This is where many businesses that are new to marketing fail: they are not disciplined about how they manage their marketing implementations. You need to be able to give yourself the best chance as a business owner to see the best results.

Here are 10 tips for best practice in marketing, based on experience over the last year:
  1. As the business owner, if you are too busy to provide quick feedback on marketing activities, make sure you assign a project manager to drive the process for you and to act as your central point of contact, to liaise with outside agencies and avoid delays.
  2. Always make sure that your requirements are in writing. Marketing is 'fluffy' enough as it is, and it is crucial to make sure all requirements are clearly stipulated for all to see.
  3. Understand the scope of work for any project and make sure that everyone understands what is included and excluded from a creative project. This is to ensure that costs and timings are adhered to.
  4. Allow for enough time to do proper work; work that requires creativity can't be rushed.
  5. Always start with a plan. Create a plan with SMART objectives and make sure the plan is followed and closely tracked. This will avoid delays and last-minute changes.
  6. Keep communication free-flowing and consider using a cloud-based tool to ensure that everyone has a line of sight of a project and can keep track of communication. Report on marketing project progress on a weekly basis and track marketing results on a monthly basis to allow for quick changes.
  7. Limit the number of outside suppliers that you work with because it becomes increasingly difficult to manage them and build a cohesive, focussed brand.
  8. Know what you want and don't let your suppliers dictate terms. Make it a joint effort and ensure that everyone works towards the same goals.
  9. Understand where you are as a company before you bring in an outsourced marketing department. First, try to do stuff internally before you go outside. Marketing is ultimately a business function, like any other, and should ideally be housed inside the business.
  10. When deciding to use an outside agency, pay careful attention to their advice. They, after all, professionals, but don't be afraid to challenge and insist on clear explanations that you understand. 
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*Image courtesy of Firejuice