Why I fired my marketing consultant

Services for Real Estate Pros

This blog post is to give you an example of why you need to create a super clear definition of your best prospective clients and referrers and then place your marketing text where these people look. Yellow pages, internet, clients' accountants, whatever.

I am very good at marketing.  But I would be nuts to think that I can consider all aspects of my business, target clientele, and appropriate advertising media.  So I visit with my local Small Business Development Center (a federally funded division of the Small Business Administration) every month or two.

My last counselor was amazing.  Very sophisticated and experienced marketing and business consultant.  He moved out of the area so we locals lost this great resource.  (But I am happy to report that the counselor, his wife, and I have become friends and stay in touch.)

I had two appointments with the new counselor replacing Mr. Terrific.  Then I fired him.

He knows marketing formulas, internet analytics, direct mail methods, coupon use, etc extremely well.  He was born and raised in my rural area.  He knows the local people.

But he is absolutely ignorant of my target clientele and personally incapable of thinking outside the box.  He is a formula man through and through.

Some characteristics of my best current and prospective clients.  Some points may not make sense to you.  I cannot post on a public board exactly what I do for these people because my competition reads the boards.

*Aged 30-65

*Income of $80K or more.

*Highly educated, mostly at the best schools.

*Loves traveling to metro cities at home and abroad (not adventure travel)

*Comfortable around many different ethnic groups.  Often born outside US.  Usually comfortable with gays.

My just-fired counselor thought I should prioritize my time and money by launching a google adwords campaign.  That didn't seem right to me but I am always willing to say that I may be the one who cannot see the elephant in the living room.  So I spent 40+ hours researching google adwords.

I came to the conclusion that my best prospects and referrers use the internet heavily to search for what they need but they RARELY click on the paid ads.

Just Fired and I argued about whether this was true. 

I told him I fit all my profile's characteristics and that I know these people well.  They do not click on paid ads.  Sidebar: I went to Mills College.  US News and World report ranks Mills as 6th best college in the US.  My degree is in behavioral psych.  Marketing is simply psych in a business setting.

Just Fired said that he was "highly educated" and he clicks on paid ads on Google all the time.  I should learn from this.  He defined highly educated as graduating in the top 5% of his farmland high school and his local state college.   (US News and World report ranks his college quite low.)  He hasn't traveled outside the state.  He makes far less than $80K.  He isn't biased against gays or other ethnic groups but he has little experience around them.

This told me Just Fired has absolutely no clue about my target prospects and referers. 

If you don't understand your best prospects and referrers extremely well, you CANNOT create an effective marketing or ad campaign.

Suffice to say   BEWARE! of marketing advisors who do not understand what you do, who your best prospective clients and referrers are, and the best methods of advertising to reach this focused group of people.

Hope this helps!  LauraV



Teresa McDonald
EME Realty - Florence, SC
ABR, Florence and Lake City SC Real Estate

You make some valid points. Good luck with your marketing.

Jul 03, 2008 01:38 PM
Ray Wilson
Meticulous Home Inspection Corporation - Bohemia, NY
NYS Licensed Home and Building Inspector

Hi Laura. Great post. I can really relate! I am a home inspector and have only some college, but I have built a successful home inspection business here on Long Island, where the competition is fierce. I have dealt with advertisers and promotional people who think they know alot about how to promote my home inspection business, and at first I was very open to suggestions. I spent thousands on advertising.

I found that, after the first two years of struggling and trying to get business, that I know what it takes to get business. All the printed advertising, mailings, and other 'regular' forms of promotion do not work for my type of business. Meeting people face to face all the time at real estate offices works. More specifically, making people laugh (see my tag line in profile) when you first meet them is what works for me.

Now, nobody knows better than me how to promote myself. Keep up the good work. -Ray

Jul 03, 2008 01:47 PM