Open your ears (eyes?) because in this short post, I’m going to explain the single most common, and potentially detrimental, mistake one can make when hiring someone for marketing help.
For the next 5 minutes or so, for the sake of this blog post, you own a bakery! Congratulations!
Sales are okay, but you often catch yourself thinking “this could be better”.
“I wonder what I’m doing wrong?”, you ask, during those brief moments of free-time between slamming trays in to the oven and ringing up customers.
It can’t be your recipe, because the smiles on your repeat customers’ faces speak for themselves. So the gears in your head start turning.
“You know, I’ve got a few extra bucks now. Maybe it’s time for a new logo! Successful businesses have nice logos. That’ll help!”.
You hop online and search for “logo designer”. You find someone who (for some reason) specializes in bakery logos – perfect! You initiate the project, pay the freelancer, and boom – you have a new logo!
Great! Now what?
“Now what?” is exactly right, but “why?” would have been a more appropriate one to ask — before throwing a pile of money at a stranger.
Something I preach daily, until I’m blue in the face, is this: Why are you wanting to do this? And no, I don’t want just the surface answer, which is “so my business can grow!” — because that’s not a reasonable outcome to expect, it’s just a goal. You’re missing a few steps.
What Should Have Happened Instead
This is where we come in. This is our area of expertise. We didn’t become the leading Kansas City marketing company by handing out cheap one-off design projects to anyone that asked. And truth be told, we won’t even accept them anymore, because they don’t generate our clients a return. Let’s bring it back around to the point I’m trying to make:
Two potential outcomes exist in this scenario:
- We take the one-off “bakery logo” project, deliver a fun design — and walk away. The baker pays us a chunk of cash, uploads a (somehow) distorted, cropped and grainy version of it to their Facebook, and then calls it a day. As time goes on, the baker notices no difference in business, and eventually thinks “gee, I paid a bunch of money for this and it didn’t even help”. Even worse, the baker may tell their business owning-friends, “don’t bother with that company”. Scary stuff. Or scenario 2:
- We listen the baker’s idea. “I want a new logo”, they say. Great! Now it’s our turn: “How is business? What kind of marketing have you done in the past? How did that go? Who are your competitors – what do you think they’re doing differently? What’s your 1 year plan? 5 year plan? The logo — oh yeah, we’ll get to that.” These are just a small fraction of the many questions we begin to ask in an attempt to truly understand the entire scope of your business, your goals, and how we can help you achieve them.
“And Then What?”
This right here is the question you should actually be asking yourself. This is why you hire a marketing company. And this is especially why you hire a full-service marketing company.
You went to culinary school to become a master baker. Your recipes are already top-tier and you’re still spending every waking moment tweaking them to perfection. You’re also cleaning your kitchen, you’re greeting customers, you’re handling finances, you’re hiring 🙂 (and firing 😔) — and between all of this, and probably a little more, you’re operating at about 150% of your available mental bandwidth.
The reality here is that you’re stretched so thin, and you’re so incredibly immersed in your business, that you’re likely blind to a lot of the inconsistencies that appear throughout your brand’s image. You know that your cupcakes are the best in town, but you’ve got to convince the general public that they should give them a shot — and the unfortunate truth is that your brand identity matters *way* more than the promise of good eats when it comes to getting a first-time customer.
Somewhere here within my convoluted word-vomit, what I’m actually getting at, is that having a logo redesigned doesn’t generate any sort of meaningful outcome if you’re slapping it on your DIY website, your print-on-demand business cards and your template-designed cookie menu…and let’s be real, you’re not going to call the vinyl company to come replace the existing logo on your window.
To better explain, all of this can be summarized in a single word:
BOOM. Right there. It’s INTENT. Every single move you make should be intent-driven. There has to be a point. There has to be a plan.
Consider this. You don’t add yeast to your mix because someone told you to, or because you think “maybe this would be neat”. No, you add yeast to your mix because it has a quantifiable result.
It makes your bread rise.
But it’s not the only reason the bread rises, is it? In fact, it’s only a single component — you don’t sprinkle yeast in to an empty bowl and expect it to turn in to bread.
Marketing is no different.
Yeast – or your new logo – is only one component. It’s a single piece to a larger puzzle.
Your bowl of yeast isn’t going to rise. It isn’t going to taste good. It isn’t going to sell. Your bowl of yeast will produce absolutely 0 quantifiable results. Because…It’s just a bowl of yeast.
It’s a logo. It’s a single part of a whole, but without the other components, it’s practically worthless.
To successfully “bake your bread”, you’re tapping in to years of experience, while utilizing a plethora of “ingredients”, that will eventually result in an intent-driven outcome. None of it happens by accident, and none of it is thanks to luck.
At the end of the day, I don’t know how to make bread, so I don’t try. I don’t want to get a $15 bread-maker from Goodwill and make a stale loaf that’ll sit on my counter until I throw it out. I don’t want to waste my time, or my money. That’s why I go to the bakery.