6 Must-Dos when working with Marketing Vendors: The C-45 guide

Marketing Vendors and its stages

Don’t try to hide it now.

Whether a Mar-tech software, popular influencer to even a creative digital agency; we’ve all been approached by or considered a marketing vendor.

 

Smart Insights stated in 2019 that businesses who plan marketing campaigns and projects thoroughly create a 356% greater likelihood of ROI with an aligned strategy.

One of the greatest factors contributing to a well tailored strategy that every business executive must know is who your marketing partners are externally.

As some have held cynicism for outsourcing any marketing activity of theirs to a 3rd party, there are justifiable reasons from past experiences such as:

  • Low financial budget
  • Scam artists posing themselves as ‘professionals’ or ‘experts’
  • Distrust in results being achieved
  • Potential loss of marketing authenticity, branding or ownership

 

These are common reasons that prevent a business from outsourcing to any vendor as we all desire to reap our money’s worth from external support.

Yet over time, a 3rd party experience with a marketing vendor can prove highly beneficial as you power up your expansion and marketing strategy towards your business goals.

Before considering any ongoing transaction with a marketing vendor (not many blogs may give you this inside-scoop), get your corporate checklist out and consider these 6 must-dos before considering closing the mutual deal:

 

1) Learn values and Vendor Offerings

Every marketing vendor has business values for why and how they operate.

When considering marketing assistance for a current campaign or communications strategy externally, it is vital to conduct background research on a clean history of the potential marketing vendor.

Even if you were referred by a trusted business partner, friend or affiliate, your discernment of the vendor’s values differ from a friendly referral.  It is your budgetary investment, ESOV and reputation at stake before any business engagement takes place.

Although this sounds basic, yet reading the vendor’s About us page on their website, browsing their LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram activity; to even video interviews or thoughts builds up how credible they are.  You are able to track digital footprints on:

  1.  What’s their inner drive towards helping businesses and brands through marketing?

 

    2.  Is there a respective level of practical consistency in their stated values?

 

Once values are considered, review their offerings and whether this can be sustainable for your growth.

An influencer, agency or business software can have x, y, z, aa, bb, cc ……….etc  services or packages within their arsenal, however being realistic on goal alignment is paramount.

If any of their offerings don’t align with your marketing or campaign goal outcomes, you risk wasting time and investment at a win-loss situation.

Do you really want that?

 

2) Keep in touch with a Senior Executive

Once considered, establishing a great working relationship with a senior executive or personnel is key to growing a strong marketing partnership.

From our experiences at Content 45, we encourage any client working with us to regularly communicate with our agency.  We wish to know as much relevant details about project work as you wish to know on our progress for your business.

If you can, always stay in touch with 2-3 executives; the founder/director or key influencer, accounts manager and creative.

These individuals are important when maintaining healthy communication directly relating to your ongoing marketing campaign and its management towards success.

  • Founder or key influencer –  they’re the main person controlling and overseeing the entirety of your outsourced work
  • Accounts manager – Leads and processes the relationship profitably between you and the executors of your marketing
  • Creative – Drafts and plans your campaign perspective and message from dust to reality in an appealing, market-worthy manner (e.g. branding, content, advert, etc.)

 

Never miss a beat on keeping these individuals within your good books and regular contacts as they appreciate your communication and cooperation too.  Marketing outsourcing and implementation is teamwork and not a one-sided transaction at all.

 

3) Be receptive and compliant to constructive advice

When working with a marketing vendor, always observe and watch out for the arrogant, telling-you-what-to-do type.

Creating a balanced relationship between your business, brand or organisation and the ideal marketing vendor must have reciprocal value.

For any outsourced vendor, choose and listen to the consultative and open-minded types building value to your business.  Despite you working in the industry with more experience, any marketing agency or vendor offering you consultative advice and genuine, practical value is a keeper.

You must be open-minded to listen and not easily criticise or disregard your marketing vendor’s concepts and strategies they offer.  They have experience within the marketing & advertising field, whether online or offline; you have operational experience within your chosen sector.

Why trivialise their efforts and over-develop an independent ego to do ‘your own thing’ ?Teamwork, unity and consistent communication should be approached with an ‘our own thing ‘ mindset for any vendor you work with.  If a marketing vendor takes things one step at a time as part of an incremental strategy, this proves they wish to make YOUR success THEIR success too without perceiving you as adding on to their revenue margins by cross-selling unnecessary project fees and services.

