Marketing is not necessarily a family affair

Over the years, I’ve heard many familiar themes. Themes around family, volunteers, friends and interns that include:

  • “My cousin had a friend who did my website. Files? No, I can’t even remember his name.”
  • “My daughter is so creative — she did my logo. Original files? No, she is traveling the world.”
  • “Passwords? I had several interns ago set those up for me. We didn’t part ways well, so I have no idea where those are.”

If marketing is essential to your business, then isn’t it worth hiring professionals? Does your mechanic cut your hair, or do you leave legal advice up to your massage therapist? What you do has value and what marketing professionals do also have value.

Sometimes, it’s best to leave your marketing-related assets to the pros. This is especially important when it comes to the foundational elements of your company and brand. You have a trusted source to keep track of things like logo files, websites and website credentials, social media log-ins and passwords, etc.

Sure, sometimes you move on and hire others to help you as your company matures. However, without those fundamental pieces, it’s difficult. Often you have to pay more money to start over, rather than building on what you’ve already started.

I realize these are very practical recommendations to ask of a marketing agency. Certainly, understanding the target market for your product or service, the proper positioning, messaging and look and feel are all critically important. But why aren’t you the administrator (or at least one of them) on your own website? Why can’t you post on your social channels? That is the point.

You don’t need to be the creative brains behind your website, or the creative content curator on social media — you just need to be able to invite (and uninvite) others to do so. You don’t need to drive, but you need a spare set of keys.

Professional marketing agencies also add some other “behind the scenes” value. They should be in business for the long haul to provide you with good availability and project turnaround. They should also have an organized file storage system, so when you are looking for that brochure from 2009, they can track it down quickly. Organized agencies also have secure password portals and the experience to know and consult with you about who should own what. If yours doesn’t offer these basic things . . . you might want to reconsider your choice.

If family and friends are truly a good option for you, that’s fine, just document and plan for the worst. Or just include family and friends in celebrating your successes and leave the heavy lifting to the professionals. After all, family reunions are more fun that way.

Jackie O’Hara, Boss Lady

Jackie loves getting to know a company personally during the process of crafting or updating its brand. Always looking for unique ideas, she finds the most simple and honest ideas are often the most effective.