A small business marketing resolution

I’ve written recently how I cancelled a small business marketing firm’s contract because my client did not achieve the specifically stated objective of the marketing program which was to show evidence of one lead generated within the first six months of the program. The lead could have been a phone call, an email or an in-person inquiry about the business’ products or services. The details of the goal and how the work would be evaluated were plainly spelled out in the engagement agreement. I actually cancelled the contract after 5 months when it became clear that there was no meeting of the minds over the performance evaluator built into the engagement agreement. The marketer said the program was not designed to be for lead generation; it would take longer and require more investment and more time until it would generate leads. Wrong. Fired. That’s why business contractors and accountants use written contracts with built-in performance indicators.

I’ve also written about the ventures and my impressions gathered in pursuing alternatives to replace the marketing adviser. This led to other recent blog posts on the topic of small business marketing advisers and services. Another accountant commented that the use of the word “guarantee” in a marketing offer does not mean that payments under the eventual business contract will be  contingent on specific results of the offer. He may be right but that’s simply not how I use the word “guarantee”. I’m somewhat baffled that others might think it is OK to use the word “guarantee” when it does not mean financial and legal responsibility for results.

I’m quickly coming to a new resolution about my marketing agreements. All of my past success has been based on partnering with firms (mostly in financial services and construction) under contracts where payments are based on specific performance. I should stick with what I know. I should simply avoid deals like “you pay me but you are financially responsible for the results of my work”.

While I do not yet know how this winning formula can be applied outside of the services I already know, it seems likely that I need to learn.

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