Beware of specialist, tactical companies disguised as strategic marketing advisors. While these firms provide important components within strategic marketing initiatives, relying on them for comprehensive marketing advice may put your marketing strategy at risk.
Effective marketing deployment includes the use of many tools: automated marketing systems, social media tools, real-time bidding platforms, etc. Each has its place within your marketing strategy. However, strategic marketing requires broad tactical and strategic development through comprehensive analysis, planning, and measurement. Specialist companies typically have limited visibility into your marketing strategy. Since tactical teams have a much narrower view, they make poor marketing advisors.
For example, search engine marketers provides a channel for your messaging. But deploying SEM cannot translate to sales unless there is effective engagement following the search. This is not typically the domain of search marketers. They are each only a component used to execute a larger mission. It would be impossible to expect your SEM vendor to understand or operate on the whole system.
Marketing automation vendors provide essential tools that are designed to lower marketing costs and enhance lead management practices. However, the use of technology is optimized only when a clearly defined marketing strategy has been developed. Technology companies are primarily focused on product development and troubleshooting, therefore, those vendors often have minimal resources devoted to developing marketing strategies for their customers.
Tools used to measure marketing performance are essential to supporting your marketing strategy. These tools should be deployed in order to amend and sustain your strategy. But performance analytics are limited in scope to providing results of existing campaigns. The companies that develop analytics are not created to provide strategic counsel once metrics have been delivered.
Although specialist, tactical companies provide important components for your marketing practices, we recommend engaging a company that is built to provide strategic market analysis, multi-system integration, and unbiased counsel of existing marketing tools. Tasks such as requirements gathering, application integration, data integration, and process engineering cannot be adequately handled by a tactical vendor. Very few specialist companies have the focus, resources, and expertise to deliver the broad support required to develop and maintain a comprehensive marketing strategy.
At the end of the day, marketing results don't come from the tools used to generate web traffic or automated marketing tasks or measure your marketing performance; results are driven by the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. And that strategy cannot (and should not) be developed by tactical vendors.