated prices, you could see your sales plummet, but if you sell better products than the competition at similar prices, you should see an uptick in sales. Furthermore, you should never underestimate just how quickly news about you will spread, especially if it is bad news. More than ever, people are posting scathing reviews about unsatisfactory products and services on their social media accounts, consumer review sites, and even in the comments section on sites where users ask for recommendations.
6. “My parent, spouse, or friend told me that my idea will change the world.”
Most marketing professionals hear some version of this statement at least once every month, and some of them hear it every day. Before you allow yourself to become convinced that you are going to singlehandedly revolutionize the world, consider the things that actually have. Next, try to find one world-changing product or service that was not the result of teams who spent years developing ideas that were built on numerous ideas that other teams had previously developed.
7. “Marketing is evil, but I suppose it is a necessary evil.”
Marketing professionals tend to view this comment in about the same light as a dentist who is called a sadist, a physician who is called a quack, or a CPA who is called a thief. Marketing and advertising are only evil if they are used for evil purposes. For example, if a company knowingly promotes a defective product that can seriously injure those who use it, you could call that evil. However, a company that just wants people to choose their goods or services over the competition is not doing anything evil if they plan to provide their customers with something of value.