Do you have a marketing consultant or agency working with you now? If not do you get approached by any? How many pitch their services without talking about your business? How many don't ask questions about your goals? How many don't do a simple Google to look at your online and possibly your offline marketing efforts?
I get a lot of emails from agencies that offer free E-Books and Webinars to showcase what they do. I sign up because I want to see what the competition is doing. Too often the content is "We will do this for you" without asking if "This" is right for your business. Or they showcase a case study but no proof anything worked. Or have the wrong perspective. Often to make what they do look rosy and attracting.
When looking for Marketing and Advertising help and advice the biggest red flag is when your potential vendor doesn't focus on your needs and your results. They should ask you more questions than they do 'Selling you stuff'. When they say 'What is your budget' before they review your business and ask questions about goals, they really mean 'How much money of yours is for the taking'.
I get this stuff representing a client all the time. Whether daily deals, advertising opportunities, promotional events, they never ask me what my client's goals are. They never ask me what I am looking for. They want to know the budget for something not budgeted. They want something beyond my clients current resources (did they not use the Google?). I know they mean well. But really what I see is they are pushing the sales pitch so they can sell, close the deal, make themselves money.
This is a service business. My service is helping you make money. My service is helping you maximize that based on your available resources.
It could be training your staff how to use social media more effectively. It could me figuring out the best types and outlets for paid media. It could be improving your customer service or brand image.
My service to you...is not me making money.
I am supposed to make money only by helping you grow, sell, improve. If I am not doing that I should be fired. And you should look at all marketing agencies and media vendors that way.