marketingMarketing and communications can be an area where less experienced consultants and newer agencies are great at “talking the talk” but can’t walk, or even toddle. Although the majority of my tribe are very good at what they do, I’ve had to pick up the pieces for a few solo marketing consultants and PR people who promised more than they could deliver.

If you’re wondering about the effectiveness of your marketing “guru”, or trying to decide whether to hire a communications consultant, here are 6 signs that he or she may not be up to the task:

  1. They take too long to return your email or call. Marketing and public relations tasks require a certain sense of urgency. Most people should return your message within a maximum of 24 hours during the week, unless they’re on vacation or have let you know they’ll be unavailable.
  2. They want to buy tools to do everything. There are quite a few Hubspot or Marketo “partners” out there who really don’t have a lot of experience. If you find they are pushing you to buy a tool right off the bat, this might not be the firm or person for you.
  3. They take a cookie cutter approach to everything. It’s important to have a framework for the way in which you work, but beware a marketer who insists on following a strict marketing methodology. Something may work well for you, but it may not. If it doesn’t, and that’s all the consultant knows, you’ll be in trouble.
  4. They don’t set measurable goals, and don’t report status. You need measurable goals that lead to your desired state, whether it’s a stronger digital footprint, higher sales, more email subscribers, or whatever you want to achieve. If a firm or consultant isn’t willing to set reasonable goals they aren’t worth their salt. On the flip side, be wary of those who promise too much too soon as well. You want the person that sets reasonable goals for you and then reports back on those goals regularly. (Note the emphasis on reasonable – this goes for both customer and consultant.)
  5. They start telling you what you need before asking a ton of questions about your customer, your customer experience or your product or service. These people know how to do one thing and one thing only. Your success relies on a good mix of strategies and tactics – integrated marketing is critical.

Remember, the focus should always be on your customer, and the behavior you need to influence to reach the goals you want.