Tim Downey is the co-owner of Suite 104 Productions, a full-service marketing firm. Downey’s firm helps small businesses and non-profits with their marketing and advertising needs and specializes in budget-friendly, custom, creative concepts for a company’s physical and digital marketing needs.
(Photo courtesy of Tim Downey)
What should a small business look for in hiring a marketing firm?
I would make sure the marketing firm has experience and references for working with a business that may be similar to the small business in size and budget. It is important to select a firm with a wide spectrum of services that the small business needs. The more services a firm can provide, the more mileage the small business can get out of their budget. So much of the creative content a marketing firm creates for the small business will be multipurpose, i.e. used on their website, social media, presentation materials and of course, advertising. Moreover, it also ensures continuity as it relates to the small business’s message, design, content and color pallet. I think a strong interpersonal relationship with the marketing firm’s owners and/or your creative rep at the firm is an absolute must. Comfort and trust are extremely necessary while working closely with each other to benefit the business.
What kinds of services does your company provide that other marketing firms do not?
Suite 104 Productions being a full-service marketing firm provides a wide spectrum of services, but to highlight something that my partner Roger and I believe sets us apart and is a key component to us getting new clients and maybe, more importantly, retaining current clients is our willingness to do whatever it takes. Examples would be flexible hours for meeting with the client — weekend and evenings, meeting at their store, etc. Remember they are running a business too and working around their schedule is important, offering no interest payment plans to suit their budget, doing some task and services for free because they will help the client, even meeting with their bankers or lenders to discuss the services we will provide to grow the business and helping with sale projections so they can get the financing they need.
If a small business has limited funds for marketing, where should they put their money to reap the biggest benefit?
Without a doubt, it would be a quality custom designed, mobile device interactive, image and video saturated website. Statistics now show us that over eight out of ten purchases for goods and services in the United States of America start with an internet search. If a business does not have a website, integrated with quality social media and constantly changing content, they will struggle to find customers and success while experiencing a much higher rate of failure. In most cases a website is as important as your brick and mortar location if not more so. Prospective customers use your website to establish your credibility. If a prospective customer knows or has heard of your business but cannot find your website, they will not patronize your business. If a customer finds your website and it is not current and viable, and they do not find written or video testimonials raving about your goods or services, you will likely not get their business.
This article was written by Robin D. Everson of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.