What to Expect From Your Free Strategy Session

Marketing Agencies

Most marketing agencies waste your time with sales-focused ‘free consultations’. We don’t, and here’s why.

The free consultations offered by most marketing agencies have a bad reputation. Too often, ‘consultation’ gets stretched to its definitional breaking point – rather than expert advice, you get aggressive sales pitches from BDMs who think ‘client centricity’ and ‘always be closing’ are the same thing.

But the core idea – that you get a free, no-strings-attached session to discuss your marketing challenges – is excellent. And that’s exactly what we deliver in our 30-minute strategy chats.

So, if you’re weighing up whether to commit 30 minutes of your day to a meeting with us, here’s what you can expect.

1. Identification of Your Problem

We start every meeting by working out exactly what you need help with. In some scenarios, you might need technical support with a specific project – you know the outcome you want to achieve, and you’re looking for a specialist team to help you realise it.

But not every problem is so clear-cut. For example, we often talk to small businesses who ‘want more leads’. They know their current marketing efforts aren’t working, but they’re not quite sure why, and they’re looking for expert help to unravel what needs to change.

Another common situation is misdiagnosis – a brand comes to us with a request to undertake a specific project or activity, but, when we dig a little and ask them why they’ve decided to pursue that course of action, their choice often doesn’t line up with their ultimate objective. (SEO is the biggest culprit for this sort of issue. We’ve had multiple prospects wanting to ‘do SEO’ to generate more leads, without realising that SEO is expensive, time-consuming, and not something that just generates results overnight.)

2. Background About Your Company

Once we’ve worked out what problem you want to solve, we’ll typically ask about your brand and current marketing infrastructure. In the same way a doctor asks about your lifestyle and health background during a diagnosis, we need to know what you’re doing now and what you’ve tried in the past to formulate solutions.

Some questions we might ask you include:

  • Who is your ideal customer persona (ICP)?
  • What problem do you solve for your ICP, and how do you solve it?
  • What makes your solution different to/better than competitor solutions?
  • What are your current business objectives?
  • What’s your North Star metric for marketing?
  • What marketing activities are you currently undertaking?
  • How are you currently evaluating the success of those activities?
  • What sort of resources – budgetary, human and otherwise – are you working with?
  • How have you tried to solve your current marketing problem in the past?

Depending on how specific or general your problem is, we’ll sometimes dive a little deeper, which might include questions about your CRM, pipeline sources and numbers, and closed-won/conversion rates. (Don’t worry if those phrases don’t mean anything to you.)

If you think these questions seem like overkill, they’re not. A fairly high percentage of businesses we talk to don’t know exactly why customers should choose them over competitors or how they should be tracking their marketing efforts. By getting some basic background information, we’ll often stumble onto the root causes of your issues – not having a proper CRM setup, for example, or having no real differentiation.

3. Discussion of Possible Solutions

With context around both your problem and your company, we can start brainstorming some possible solutions together. I say ‘possible’ because this is a 30-minute strategy session – we won’t normally have time to fully work through your problem (unless the answer is very straightforward).

Instead, the goal here is to ideate together and give you a jumping-off point for longer conversations. You can take the lines of inquiry we’ve explored together and present them to your internal team or current marketing agency – sometimes that outside perspective is exactly what you need to find the right solution.

Alternatively, if you like what we have to say and want us to dig deeper, there’s a good chance we can work together. And I say ‘good’ because we do have certain disqualifying criteria: only wanting to spend $500 a month on SEO, for example, or engaging in business activities that we consider environmentally destructive (no, I’m not equating those two things, but both mean you won’t be working with us).

Why do we have minimum budgetary requirements? Well, it depends on exactly how you want to work with us – if you want to pay us as technicians to produce an article, for example, how much you spend per month on SEO is irrelevant. But, if you’re asking us to achieve a specific outcome – like increasing qualified pipeline by X% quarter-over-quarter – a shoestring budget sets us up for failure, which isn’t good for either you or us.

Next Steps

So, you now know exactly what to expect from our free 30-minute strategy session. No sales pitches and no annoying follow-ups – just a free discussion that helps you diagnose your problem and think differently about solutions.

If that sounds like what you need, book in a session that matches your schedule here.

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By Duncan Croker

Duncan is a copywriter with a background in editing and storytelling. He loves collaborating with brands big and small, and thrives on the challenges of hard marketing.