There are times each year when our clients just need a little extra help to get things done. There are a lot of reasons that this is true – internal staffing shortfalls, impending strategic planning, management pressing project time lines, initiative de jour – you name it. This of course always causes stress for the marketing manager that needs to get things done within a defined time frame.
In a former life, when I was a marketing manager at a well known biotools company, I had a project that required some “voice of customer” market research and I had no one and no time to do it. I looked externally for the help I needed and hired a large local consulting firm with a group that could conduct telephone interviews. I learned the hard way that, while they were well meaning, they were not familiar with the biotools industry and I ended up working very hard to help them get the interviews done. Even with that, they botched many of the interviews by mispronouncing the technical terms which looked bad and irritated the participants. Worse yet, I learned too late that they missed the truly valuable customer cues because they didn’t know when or how to ask a follow up question. They just blindly moved onto the next question like a robocaller. It would have been better if I had done it all myself which sort of defeated the purpose of getting help.
When you need help it really pays to get someone with specific experience. Just because a plumber works on pipes and water doesn’t mean he is qualified to fix your hydraulic lift (if you had one). Ok maybe that is an odd example but the point is – for biotools companies seeking help with things like strategic planning (including product development), brand development, market research, public relations and social media planning you need someone with the right experience. These are NOT cookie cutter undertakings that just any old marketing consultancy can take on successfully for a biotools company.
While Percepta is very comfortable with most of these activities, we would not claim to be qualified in Public Relations or Social Media Planning (but we know who is and would happly refer you to them).
The lesson here is to be sure you are vetting your external support carefully and when you find a good firm, think seriously about sticking with them. You will both benefit.
As always, your comments and thoughts are welcome.