“Why should I pay YOU to learn MY business and create a marketing strategy?”

Large outdoor space with a road on the right side and a sign in the middle saying “Amateur” (pointing left) and “Professional” (pointing right), signifying the clear path created by a professional marketing plan
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You know your marketing strategy is solid.

I mean, sure — most of your boosted social media posts are struggling to gain traction and your lead conversion rate has been declining, but that’s just because of the economy. 

And when you Google your company website, it takes a few different searches to get there, but you always do eventually!

Well… and your blog posts don’t have comments. But nobody’s do, right?

If one or all of these signs hit too close to home, it’s probably because your marketing strategy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Now, I want to be clear about one thing: I’m really excited that you’re thinking about marketing strategy at all. Seriously! Many companies don’t even consider a marketing strategy, so I applaud you for being a step ahead! 

“But just because you have a marketing strategy in place doesn’t mean it’s an effective one.”

This is a problem I encounter a lot when talking with potential clients. Business owners dismiss the idea of allowing us to create a professional marketing plan because they assume they already have one in place, so they simply want us to take over the daily marketing operations.

I want to do more than that. Before spending a dime from your marketing budget, I want to ensure that every cent is being poured into effective tools that are fulfilling a specified purpose. 

That’s why I’ve created this list of the four signs of an amateur marketing strategy

So let’s get into it! 

Sign #1: If it’s just in your head, it’s not a real strategy

A lot of business owners think they’ve already created and implemented a marketing strategy, but they really haven’t. They just have ideas in their head of what they want to do and where they want to go. Here’s the harsh reality, my friend — if it’s not documented and it’s only in your head, you don’t have a real strategy. 

A lot of business owners think they’ve already created and implemented a marketing strategy, but they really haven’t. They just have ideas in their head of what they want to do and where they want to go. Here’s the harsh reality, my friend — if it’s not documented and it’s only in your head, you don’t have a real strategy. 

(Just like how in high school, if you had a girl on your mind but didn’t actually ask her out, you didn’t actually have a girlfriend.)

Now, if you’re working with a marketing agency but don’t want to pay for strategy because you like the one in your head, that’s fine! But before it becomes a real strategic plan of action, you have to: 

  1. Write it down
  2. Share it to your team
  3. Implement your plan
  4. Measure and track it’s progress

Once that happens, you can provide your documented strategy to the agency you’re interested in, and I would recommend that you ask for their feedback.

Having your strategy written down allows your whole team to get on the same page with the company’s marketing goals and the roadmap you’ve created to achieve them. Without a written document to reference, miscommunication and a misalignment of purpose will abound. 

I truly understand that not all businesses can afford a marketing strategy, particularly when they’re in the early stages of company growth. And though non-professional marketers attempting a DIY marketing strategy can create setbacks for your business, I will take a non-professional DIY marketing plan that’s written down over a professional one that isn’t any day of the week.

Sign #2: You’re asking a specialist to be a strategist

Depending on who you delegate the task of creating your marketing strategy to, you’re most likely handing the job to someone with a narrow view of marketing. 

For example, they may be experienced with navigating Facebook and Instagram, but they have no idea how to handle face-to-face sales. Or they could be incredible salesmen that struggle to understand which marketing analytics are relevant for your business. 

This narrow-minded viewpoint simply boils down to having little or no experience in the vast industry of marketing.

Sign #3: You’re repeating yourself, you’re repeating yourself

You may dismiss the idea of a professional marketing plan because you feel that you’re the only person qualified to create a marketing strategy for your business. And that’s a valid point — you know your business and clientele better than anyone else. 

But without a professional marketing plan in place that’s documented and regularly shared with your team (remember Sign #1?), you’re the only one who can do the hard work of implementing your marketing strategy. That means you’re going to have to repeat yourself every time you have a new hire, talk to new vendors, or seek out new clientele. 

Maybe you’re Superman, but speaking as a small business owner myself, I know I don’t have time for that. That’s not streamlined or scalable, and the need to be in sole control is actually going to be a major barrier in working with any marketing professional, whether they are in-house or outsourced. 

Sign #4: You can’t commit

If you feel powerless to resist the whims of every new marketing fad (creating a blog, podcast, and Tik Tok account) because someone said to, you’re not implementing tools for a predetermined purpose. You’ll use a new marketing approach for a while, get discouraged when you don’t see the results you paid for, then abandon it for the next tool that hits the market. 

“This is what causes many companies to waste time, money, and energy on an ineffective approach that ultimately leads to discouragement with the concept of marketing altogether.”

So now that we know the problems an amateur marketing strategy creates, how does a professional marketing plan actually solve them? 

It’s professional — not inexperienced — to start with strategy

Group of racially diverse professionals huddled around a table working on a professional marketing plan

I often get the impression that many potential clients feel like developing a marketing strategy is a marketing agency’s way of trying to look smart. Somehow, it’s viewed as a sign of inexperience rather than professionalism. 

But here’s the reality! If you’re talking to an agency that wants to begin their services with a professional marketing plan, that’s a huge sign of integrity, especially if they don’t specialize in your industry niche. Here’s why: 

  1. It proves they want to provide quality work for your company. 
  2. It demonstrates that they want to learn about your business even though they may not have a full understanding of it initially. 
  3. It shows they value long-term results over short-term flash. 
  4. It confirms their priority is to maximize your company’s resources. 

In fact, if the marketing agency you’re considering doesn’t begin with strategy, I advise you to run (not walk) away from that encounter! 

Creating a professional marketing plan is an agency’s way of doing their due diligence for your business. It protects you from being misled by their lack of knowledge regarding your industry and target audience. To sum it all up, a professional marketing plan brings you and your agency to an honest agreement of where your marketing focus needs to be. 

When you need help developing your marketing strategy, we’re here.

If you don’t already know that I run a marketing company called 8 Signal… I run a marketing company called 8 Signal! To be clear, this isn’t a plug for you to hire my team. Instead, I’m here to highlight the professionalism that we and our network of amazing marketing colleagues value in this industry.

We work hard to perfect the craft of creating a professional marketing plan that’s best for your business. Not every social media platform, marketing metric, or industry tool is a good fit for your business. It’s our job to help companies like you find the purpose behind your marketing efforts in order to point you to the right tools. 

And it doesn’t stop there! We go a step further and stay on top of the latest marketing techniques and technologies for two reasons: 

  1. To keep our clients a step ahead of their competition.
  2. To see if marketing innovations align with our client’s goals and objectives. If they don’t, we don’t want them wasting money on shiny (but irrelevant) new marketing objects! 

I recognize that marketing strategy is expensive and that too many businesses have been burned by painful experiences dealing with previous marketing agencies. But that’s why I’m so passionate about marketing strategy! A professional marketing plan protects your business from wasting money on irrelevant marketing tools and techniques, even if you have someone else implement it.

If you’re still not convinced that marketing strategy is the right starting place for you, you’re not the only one! In my next blog post, I’m unpacking some honest, valid concerns that a prospect of mine brought up not long ago about the risks on investing in marketing strategy.

If you have more questions or concerns about creating a professional marketing plan, I’d love to personally connect with you. Schedule a free assessment with me and let’s talk!