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Things Nobody Tells You About Marketing

Whether or not you choose to handle your marketing campaign in-house is a major decision for many businesses. There are pros and cons to both methods, but if you are going to take on the task yourself, it’s worth considering these pointers before you discover them for yourself the hard way.

You’re Going To Make Mistakes

If you’re doing this properly, then you won’t have put anything out in public before doing a huge amount of market research. This means looking at the competition, doing surveys of people in the demographic you’re targeting, and arranging focus groups to work out how they feel about your products and the advertising you’ve prepared for it.

This will all help, don’t get me wrong. However, once you get your marketing material out there you’re going to discover a whole lot of stuff you didn’t have a clue about during research. It’s like the difference between testing a design in a laboratory and seeing how it works in the field.

The quickest way to learn is to make mistakes, and you’ll find you have made a lot of them. So be prepared to change your plans on the fly, make adjustments and re-examine your assumptions after your campaign has launched.

Niche Appeal Is Always A Better Target Than Pleasing Everyone

If you target a niche market, you’ll find it easier to work out what they’re looking for in a product, what they care about, and what they want to avoid. If you try to please everyone then your campaign is doomed to be quickly forgotten.

Think carefully about who it is you want to sell to, then devote your energy towards selling it to that person.

Those Nerves You’re Feeling Are Good

Psychologists have observed a phenomenon called the Dunning Kruger effect. It suggests that your confidence is inversely proportional to your competence. Or as Charles Darwin put it “"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."

Basically, if you’re nervous about the way things are going that means you’re being careful. You’re thinking about alternative ideas, second-guessing yourself. If you’re going into this absolutely certain that everything you’ve planned is going to g off like clockwork, well, you’re probably in for a nasty surprise.

However, despite this...

Compromise Is Not The Way Forward

There’s an old joke that says the UK is finally going to switch over to driving on the right hand side of the road, but that we’re going to make the changeover gradually. There are times when Option A will work and there are times when Option B will work, but the correct answer is rarely to go halfway between the two. If you’ve been pursuing one idea, and an alternative is suggested, either stick with what you’re doing or embrace that option whole-heartedly. There are no in-betweens.

It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint

If you follow all this advice, you’re still going to be in for a shock, because your marketing is definitely not going to yield instant results. To do this right, you’ve got to be in for the long haul. Over time you’ll introduce people to your brand, make them familiar with it, and eventually even trust it, but this is a process that happens over years, not weeks.

If you can keep at it, there are rewards to be had. But you’re going to have to hold your breath for quite some time before you know how well you’ve really done.

Of course, another step is to outsource (we’ll be happy to talk through your plans if you drop us a line) or hire some dedicated talent for your team. Whatever you choose though, it’s best to be informed – and good luck!

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When You Should Take Control of Your Recruitment

As a business owner, there’s a constant barrage of things that need your attention. And though hiring new staff may be one of the most important things you can do, it can sometimes be tempting to outsource the whole process when the phone won’t stop ringing.

If you’re in this situation though it’s worth stepping back and considering your options. Here are a few examples of times when recruitment should really be handled by you and your team.

Finding first jobbers

If you are looking to fill an entry-level position, there’s no need to shell out on hiring an agency. Gumtree, local newspaper advertising, the Job Centre and nearby universities are all much cheaper alternatives, and given the current economic climate, you’re most likely to be inundated with enquiries.

Of course, you may find that you won’t want to sift through a pile of badly written CVs. But an agency – especially one of the big high street names – will pretty much be doing that for you and little else. At this level they’ll be looking at volume of placements over spending real time on finding you the perfect employee. If you haven’t read the small print, this could cause real problems for you further down the line if you need to get rid of someone that isn’t right for your company.

When you have the tools

For small business this can be a substantial and unnecessary cost. If you have a HR department, they should be more than capable of sourcing and handling these enquiries, even if some extra software may be required. But the chances are that even if you don’t, there’s a host of ways you can handle the search process yourself.

The Internet is now by far the most common way for peoples to find jobs. There are numerous sites such as Monster, Fish4Jobs and Totaljobs that can provide much the same service as an agency for a fraction of the cost. Whichever method you choose, remember to put together your own database of candidates for any future vacancies that may crop up.

Don’t underestimate word of mouth either. If you have a social media presence, then make the most of it. Get your staff to share the job spec too – you’ll be amazed at how far it may reach.

When your image really matters

No matter what an agency says, there are unlikely to understand your company and its values as well as you do. You know your business and everything it stands for better than anyone else, so handing over such a visible part of it as recruitment can be disastrous. All it takes a prospective employee taking to Twitter or Facebook after being badly treated by a recruitment consultant to heavily damage your brand.

Obviously, there’s no guarantee that handling all this in-house will avoid these issues altogether. But by taking control of the process yourself at the very least you will be made aware of them sooner and be able to act accordingly. And, again, there’s the substantial reduction in costs.

 

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