 

4) Prepare your budget without Frugality

Every man or business has their price – never approach or consider a marketing vendor on a zero to hardly any budget.

With economic inflation always in effect, you too give an impression on a potential vendor if you disregard their commercial needs.

Marketing vendors need business sustainability too when continuing their services and projects they deliver.  This must never be underestimated as any business considering outsourced help with online or offline marketing should account for specified marketing figures as a sufficient budget to execute any vendor’s work during preparation.

Realistically plan your marketer’s budget either monthly, quarterly or annually and be reasonable with any project quotes without seeing an opportunity to slash costs for your own advantage.

A frugal mindset produces jeopardised outcomes – every marketing vendor must be compensated fairly for their sacrifice.

 

5) Ensure Marketing goals and Project scope is addressed

One of the most critical stages when managing any marketing campaign is ensuring each action aligns with main goals outlined.

At Content 45, we’ve been trained and experienced to ensure any project our agency team works on with clients addresses marketing goals.  This way, transparency of expectations and rationale behind any tactic performed is displayed crystal-clear towards a client.

This sounds like a simple stage a business must follow, but believe us when we say SO many vendors go overly ecstatic with their ideas and skills that they forget it’s a business’ reputation on the line.

Nothing looks worse than using a Mar-tech platform, hiring an agency or influencer to do implement an action plan that does not address your marketing goals for profitable value in your business.

Time and money will be wasted and both parties will be dissatisfied – never reach to this extent.

Any marketing vendor you work with must ensure the project’s scope is addressed, thereby presenting a clear overview of marketing deliverables, objectives, timeframe, KPIs and future direction the project is seeking to head for.

 

6) Finalise mutual documentation without unnecessary delay

As the project is agreed on between yourself and the vendor, all details must be drafted into official written documents for your records.

Works contracts, NDAs or Partnership agreements are the 3 most common documents you will come across before commencing work with a professional marketing vendor.

Even you as a recipient of pending work for your business must not delay a marketing vendor’s time by sitting on an incomplete contract without signing.  Many start-ups, small brands and entrepreneurs are guilty as charged for holding incomplete agency documentation due to eventual lack of funds, the incapability to commit long-term on a project or clashes with personal life distractions.

By realising you cannot work with a marketing vendor after going through the aforementioned 5 stages becomes a waste of time and resources spent from a marketing vendor’s perspective to build your marketing value for ROI.

No one likes their time wasted, so do not waste a marketing vendor’s either.

For future references, ensure you’re prepared mentally and financially to commit to a marketing vendor relationship; whether an agency, influencer or tech platform.  Most deals or contracts, especially within the B2B sector run dry and non-existent from very basic fundamentals such as the signing of contracts; thereby making everyone lose out on opportunity long-term.

 

Did we miss out any stages you’ve experienced with a marketing vendor?

Comment below with your thoughts and ensure you’ve prepared thoroughly before making that next marketing partnership.

How to Creatively strategise with Digital during Global crisis

It’s 2020 and the world’s taken a massive hit economically by the outbreak of COVID-19 – what does that mean for your business?

Global health crisis

 

Two methods how businesses and international organisations have responded up till now:

  1.  Drastic financial cuts within company’s overall budget by furloughing staff, making redundancies, and minimising operational costs with uncertainty of how to recover or going out of business.

 

2. Creatively strategised innovative tactics and strategy on being advantageous to exploit business, marketing and entrepreneurial opportunities in economic downturn.

 

Now both our agency team and you reading this know very well how to respond within these times depends on your industry, expertise, company size and scope of operations.

However, even if your business or brand was a less-than-5-year start-up or an established player in the game; we must leverage and optimise what’s NOT on quarantine or lockdown – OUR digital marketing.

 

Whether influencers are dormant these days, offline marketing vendors have hung up their Closed till further notice signs, or other promotional stakeholders are quarantined themselves; your power lies within the internet for your digital marketing strategy.

 

Take time to observe what’s going on in people’s livelihoods and concerns, the wider society, global affairs and the aftermath of how people are responding to COVID-19; to even open holes within your competitors’ activities before formulating a plan of action.

You may not be trading and generating consistent revenue and cash flow in abundance, yet we’ll share with you some creative tactics to take advantage and control of any global crisis dilemma through digital marketing.

