As a direct marketing consultant most of my work is provided in a very specifically-focused area. However, when times are tight and hours are few, I have found that expanding my service offerings increases my market and brings more opportunity for work. Taking on tasks myself that I would normally advise be outsourced keeps revenue flow strong and clients happy.
In direct marketing there is always some sort of problem resolution associated with a campaign. It might be an inbound toll-free number for customers to call with issues or even an address correction and rerouting service for undeliverable packages. Normally these are tasks that a vendor would do for my clients. However, when I find I have additional time on my hands and the volume isn't prohibitive, I can often provide these services myself. Even though on the surface it may seem to cost my clients more, in the long run it is less expensive because the quality of work is higher and there are fewer errors to correct.
In my business, I often work on marketing campaigns that involve retail dealerships. Quite often a campaign will have an element where contact with several hundred dealerships is necessary to communicate new, complicated information. Typically this would be handled by a boutique marketing agency, and due to the relative small volume and/or short time frame can be very expensive to outsource. Even though this is not my normal mode of operation, when things are slow I often take on these sorts of opportunities myself. My knowledge of the big picture and connection with top decision makers allows me to be much more efficient than an outside agency and provides exceptional quality and value to my clients.
A good many of my clients engage in business-to-business marketing where their clients are the owners or primary stakeholders in their individual businesses. Reaching these high-level decision makers for marketing purposes can be a difficult and expensive task. When work is slow, I sometimes find myself on the phone gathering information from these business owners to assist my clients with the development of future marketing campaigns. I have even, at times, worked to recruit participants in focus groups to test new marketing concepts or advertising campaigns.
Many consultants will tell you that although we prefer to work within our primary area of expertise, when times are slow, we are happy to be a jack-of-all-trades. Not only does it pay the bills, it often leads to additional clients or work that we would not otherwise have gotten.
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