finding the wayIt has been well said that you should hire your weakness and focus on your strengths, and most of us feel vulnerable in the area of sales and marketing. So it seemed perfectly reasonable that I should get outside help, bring in a marketing “expert” to assist me. I’ve done this twice before, each at a cost of $15,000 (that seems to be the standard starting point for some reason) – and was about to do it again.

Then I realized something. This marketing person knew nothing about my business. I mean absolutely nothing. He had not worked in it, he had not interviewed me about it, had done no analysis of the website or our current marketing, and had no way of knowing whether what we were doing was working or not.

This third marketing professional came along (you’d think I would have learned by now) and gave me a beautifully prepared portfolio of companies he had helped before, testimonials and a somewhat lengthy document about what he intended to do for us. It had eight separate things he would do for us, including rebranding my business, which at four years old has been rebranded twice already!

Other items included setting marketing objectives (we already have some), social media marketing, reworking the website, content creation (we already do this well), radio (we are already on it) and content curation suggestions.

The cost? You guessed it – prices started at $15,000. So here’s my response to his proposal:

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your proposal. I know we need help, and I know we need to market more effectively, but spending $15,000 feels like the dumbest thing I could do right now.

1. Branding

I hate the suggestion of a full rebrand. Imagine telling Coke they need to rebrand! Imagine wanting to rename a product like “WD-40.” Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken. Our brand works fine, thanks. You could however help us ensure our current branding is being used consistently across all channels.

2. Social media and the website

We don’t need help setting up social media sites or learning how to use Hootsuite; we already do all that. You can however help us to improve SEO on our website, use YouTube more effectively and create Facebook ads that actually work. All the money we have spent on Facebook has been wasted.

3. Content creation

Content creation and curation are such soft and unmeasurable terms. We have a great library of images. I write for fifteen magazines, websites and journals. My partner is on radio and TV. We have content. What you could do however is help us with links to and from this content.

4. Pricing

Wow $15,100. I’ve seen that number before. To be honest, you would sleep well at night, and I would feel like it was wasted. We need to see direct, immediate, bottom-line results in the form of increased sales. These sales would need to be trackable, and would have to prove they came as a result of your work.

[Closing and Signature]

As you can see, I stated all my needs and challenges in a clear (you could say blunt) manner.

Do you think he’ll sign up? We shall see, but my money is on him walking away.

I just saved myself $15,000!