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How To Choose A Marketing Consultant For The Wholesale Consumer Electronics Industry For A Small Business With A Small Budget

Memphis Tennessee, April 27 – If you’re in the wholesale consumer electronics industry, finding a good experienced marketing consultant or public relations consultant will have a profound effect on the future of your business. This is particularly true if your marketing budget is small.

Too often, choosing one is a matter of chance, such as their proximity to you. In this age of the Internet, Instant messaging, Cell Phones and Video conferencing, the value of proximity is over-rated. On the surface, most agencies look alike. But scratch the surface and you will find some dramatic differences in philosophy, ability and in their experience in the wholesale consumer electronics industry of the agency and account executive assigned to you, especially if you have a small marketing budget.

Why is your account manager so important? He (or she) is the pipeline through which all information flows in both directions, into the agency from you and him, to his support team and back to you. His experience, ability, knowledge of your market, dedication and availability determine the success of your marketing investment and the ultimate cost to you.

Junior account execs (in training) are salesmen and hand-holders and deliver to you what they are told to sell. They have to start earning their wings some place. Unfortunately it is at your expense.

For those of you who have not found out already the hard way what it is like to be a small account at a large agency or work with a small agency with a very limited number of experienced account executives, I want you to know how dealing with an agency really works.

Whether you hire a large agency with hundreds or even thousands of employees, or a medium or small sized agency, everything still goes through the account executive they assign to your account, supported by an account supervisor who (on and off) hopefully rides shotgun over him. It is the job of the account executive (also called an account manager) and occasionally his supervisor to…
1. Learn your business, products, competition and markets, if he doesn’t know already.
2. Learn your goals and budgets.
3. Communicate your needs or opportunity to a team the agency assigns you. You do not pick them, the agency does. You would not know who to pick anyway. And a small account does not get their big hitters.
4. Oversee the team progress, get them back in line when they stray off target, and stray they will.
5. Review the time sheets with your name on it. And be sure, the straying also gets logged on your time sheet.
6. Approve or edit their work on your behalf, when they miss the target, again on your nickel.
7. Present to you the agencies work product and sell hard, mostly in the interest of the sale.
8. Integrate your feedback into revisions and hopefully disagree when you are wrong –something that is inherently difficult for an agency account man to do; it is much easier to sell you what you want.
9. See to it that the approved plans are implemented quickly and correctly.
10. Monitor the programs and their effect on your goals.
11. Recommend ongoing changes.
12. Evaluate the results against the expenditure and goals.

And, as far as the creative product goes, advertising is supposed to produce sales, not just win awards, a simple fact that sometimes eludes the creative types at agencies. This only becomes a problem for you, the client, when the creative director gets dazzled by his own creative team enthusiasm for their work product, forgets about the goal and sells it to your account manager. Unfortunately, this happens too often. Sales go down, the agency gets fired, the creative team gets fired, they pull their awards off the wall, go across the street, re-hang them and it starts all over again.

Makes you think you should be interviewing account men who know your business and not agencies, does it not? It should.

If you choose to go the full service agency route, you basically have three choices:

1. Hire A Big Agency: You get the prestige of being a client of one of the biggies, if they are interested in your annual expenditure ($1 Million being the lower limit). What you really get is the heavy weights from the agency for the initial presentation, annual contract renewal presentations and multi-client social events. The rest of the time, if you are lucky, you will get a part-time account executive, whose talents and experience (if they have any in our industry) will be a direct reflection of the size of your account, the money you spend with them.

2. Hire A Regional Agency: One or two steps down in all ways from the big boys.

3. Hire A Small Local Agency: This is where you need to be the most careful. They most likely will not have a heavy-weight account exec with the talent or consumer electronics experience to deal with the challenges facing you or programs you want to implement in our industry, especially PR designed to get you exposure and Website traffic aimed at the right audience.

There is a fourth choice that is decidedly different and better.

4. Hire an account exec, as a marketing consultant, experienced in the wholesale consumer electronic industry, with all the resources and offering all the marketing services needed to get the job done.

Consider the difference before you choose, not after.

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