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Beware of the Fake Marketer

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Imagine if someone with zilch professional experience and zero qualifications operated a business in your area of expertise claiming they were an industry expert. Better still, you meet them at a function and they have no shame in telling you who they are and what they do.

Are you seething at just the thought of it?

This is how I feel each time I meet someone with a made-up job title, who has worked their way around sales or managerial roles into what they then describe as a “marketing” role.

In short, it makes me irate. Not only because they are taking jobs away from professionals (like me and possibly you), but because they are leaving business owners in the lurch with their second-rate service and incomplete plans. It is just plain rude.

The fakes

I’ve dubbed these individuals (ones with no qualifications and professional experience) as ‘fake marketers’ and I am on a mission to destroy their disguise once and for all. Since their greatest ‘super power’ is deceit, an education campaign is their kryptonite.

To those graphic designers who think they’re marketers, sales professionals who don’t understand the difference between the two and admin assistants who found their way into marketing roles, your time to be exposed is now.

How do they fool us?

Fake marketers rely on the fact that very few people actually know exactly what marketing is and how much time and effort is involved. It’s a complex process and is becoming even more. For example, where was social media ten years ago?

Next time you’re shopping around for a real marketer to help you with your business, run over this checklist to see if they stand the test:

  • They have a brand
  • You believe their branding is effective
  • Their brand is registered
  • There is an obvious business mindedness about them
  • They have discussed social networking as a marketing tool
  • They offer constructive criticism on your marketing plans
  • You have not been asked to pay 100% up front
  • You have not been asked to sign over copyright
  • You have not been asked to sign a long-term contract
  • The price seems realistic

If you can’t tick each of the items on this list, reconsider your choice and start again, because no marketing consultant worth their weight would consider deviating away from any of these things.

It is simply not worth risking your precious time and money when there are many serious professionals out there who would meet not only these criteria, but exceed your expectations with their plans and ideas.

How do we avoid them?

Here are my tips for avoiding the fakes:

  • Get educated: Education is the fake’s kryptonite, so arm yourself with extensive research on marketing and discover what exactly marketing consultants should be doing for you and your business.
  • Shop around: Do so with a checklist and some ideas of what you want marketing to do for your business. If you don’t feel that a candidate will meet your goals, move on and don’t be afraid to express your feelings.
  • Remember, you’re hiring somebody: Don’t ever forget that you are hiring someone, so treat it like a job interview and be confident in the fact that you know what you want.
  • Keep control: Some marketing fakes use intimidation tactics to cover up their lack of knowledge but you should feel completely in control of an initial consultation and every consultation thereafter.

And last but not least… good luck with your hunt!

Jo Macdermott heads up Next Marketing, a Melbourne based ‘outsourced marketing department’. Jo is also Certified Practicing Marketer (CPM), which is the Australian Marketing Institutes (AMI) professional accreditation program for the Marketing Industry, and doesn’t mind telling anyone who’ll listen… especially the fakes!

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