Last week, we talked about things to consider between hiring internally and hiring a marketing company in a consulting role.
If you’ve decided that a marketing company is the best option, (or part of it!) your next task is to choose from the many great companies out there.
If you’re in the aviation industry, there are many factors to consider when you’re choosing a marketing company to help you sell more products or services.
Here are four factors we hear about most often from our clients.
1) Does this marketing company specialize in aviation?
There are thousands of marketing companies out there. Some are fantastic for consumer products, products for women, high-tech products or business to business products. Some even specialize in marketing to children or dog owners.
Generally speaking, a “niche marketing company” is ideal because the real challenge in marketing is to capture the ideal prospect’s attention, empathize with his or her problems and priorities, and offer solutions that are very compelling.
Niche specialists are also more familiar with the magazines, trade shows, mailing lists and other advertising venues that are most effective for reaching a particular audience.
Most importantly, they are knowledgeable about key concepts and vocabulary of the industry. They can then speak with authority and authenticity to your ideal prospects and customers. You don’t have to spend a lot of time explaining the basic concepts behind your product or service and why it’s better than competing products to your marketing consultant.
In aviation, this means an aviation marketing company or consultant that knows what you mean when you say a flight school has a FAR Part 61 or 141 certificate. He (or she) is familiar with the sinking feeling when a part or instrument fails in flight; or of the dread of picking up the phone to tell a client that a trip can’t be made on time because an aircraft is unexpectedly out of service or the weather is “bad.”
2) Do they market their own products and services in a way that you can respect?
Do their advertising materials capture attention while respecting the intelligence of their prospects?
Do they provide solid information (whether or not you buy anything) or just slick promises? Do they seem genuinely interested in your challenges before (and after) you sign an agreement?
Are their properly targeted, or do you feel like you’re being “spammed” or “shotgunned?”
Do they use a variety of media (postcards, trade shows, emails, SEO, webinars, etc.) for different purposes; or are they a “one trick pony” that tries to accomplish every task with the same tool?
3) How do they rank? (Among similar marketing companies.)
While no metric is a perfect indicator of how they will perform, it’s good to do some homework and “due diligence.” For example, if you’re looking for someone to manage your online presence, look up their own domain name on these two free tools to see how they stack up.
Rather than simply numbers, Klout measures “influence”
Influence is the ability to drive action, such as sharing a picture that triggers comments and likes, or tweeting about a great restaurant and causing your followers to go try it for themselves. Social actions are a signal that friends and peers in your social networks have been influenced by your content.
As an example, when ABCI is looking for “influencers” on a particular topic for marketing research purposes, we look for a Klout score greater than 50.
Here are several of the factors we track for our clients and their competitors. We listed the key aviation marketing companies and their standing on several factors explained below.
- Alexa Traffic Rank is a ranking of the most popular websites on the Internet. (#1 gets the most traffic, highest number gets the least.) This is determined by the Alexa system. (You can see the Alexa rank for your own site by entering your domain name in the search window on www.Alexa.com
- Linking Domains are a measure that Google and other Search Engines use to determine how “important” a website might be. The more links to your site from others, the better.
- Facebook Fans are a measure of how actively this company interacts with customers and thought leaders on Facebook, which is the largest social media network.
- Twitter Followers – While a social media platform that only allows for 140 characters may seem trivial, most of the largest players in the aviation industry use Twitter extensively. Twitter has some of the best high-volume data search tools. Marketing companies used to pay for subscriptions to obtain the kind of data provided by Twitter!
- LinkedIn is ABCI’s best social media resource for connecting with the specific decision-maker on any given aviation topic.
Of course, quality over quantity is a VERY important factor, but quality is more difficult to analyze quickly from publicly available data.
4) Do they have a system that works with what you current have and use?
If you’ve been in business for awhile, you already know quite a bit about your customers, prospective customers, competitors and product.
- Does the marketing company take that knowledge into account?
- Do they listen and respect your experiences and ideas?
- Do they have an analysis process (such as ABCI’s Flight Plan process) or do they insist on “starting from scratch?”
- Do they use a CRM and marketing process that integrates with the technology and processes you have already invested in?
- Do they integrate well with sales systems and training you’ve already invested in?
ABCI’s Long Cycle Marketing System integrates well with sales and marketing systems that are in widespread use.
- We use InfusionSoft’s award-winning CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. We attend annual training to maintain our Infusionsoft Expert status.
- Our marketing system integrates well with the Sandler Sales Training system. Sandler is one of the most respected providers of sales training programs for Fortune 1000 companies. We’ve partnered with the local Sandler Training Center where Mike Neklason provides sales assessments and consultations with us.
Naturally, some of these factors will be more important to you than others.
And of course, the most important factor is leadership. Can you trust this marketing companyto provide the leadership required to help you set and achieve your marketing and sales goals?
We heard a definition that we really like:
Leadership = Competence + Character.
This article is an example of our marketing.
We provide solid information on which prospects can make good decisions; and we put that information where prospects are most likely to find it and act on it.
If marketing leadership is what you’re looking for, find a convenient time on our calendar and let’s talk about your marketing challenges and objectives.