Let’s get started:

 

Plan out 3-4 crisis objectives on digital

Crisis objective planning

As brands and organisations operate around a specified number of business goals (usually 3-4), so must you as a founder, CEO, director or buzzing entrepreneur anticipate economic crash and downturn periods by setting crisis objectives for digital.

Whatever your industry, B2C business and marketing goals of our digital age direct towards proliferated brand awareness, engagement and conversion campaigns on social media platforms, search engine marketing and YouTube adverts.  The traditional B2B’er however, dives more towards warm lead generation, CLTV (customer lifetime value) and client retention campaigns within their marketplace for sustained revenue.

How many businesses whether B2B or B2C are still glued to those strategies even in crisis?

 

When setting out crisis objectives for digital, visualise them as the guidepoints awakening a new direction within your product or service being beneficial and reassuring for distressed or panicky consumers within the economy.  Your ideal customer or client express more frugality within their buyer behaviour, however this doesn’t mean they’ve stopped purchasing anything.

For example, crisis objectives set for B2C businesses can be:

To promote 3-4 campaigns promoting togetherness and human well-being

To offer discount codes to 50 random email subscribers from customer feedback 

To inspire single parents through weekly lifestyle hacks when raising children through tough times  

 

By reviewing each of these objectives, you can position your product or service within contextual value on digital cleverly; thereby tapping into the human psyche and emotions of potential customers and clients by reassurance and upliftment through your nation’s economic hardship.

The first objective is a perfect opportunity to harness a video on YouTube or a motivational image meme on Instagram or Facebook, whereas objective #2 evidently sets up marketers for an interactive email campaign where you can gather feedback from how you can help your e-commerce customers directly during COVID-19 or any other international crisis.

With objective #3, this can leverage your blog portfolio where you’ll be addressing consumers with potential financial or relationship challenges about how uplifting themselves as a role model towards their offspring in an inevitable yet temporary spin of life.

It’s you that knows how your brand or business operates to survive and capitalise, yet drafted crisis objectives stashed to one side WILL come in handy for maximum effect and profitable remembrance.

 

Select 3 marketing channels with human touch

During hard times of crisis either building or breaking mankind, every online user wants reassurance, satisfaction and clarity of their next move in life.

As the traditional economy faces a temporary pause, your business’ digital economy must start playing its course to adapt to change.  The crisis eras are not like back in late 1930s in the US or early 2000s worldwide; we have more marketing channels and digital communication at our dispense as marketers and businesses.

Analyse your current audience and which online marketing channels they are most responsive to as a human being.  These are the touchpoints you optimise in alignment with a tweaked digital strategy to accustom any crisis conditions, before speaking back humanely to boost one’s morale.

Our team have analysed different marketing channels within our past and up-to-date work within diverse sectors, holding strong beliefs towards social media, email and content marketing as the 3 main digital channels presenting human touch during any economic state.

 

The main goal of social media is to interact and engage with its users by digital nature, allowing people to voice out their opinions liberally without hindrance.  Businesses during any crisis period must position themselves as ‘social initiators‘ of positivity and realism within affected nations and their industry, whilst monitoring their key consumers’ conversations and optimise content to engage and deliver reminiscent results that people, instituitions and other organisations will respect and value at post- crisis period.

However, email and content marketing share one major thing in common for people with uncertainty of a brighter tomorrow; direct communication targeting a direct audience of consumers.

When optimised correctly during any global crisis era, email campaigns embedded with relevant content that inspires or educates can drive great engagement, CTRs and awareness to even newer subscribers if cross-channelled across adaptive landing pages for your business offering.

Whatever the widespread crisis we’re facing in life, never overlook marketing channels with potential to adapt your tone of voice as we’re all humans with digital initiative.

 

Monitor mainstream media’s updates and plan content alleviating negatively

Crisis and negative news

Despite everyday news during any crisis inundating us with negativity, this is your opportunity within your business online to be the ‘positive news reporter‘.

Let’s be real; the news be it BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and so on is almost 3 quarters negative as this is what’s considered interesting and newsworthy to monetise from within the media & broadcasting industry.   As any marketing leader or business pro of today, observe the flaws and resolve with a solution in your industry and other interconnected ones too.

If you hear news about unemployment rates rising = draft a blog about developing high income skills and building a pro’s profile.

