Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dear Outdoor Companies - Your "Agency" May Be Costing You a LOT of Money...

Dear shooting, hunting and outdoor related companies… Your marketing agency may be costing you money. 

Lots of it. 

 Dear agencies that operate in the shooting hunting and outdoor industry… You are losing a ton of money for you and your clients… 

 You know, just when I think I can't be more surprised about something, something happens that brings me another paradigm shift. 
We are several weeks out from the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade show (the SHOT Show)  where I personally met with hundreds of people representing numerous businesses, agencies, manufacturers, and other related professionals. 
 Many people know that I work as a freelance marketing consultant, but what many are not aware of is that I regularly refer clients to marketing agencies and am often referred to an agency by a prospective client. 

 Last year those referrals from me were worth somewhere in the $200,000-$300,000 range. 

 I don't know about you, but to me that's a fair amount of money. 

 Imagine my surprise, then, when emails and messages to multiple agencies have not been returned despite numerous attempts to contact. 

 I also find that the "crossover" agencies ( The ones that are mainly in the "green" space but cross over to "hook and bullet") are often the biggest violators to this protocol.  
 Now, the particular agency in this example is not one of those types, and is one that I have known and that certainly knows me. 
 I never intentionally try and get anybody into trouble, but there comes a point where my due diligence in contacting you has been done. 

 I'll always do my best to never waste anyone's time- therefore, I expect the same in return. 

My last message to agencies that don't answer several contacts are similar to, "I reached out to you several times as a professional courtesy. If this is not the proper protocol, I can go back to dealing direct with XYZ company."

 Another huge mistake agencies make is being threatened by anyone or anything that comes to speak with their clients. 
In the few situations where I work as a marketing consultant with a company or I work with a private client, I owe it to them to perform due diligence on any opportunities they have to make money. I have a rule of thumb – I never, ever recommend to stop doing something that makes money or to not to do something that will make money. 

That is regardless of whether I another entity provides it. 

That's keeping my clients best interests always in mind. 
I recently, at the request of the client, sent some information to an agency regarding some newsletter and blog products that I represent.  I also copied the client so that he knew I had done as asked.  
Now, even I get ahead of myself sometimes and make errors – and in this case switched two numbers around- Page views, and unique viewers. (and in my defense, I was simply repeating what I was told over the phone but it is ultimately my responsibility.) 

 This marketing agency representative replied to me within 15 minutes with an email basically "calling me out" on my numbers – asking for validity because he couldn't find that kind of traffic and that the actual traffic was XXX… And he also copied the client. 

I guess we both know he considers me a threat, even though I'm not. 

Now, being in the marketing and advertising world, everybody knows that it is extremely simple to check the estimated traffic numbers on any website- therefore, we all use the actual numbers. The numbers for this product or actually quite impressive. 
I responded to this representative that he was correct, I had mixed the numbers, and that the portion that we were speaking of was "bonus" traffic, anyway, as we did not price nor calculate our cost per thousand based on the blogs. 
 I received no response to that message that day. 

Nor did I receive a response the next day. 
Or the day after that – or to the message I just sent today, one week later, to ask if something had perhaps happened to him. 

Now, it's obvious that this person is either 1. Threatened by me speaking with his client (and if that's the case, then he probably should be.) or, 2.  Doesn't like to make money.

You see, and I have no problem paying referral fees for people that bring me business. That's just smart business. 
 I have another situation that also sounds fairly ridiculous when it's brought into the open. I met a company that the try and Buy show prior to SHOT Show that wanted to set up a meeting with me  to discuss some of the content marketing options I have. 
 As a courtesy, I reached out to their agency via email with an introduction and let them know that I had met with one of their clients and that I wanted to get on the phone with them because I work with numerous agencies in referring them business. 
 I actually sent two emails – one to each founding partner of the company. 
 Three days later I made a phone call and left a message for each of them. 
Nothing but crickets since then. 

 In the meantime, there are potentially thousands of dollars waiting for them and their clients to just go and get because they simply want to pick up the phone or return a courteous message. 

I learned long ago from several different business mentors that simply picking up my phone, returning phone calls, and replying to emails even if I didn't think I needed what was offered for my or my client's business was an easy path to success. 

What do you think about the protocol of "response in kind?"

Do you always return phone calls and emails? 
Are you open to new ways for your clients to make money, even if it doesn't always benefit you directly? 

 I do, and I am, and it has always served me well. 

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