Don't Ruin Your Small Business Marketing: Hire the Right Marketers

Sales and marketing
  • Small business marketing is undoubtedly a crucial asset for any SME’s success and for that, you need to hire marketers that actually work.
  • Unfortunately, a lot of startups were not too successful with their marketing providers right away.
  • If you are just starting to concentrate on your small business marketing, read more to find out what types of marketers to avoid trusting.

How not to ruin a small business

After numerous meetings with our clients—many of which have been operating for 20+ years—they have told us how they lost out with marketing providers. Apart from the hours wasted and lack of ROI, SMEs experience an absence of transparency, work delivered late (or not at all), inability to access their own IP, oh I could go on…

I’ve found that these instances aren’t isolated to certain types of marketing, but throughout the entire industry. To take a deeper view into our observations, we put a call out in the media and spoke with small business owners we had never worked with to uncover their experiences. In a matter of minutes, we had countless responses in our inbox ranging from anger to sadness - from people who were affected financially and emotionally by our industry.

The stories we received made us feel outraged and embarrassed. Here’s a snippet of the recurrent trouble makers in our industry:

The Disappearer

This marketing provider is one that tends to be unreachable and enjoys taking frequent holidays. When working with The Disappearer, the small business owner may ask questions like: It’s been 12 months… why isn’t my website finished? Or where the hell is my web developer?

The Scammer

This type of provider often comes off as cunning upon first impression, but this master of manipulation has absolutely no desire to deliver. The Scammer is 100% self-serving and will benefit from a client's ignorance by charging unreasonably high fees for words such as ‘guru’ or ‘world-leading.’ More often than not, you aren’t the first client they’ve ripped off and this whole smoke and mirrors thing - they’ve got that down-packed.

The Hand-Cuffer

In this case, the marketer tends to be good at what they do. However, their ethics are, let’s say - questionable. When working with The Hand-Cuffer, you will lose complete control over your company. This type of provider keeps all of the passwords and all of the pages, assets or systems closed—leaving nothing accessible for the client. They will make the simplest tasks seem more difficult than they are in order to squeeze every possible cent.

The Guru (common among mediocre freelancers)

Generally working by themselves, The Guru claims to have a combined skillset of a dozen people and is a superhuman. The Guru doesn’t specialise in a particular topic because he/she knows all the topics. They are able to help you with everything - design, coding, writing, testing, styling, and so much more. How could one person be capable of delivering all of that? The answer is—they can’t.

The Guru will fail to deliver on time, and when/if they ever deliver, it will be mediocre work at best. You are better off stopping at their $49.99 e-book and investing a little more in another service. People who take their business seriously... have a business that expands beyond an e-guide. 

The Over-Charger

When you hire a marketer like this, it is common that there will be no service agreement outlining fees, so the client never knows how much to expect in terms of a charge. The Over-Charger likes to turn everything into a variable cost. Every revision (regardless of how small it is) will cost an additional and significant fee. By the end of your time working with The Over-Charger, your expense incurred will be WAY ABOVE that of what the market indicates as fair.

The Coach

Coaches are popping up everywhere now. If you check their credentials, many of them have never started a business. They refer to themselves as coaches just because they were able to take an e-course of some sort, which was most likely taught by a Guru.

Before you hire a marketer like The Coach, think about what they’re preaching and ask for real tangible credentials. My team and I work with some amazing coaches who have spent years building businesses -  they will stand in your shoes better than anyone else with a nice logo.

  • How would they understand the pressures of making payroll if they’ve never experienced them?
  • How would they understand the intricacies of building a team if they’ve never built a real team of their own?
  • How would they understand what it takes to start a company if they’ve never actually started one?

Anyone can take a course and tell you what they learnt from it, but paying someone to recite textbook information is a waste of your money. The reality of the situation is that these coaches have never lived through the real day-to-day operations and lack an understanding of what’s occurring in-between the lines. It’s all the between-the-line stuff that makes a great leader.

This type of somewhat criminal behaviour in small business marketing is completely unacceptable and occurs way too much. It is no wonder that most businesses don’t take marketers and small business marketing seriously. 

Have you encountered someone who you think qualifies for one of the titles in this article? If yes, we recommend you stay away from them when you decide to hire a marketer.


Sharon Latour

Queen Bee/CMO at Marketing Bee

I hail from Mauritius, an idyllic island off the coast of Africa and moved Down Under as an international student. Being in a corporate job wasn't for me so I took my own path with $450 in the bank. I've always been passionate about SMEs and after seeing so many struggle digitally, I founded Marketing Bee. We are Australia's first cloud-based marketing department, providing digital production, social media strategy, web development and everything in between for our clients here and overseas.

Marketing Bee

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Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh , Cofounder at SavvySME

Thanks. Good info. Who SHOULD we be hiring then? What should we look out for when deciding who to go with?