News report about crime rates & incidents increasing = Record a video about keeping productive and focusing on personal development (even industry-related if possible) for IGTV, Facebook or YouTube.

News report about companies going into administration = Create a display campaign on Google offering educational courses for start-ups to established brands on crisis & financial management and survival know-how.

 

People may not be converting into customers or clientele from such content creation overnight, yet you’re delivering something different back to your community with the millions of eyes turning to the internet for pain alleviation, predictions and solutions during an economic crisis.

 

Evaluate performance and adjust accordingly for Future crisis

With crises happening every 10 years or so, it’s worthwhile as a business owner, founder or director to consider assessing your marketing performance and activity after performing the aforementioned and adjust for any future crisis.

As the world’s economic activity is unpredictable with uncontrollable affairs of life such as health pandemic outbreaks and environmental aftermath from industrious organisations using and exploiting natural resources; our industries are interlinked within how people make their livelihood.

If your crisis marketing campaigns may resort in laying off employees or downsizing, consider keeping your digital presence for profitability alive by hiring a few influencers with prominent impact; or even getting in touch with a creative marketing agency as secondary manpower.

By evaluating your digital activity and marketing operations in the marketplace, you fortify your business’ positioning to become recession-proof whilst also conserving your budgetary power and expenses.

 

Crisis may affect everybody at that particular time, yet don’t allow crisis to affect your bread-and-butter to the table as a marketer and active business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Video: Planning

Last week we have discussed the importance of understanding the video and how people use variety of things together to create an ambience that pulls a viewer in (alongside some examples). What I want to bring up today is even more important, yet rarely discussed and widely ignored by people who are starting out: planning.

Before we start, let me address one issue, there is nothing wrong with improvisation and the “spirit of the moment”, but those will come way easier when you have planned before. The idea is brutally simple if you have planned for most of the video already, the unexpected moments are much easier to deal with. Whether it is a spark of creative energy or equipment malfunction.

Let’s tackle them step by step:

  1. Message and feeling

Now I am going to sound like a broken record yet once more: “CHECK YOUR AUDIENCE & WHAT MESSAGE THEY RESPOND TO?”. This includes any stats, info, pen portraits, season, feeling, client’s wishes and so on. Not to sound ominous, but if you at least don’t keep this in mind, you will fail.

So, with Christmas advertising long done and launched we are focusing on other things coming up. Mostly, the spring and summer stuff, but let’s pause on Christmas. Jolly seasons can be one of the toughest shoots you will ever do (especially if you are shooting outside). At this time you need to convey a certain feeling and the cheer of the world. Despite how good it looks at the end trust me it can be a gruelling experience. The weather has to become your friend not your enemy. Let’s be honest don’t you think Christmas as soon as you see snow (just look at John Lewis Snowman advert OOH gets me every time).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N8axp9nHNU

  1. Script & Strips (reel, comic, line or whatever else people call it)

No here is a fun thing, to me this is “chicken and the egg” situation, which comes first. I prefer to have a script first, so I roughly understand what shots to use, how to position the characters better etc. Some people are the opposite, do the scenes first figure out the moves later. My advice is start using my way, because generally it is easier (and it is the right way).

Here is a rough mock-up I did for one of mine “free time” projects.

Scene 1: Car Upside down after a crush. Screaching sounds and a man in pain.

Car upside down

Scene 2: Flash back to how we got there. Two young lads walking to a car discussing the night after a couple of drinks.

Walk to the car

Scene 3: Following the car from the back (3rd person view). The driver (one of the friends) gets annoyed with a car in front for obbeying the speed limits.

Swerve

Scene 4: After the crush is repeated quickly we cut to a hospital corridor where one of the guys is summoning the courage to go inside the hospital room.

Scene Hospital Corridor

Scene 5: When he finally enters, viewer sees a guy in a wheel chair looking out of the window. Close up to the lips and chin of the guy who walked in.

“Hi, I am … sorry”

Inside patient room

Scene 6: Cut to black, logo and slogan appear (dead silence)

  1. Equipment

Now I am first in line of people who will say you can shoot a great video on your iPad. However, for some projects this may simply not be enough. So, before you venture out there, plan what will you take and when will you use it.

  1. Actors, products, places

Now here is where all the preparation comes in. If you have worked hard on stage 2, this will be easy, as you will have a very clear idea of what to do next. This will include all the locations and what people have to look like. Of course, you will rarely be able to find exactly what you were looking for, but at least you will come close because of the work done.

