As an advertising professional who has been around for quite some time, I have worked with, coached, and presented to thousands of business owners about the various ways to best market their business.
The one thing that frustrates me is the hesitancy in talking to an agency about marketing, and I get it. So many sharks in the industry aim to make as much money from unsuspecting business owners as possible with no regard for the business owners’ growth or personal wellbeing.
This frustrates me because it takes a super valuable option available to business owners and, for many, puts it into the same realm of perceived honesty as a used ca…. ok let’s not go there.
But you get my drift.
I am not trying to plead the case of agencies but rather work toward the ability to help business owners market their businesses by putting the “how” in their hands with as much integrity as possible. We achieve this by offering a “do you want to market your business yourself, do you want to hire someone to do it for you, or a combination of both?”
I believe that the question is not “do you want to market your business?” because unless you plan on closing your doors, that question is about as useful as tits on a bull.
No, the real question that companies who are genuinely vested in helping small business owners grow should ask is, “how can we best help you?” Can we teach you, can we help you, or would you like us to take it off your hands?
I am a big fan of the second option, which is more of a collaborative approach. It makes an agency more of an extension of your team, and I have almost always seen better results from this partnership level.
I am not a huge fan of businesses taking on their marketing in-house for the same reason we have an accounting firm, PR firm, and so on as an advertising agency. We do what we’re great at and hire people to do the things that we’re not experts at.
We bootstrapped Creatively Disruptive, and I also know that sometimes it’s not that simple. Sometimes the desire is there, but the cash flow isn’t, so as business owners, we need to wear the hats, shoulder the hours and grind out our growth. Those of you who are shaping the future of small business growth by starting new businesses deserve the opportunity to learn how to do it right.
So now we get to the crux of this post. Where can I get the best training as a business owner if that’s the path I want to take?
I see training fall into three categories.
1: Paid Training Courses
These can be good as they are typically not holding back on information. Your goal is to validate whether the course content is current, the experience behind the tutor is from thousands of hours of real-world advertising experience, or is it one of the many methods that sprung up as a result of a single good campaign.
2: Free Courses from Agencies
These too can be good; however, in my experience, these are often missing the key to tying the presented lessons into a genuinely actionable strategy, usually attainable by some transactional engagement with the agency.
3: Paid Courses from Agencies that reveal their entire methodology
Ok, this is a shameless plug for Creatively Disruptive, and other agencies do this too. The best option to learn is from an agency or individual who has clients and markets for them and is willing to share their entire knowledge base with you and keep you updated as it changes.
The only testing you should be doing is on your campaign, not the methodology.
We cannot take every small business owner on as a client; it is physically impossible, and not everyone is a great fit. But we can try and help everyone by making courses available based on what we do every day to grow businesses like yours. We spend millions of dollars annually on advertising, which you can treat as your R&D department. So, how can we help you grow?
Russell Masters, COO of Creatively Disruptive