Maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but every medical office has encountered someone selling something…from pens with your name on them to a (supposedly) full service ad agency. And somewhere in the opening pitch is the assurance that, “It’s guaranteed to work.”
An absolute “guarantee” in marketing and advertising is an obvious red flag. Savvy marketing folks—the professionals who truly know their business—understand that it’s possible to reduce risk and to maximize potential return. But the promise of a “guarantee” shouldn’t fool anyone.
Here are several more signals that the just-can’t-miss ad-man is just blowing smoke. (Your loss is his profit.) It’s best to be skeptical if you hear any of these in a presentation:
“All you really need is a pretty website.” Hint: They're just selling websites. Internet marketing is important, but ‘pretty’ isn’t the test of what will effectively communicate meaningful benefits to your target audience. And a website is one component in a well-rounded plan.
“Let’s just get started with your existing budget.” Translation: “After we get our foot in the door, we’ll figure out how to spend this and more.”
“I can do everything.” Competent advertising and marketing is never a one-person show.
“We can do it cheaper.” You don’t want bargain basement rates or over-priced services.
“We’ll set you up; you don’t have to do anything.” This is a signal for hit-and-run. You’ll likely pay for something that requires hands-on implementation or proper supervision.
“We’re experts in marketing any business.” Claiming to be an expert and a generalist is an oxymoron.
“Why, yes. Of course. Certainly. Yes.” Good chemistry and rapport with the people you hire is a plus, but don’t hire a yes-man and expect things to be different.
“You can’t argue with success. Look at these awards.” Advertising industry awards are for the agency, not for or about the client’s success.
There’s more insight and related reading available in our educational marketing library, including:
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