Now actors, as you grow you will be able to hire models, actors etc., but for now try to stick to your friends or aspiring “Instagrammers” (yes very easy to find there and cheap). When looking for actors make sure you know what you want them to look like and what role to play. Maybe give them examples or even exercises to do. If it is a lady, make sure to specify the make-up too. Will save loads of time.

Products, well, relatively simple. Make sure you ask your client for at least 3 samples of whatever you will be shooting. Additionally you might want to learn a few  “fake” product tricks (Please let me now in comments and I will either write a blog about it or message you directly).

  1. Shoot dates (organising people and weather)

Now we come to the painful bit, making sure everyone and everything is available. Now in the full professional shoot that wouldn’t be a problem you hire actors and models, you say they come. But unfortunately, you are not there yet. So my advice prepare a week in advance and make sure (during the week) everyone sticks to the plan.

The worst moment is when you have to shoot in a particular weather. Unless you know your way around AfterEffects & PremierePro (or powerful enough alternatives), you will need to wait. This especially puts more pressure on you and your crew, as everyone has to be available as soon as the rain, snow etc. hits.

To sum up this week’s video idea there are three words: “Plan for everything”. If do your planning in advance you will free up so much time to improvise and add a few different angles to your shoot that you might have not thought of doing before.

This is it for video advice this week, but look out for next week’s blog on actual shooting and editing to make your final video shine.

The 3 Key objectives of a Content Marketing plan

3 means unity

Ever find yourself stuck on what’s your content’s purpose?

You may be creating the greatest, most engaging content or emulating the latest digital trends; yet content marketing is about targeting and giving back.

Picture, video, blog or even the hyper live-streamers – your content must be planned strategically for your long-term goals, not frivolously for the sake of it.

This sounds obvious for many experienced content marketers, however when drafting a content marketing plan; there are 3 key objectives both beginners and established must follow:

 

  1. To Educate

 

They say ‘education is the passport to the future’.

In class

If that’s the case, make your passion the next digital country everyone flies to and resides in.

Creating content that educates must be a prime goal to achieve amongst your audience as this represents your market positioning online.

Every consumer seeks valuable information for their needs online nowadays.

What stops you from positioning yourself as the expert then?

 

Beyond the SERPs of other track-record pros and famous publishers, you too can educate with your content marketing.

Always consider that within your industry and career aspirations; there’s always someone out there across the world that listens, engages with and values your opinion, writing and media style online.

Plan and educate your customers and fan base with an unforgettable digital footprint that serves informative value they’d be thankful for later on.

 

  1. To Inspire

How do you leave an impression on your fans, potential customers or clients?

What message are you seeking to impart upon someone?

 

Great content marketing leaves the receiver motivated to act upon consumption.

Whatever media you choose, aspire to adapt your message towards your recipient’s thinking on how to improve themselves.

Once your audience acknowledges that from a compelling life meme on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or even the popular 3-5 mins video on YouTube; you’ve met your goal to inspire and deliver.

Yet as the content marketer, true inspiration is mutual once your outreach receives positive feedback based on the productive results they’ve achieved from your content marketing’s impact.

Any dedicated content planner ‘sets up to lift up’ their audience through funny and thought-provoking stories, life experiences, wins and failures of their journey, and a genuine character online.

 

  1. To Acquire

Acquisition is juicy

 

One of the most crucial objectives every content marketing plan must achieve – to squeeze and taste the juice!

You don’t spend time, effort and even money at times to produce content for no returns

Subscribers, fans, customers and warm leads – everyone has a desired goal of HOW MANY or WHO to acquire when meeting their goals across digital.

 

Depending on your content choice, which approach works best from past experiences, and what’s required as profitable to you; your call-to-action is your final tool of ‘slurp-a-sition.’

You never drink a smoothie or milkshake without a straw right?

Your call-to-action is a trusted method to obtain, quench and refresh.

 

Provide a call-to-action to ease your prospects online and ensure it doesn’t ask too much of them.

As long as you state purpose within your content, address their needs and keep consistent; the meaningful prospects across your online marketing channels and within your targeted audience will be acquired.

Bottoms up content marketers!

 

Drop us a comment on how important these key objectives are for your content marketing plan.

Our C-45 team looks forward to your thoughts!