Beyond The Buzz

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

– Ray Bradbury

Good Reputation or Name Dropping?

Published April 13th, 2011 in Marketing, Our Blog | Comments Off on Good Reputation or Name Dropping?

The next step in our series on burned out clients involves company reputation. Not your company’s reputation. The marketing people you’ve hired.  (Our previous blog entry in this series covered social media marketing. Check it out here.)

A lot of companies bring in new clients based on their previous client list but this can be misleading. Just because someone has worked with a big name client doesn’t mean that they’re a more effective or better marketing company.

Recently a potential new client came to me and asked me to evaluate their marketing message. This included looking over their website, social media and pitch packages.  In looking at what they have ‘out there’ I came to a really fast conclusion. Their message lacked cohesion. The website was clean and simple, but not effective for providing the correct information. Social media didn’t ‘match’ the website and if someone were looking this company up, they could end up in several different places online, each with their own distinct message. Unfortunately, none of those messages was the one that the client wanted to convey.

When I spoke on the phone with the owner of this company, she agreed wholeheartedly with everything that I had to say.  There was an immediate connection and within minutes, we’d come up with some feasible goals both long and short term for the company. She then asked me to submit a proposal for those goals to her. The following day I did and I got an immediate reversal of interest.

Why? Well, after we had spoken on the phone, she went back and checked all of their spending on marketing in recent months and it had added up to over $30,000. When I asked what she’d received for this amount, she told me that she’d received a website and that her offices were filled with marketing materials (business cards, letter heads, custom printed folders, etc.) but she wasn’t sure what she needed to do with them or if anyone at the company would even have the time to do anything with them, let alone handle the potential responses that would come from sending out these pitch packages. I was stunned. This amount of money would fund Beyond the Buzz covering all of your marketing needs for at least six months – if not more. Yet all they received was a website that didn’t work for them and a truckload of marketing materials that they couldn’t use.

The client insisted that the reason they’d hired this company was because they’re ‘branding experts’ and they’ve branded some of the biggest name celebrities, companies and organizations in the country. They had hired the company not based on a solid reputation, but on their previous client list. There is a sense of prestige involved in being able to say that you have the same marketing company as so and so. I admit that. It’s fun to be able to share those names in certain circles. But the reality is that former clients do not create a solid reputation.

If someone begins dropping names of their former clients, the best thing you can do is ask for a reference from those clients. Don’t be dazzled by the celebrity. Follow up and be sure that they actually did a good job for those clients before you write your check.

Next time: Bigger. Is it always better?

Lori Twichell is the owner of Beyond the Buzz Marketing. She is also the Marketing Director for Christian Work at Home Moms and JV Media Design. In her spare time, Lori is co-owner of Radiant Lit and a professional book reviewer for Fiction Addict. Lori and her husband live in San Antonio, Texas with their three kids and two dogs.