Could you just?!

If I had a £1 for every time a client said “could you just” followed by an urgent request for obscure marketing assistance or an order to do something now, I would probably be fairly wealthy. So why do clients, where there is a marketing strategy and plan already agreed and in place, insist on adding in novel and often confusing extras that were never part of our joint original thinking?

I have my own theories of course, and not all of them are conspiratorial, but essential I think that it comes down to control, or rather a lack of it. The marketing strategy and plan have been devised with their input but when it comes to implementation, they are often out of the loop. So in a small bid to leverage some authority on the whole relationship and prove that they really do know their stuff, the “could you just” plea tends to come into its own.

I appreciate the fact that outsourcing (subcontracting) marketing can be scary and in the early stages of the relationship you are still unsure of how it will work and of course whether it will work. But my advice to business owners, who are thinking of taking the plunge, is to bear in mind the following five points to ensure that your transition to outsourcing is as painless and productive as it can possibly be.

  1. Be a part of the process – define the roles, establish realistic expectations and communicate clearly and frequently
  2. Clearly define the goals for the work and the standards to which it must adhere. Let the subcontractor know what is most important to you
  3. Be accessible so that response times are timely and decisions can be taken quickly
  4. Select your subcontractor carefully. They should share your vision and be able to quickly immerse themselves in your culture, so there is a shared marketing voice.
  5. Agree regular update times so you can stay apprised of the work and have an opportunity to input your opinions/thoughts

And finally – make sure that you give them the space and support to get on with their work without feeling the need to constantly interfere or interrupt the smooth running of the marketing operations

So if you want your subcontractors to work well for your business, you need to make sure that you keep your intrusions to a minimum. Remember they are following an agreed plan and have set up regular check in times for you to comment. Asking “can you just” will only delay proceedings and cause the subcontractor to wonder if you have a problem with them or their work, this can be disastrous for building long-term loyal and trusted partnerships.

My advice is that after say 3 or 6 months into a contract, you should get together for a meeting and raise any issues or concerns that you have with each other in a professional manner. That way both of you will know where you stand and have the right of reply in a controlled environment. Endless email or voicemail requests can niggle after a while and I find that just picking up the phone and vocalising any problems can solve most things.

For help with your marketing implementation so that it is seamless and inclusive and means that you benefit from an outside perspective, contact Vicky at Fuel on 07766 566690 or email