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Should you hire an outside marketing professional?

Should you hire an outside marketing professional?

Marketing is everything in the world of retail. Merchants must know how to create appealing window displays, dress mannequins, run social media campaigns and create eye-catching advertisements. Shop owners who can manage a store successfully but fall short when it comes to marketing may want to hire some outside help to get the ball rolling. Here are some things to consider before you bring in an industry expert:

Is there someone in-house?
If you find yourself unable to come up with a theme for your window display, don’t automatically assume you need to hire a professional – you may have already done so. If your employees are truly passionate about retail, one of them may be able to help you revamp your marketing. Ask your workers if they have any interest or experience in redesigning the layout of display tables and wall racks. Maybe that employee who routinely forgets to shut off her phone while at work is a master of social media. You can save money if you already have expertise in-house, so consider running a round of interviews with people you’ve already hired. A promotion is always a good way to add incentive for such a project.

Consider the freelance route
There are many companies that offer professional marketing services, but you may be able to cut costs by hiring a freelancer. Individuals who have marketing expertise often offer their one-on-one services at a lower cost than those working with a larger company. Of course, before you hire anyone, you’ll need to review their portfolio and conduct a thorough interview. Ask them to bring pictures of adult or child mannequins they’ve dressed as well as any display windows they’ve created.

Crowdsourcing your needs
Social technology makes it easy for retailers to reach out to their audience for advice. If you are wondering what kind of changes might make your store more appealing to consumers, why not ask them directly? Use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other social media platforms to find out what customers would like to see. You don’t have to bash your own business to do this, provided you phrase the question appropriately. For instance, send out a tweet that says something like, “What sort of displays are you looking forward to seeing in 2013?” This is a good way to ask customers what kinds of alterations your store needs without directly stating that you are struggling to come up with new concepts.