A client recently connected me with his marketing person, hoping we’d work together directly. I had a number of questions for her. She seemed to be offended by the questions and rather than answer them, she sent a bunch of emails trying to throw me under the bus. Before we even worked together. Classy! I don’t take kindly to games and misdirection, so I called her out on it. And you can imagine how that went.
Why would she react so strongly to an email with questions? Because in my opinion (and you can disagree), some marketing and SEO consultants hope you will never ask these questions. Marketing and SEO can sometimes be bottomless pits of investment. Did they work? Not sure. Why aren’t we sure? What are we tracking?
Make this easy for yourself by asking the right questions.
Here’s basically what I emailed her to ask:
- What are you tracking in this campaign?
- (This particular marketing campaign was going to be a contest via social media shares so I also wanted to ask) Do we know what customers or sales will come from these social shares? Will we be able to identify key influencers after the contest has run its course?
- How will you be able to tell the difference between sales and new customers this contest generates vs. sales and new customers that might be generated some other way (like SEO efforts)?
- Do we have a baseline for how many new customers and $sales$ [client] tends to make in a week?
- What are you defining as success criteria for this campaign? How much per week, month, date range would [client] have to see in sales, customers, or something else above his baseline?
- What other ways are you measuring success vs failure of a campaign?
These are absolutely fair questions that you should feel comfy asking marketing consultants, SEO guys, and other people you bring in. Ask these or appropriate variations of them. Also notice that I didn’t tell her how to define success, what the goals should be, or what she needs to track. I asked what her plan is.
Because without these answers, how will you know what’s working, what’s not working, how, or why?
How will you know what kind of marketing campaign to try next if you don’t have a way to measure what worked or an agreed-upon definition of what success would look like?
Without these agreed upon (and hopefully in writing), marketing and SEO can end up a money pit where consultants tell you we’ll just have to keep doing it, try it again, try something different, etc… Your consultant might keep getting paid to generate reports, analyse data, and advise on next steps. But how will you really know if goals are met if you never agree on goals?
I lose a lot of trust for someone who won’t answer ANY of these questions, not a one. In addition to that, this person tried to make me look bad to the client in emails she sent him privately (that he let me know about) as well as emails that went between us on which the client was copied. She did a few other dirty things too that she was probably hoping I wouldn’t notice. I’m the type of person that watches the hand the magician doesn’t want you watching.
I’m definitely never in the mood to watch a consultant fleece my client by wanting to run untracked marketing campaigns that have no goals and no definition of success or failure. You have a right to quality consultants. If they won’t answer these questions, take your business elsewhere. There are plenty of marketing people out there who will answer these questions and work with you to craft goals and definitions of success.