How Do I Convince Large Corporations to Use Me?
Q: I am a direct marketing consultant specializing in creative and print services. While I’m a small firm, I spend a lot of time with my clients making sure that they are happy with the services that I provide them. How do I get in the door of large corporations that traditionally work with really large agencies? How do I convince them to trust me as a small business to even get the first meeting?
A: What a conundrum . . . and one that we are VERY familiar with. As small consultancy firms, this always presents a dilemma. Here are a few things that we’ve done to break through and get large companies to listen to us:
- Use your network. If you know ANYONE who knows ANYONE within the company that you’re targeting, use that person to get you an introduction in to the marketing folks. If you’re like us, once you get in and talk to the actual client, you usually get the gig or at least an opportunity down the road. If you need to build up your network, try to figure out where your target audience hangs out and go there. One great venue for us has always been the Direct Marketing Association’s Annual Conference. We never attend one of these conferences without ending up with some business. In addition, look at other local association meetings where your target companies may be involved on the board — i.e., the local DMA or AMA — and start to attend those meetings so that you can introduce yourself and start to build the relationship.
- Partner with other direct marketers. One of the things that we’re trying now is to partner with other direct marketers who offer services that we don’t. So, you’d be a perfect partner. We don’t do printing or creative services. Our niche is in data and analytics. So, work with people like us who offer complimentary services to what you offer. Why do this? (A) the other firm may have contacts where you don’t have them and vice versa and (B) you are able to present more comprehensive service offerings this way — as opposed to just your own.
- Practice what we preach: We are all direct marketers, right? Use the principles of direct marketing to make yourself appear just as professional and talented as those big guys. Let’s face it, some of the bigger agencies don’t present themselves all that well. Take a hard look at your website, your marketing materials, your blog, your e-marketing messages . . . the whole shebang. Make certain that you are presenting a package that would appeal to any business — regardless of size. Use multi-channel marketing to get the word out about your superior services. We tell our clients to do this and sometimes forget to do it ourselves!
We hope that these three ideas provide you with a framework of how to tackle that next large corporation. Good luck!