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What does it take to open a marketing firm?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I know this is a very vague question but I have come to the conclusion that I one day want to work for myself and open my very own marketing/PR consulting firm that focuses on providing start-ups with a strategic plan and established companies a think-tank for fresh ideas.

What credentials would I need to have before being considered a viable consultant?
post #2 of 17
Well experience with marketing / advertising / PR would be a good idea. A nice client base from the companies you used to work at which you can poach, I mean approach to see if they want to come with you to your start-up. Also according to TV: a Madison Ave office, drinking, smoking and lots of fornication.
post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by KPO89 View Post
I know this is a very vague question but I have come to the conclusion that I one day want to work for myself and open my very own marketing/PR consulting firm that focuses on providing start-ups with a strategic plan and established companies a think-tank for fresh ideas.

What credentials would I need to have before being considered a viable consultant?
how long have you been in the industry?
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imageWIS View Post
Well experience with marketing / advertising / PR would be a good idea. A nice client base from the companies you used to work at which you can poach, I mean approach to see if they want to come with you to your start-up.

Also according to TV: a Madison Ave office, drinking, smoking and lots of fornication.

I am currently in sales. My plan is to work through sales to marketing so that I have a better understanding of the selling process

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt View Post
how long have you been in the industry?

I am really just a new grad. I started in Jan. The purpose of asking this is to plan a career path that will lead to a point where I can do this.


Maybe this leads to another question. Does a marketing firm have to be industry specific?
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by KPO89 View Post
I am currently in sales. My plan is to work through sales to marketing so that I have a better understanding of the selling process



I am really just a new grad. I started in Jan. The purpose of asking this is to plan a career path that will lead to a point where I can do this.


Maybe this leads to another question. Does a marketing firm have to be industry specific?

ok, I get contacted by consulting firms all the time. you have to show me that you know more than me, basically. I'm pretty rational. most CEOs and heads of sales of start ups are less rational. so you have to have a very compelling position to show that you know enough more than they do, so that they will hire you.

I am not sure that it needs to be industry specific, but that is a help. I'd say at least 5, probably better 10-15 years sales management experience in a very competitive field, preferably in a company known for good sales people. maybe some things published. maybe some conferences asking you to speak. that would be a minimum.

I know a guy who specilizes in a very specific area of selling - how questions help the sales process. he makes a pretty good living at that. if you can take ownership of one specific aspect, that might be helpful.

http://www.terrydean.org/selling-is-...stions-to-ask/

but frankly, I don't trust most people who want to advise me about strategy, I don't know how much they really know. I'd be looking for some serious credentials.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by KPO89 View Post
I know this is a very vague question but I have come to the conclusion that I one day want to work for myself and open my very own marketing/PR consulting firm that focuses on providing start-ups with a strategic plan and established companies a think-tank for fresh ideas.

What credentials would I need to have before being considered a viable consultant?

Credentials are less important than having a positive track record and great relationships. Most people who do this either get into a completely new area - i.e. social media, where they can play the expert, or go into something after a pretty strong track record and a founding client or two.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by KPO89 View Post
Maybe this leads to another question. Does a marketing firm have to be industry specific?
the world has too many PR firms. I know this because I have founded two of them

The advice above is one option - assuming you can be a decent trend spotter (you are already too late for social media) - proclaiming yourself an expert at the early phases of a trend, biting off way more than you can chew and then chewing like crazy is one option.

The other is my approach, which is to get your ass to a new market.

I don't know that I could be talked in to adding Just Another PR firm to a developed market.

When it comes time to actually be running an agency, be a stingy fucker. Cash flow is satan, and shiny offices are a temptation best left to people spencing other people's money. Bootstrap it boy, bootstrap it.

The best advice however for your career level is to attach yourself to some very good mentors (let's start with one) and learn all that you can....then go find another and learn some more. Learn from the people you like and respect, learn from the people you hate and respect, learn a LOT from the people you hate and do not respect...just keep learnin' kiddo.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt View Post
the world has too many PR firms. I know this because I have founded two of them

The advice above is one option - assuming you can be a decent trend spotter (you are already too late for social media) - proclaiming yourself an expert at the early phases of a trend, biting off way more than you can chew and then chewing like crazy is one option.

The other is my approach, which is to get your ass to a new market.

I don't know that I could be talked in to adding Just Another PR firm to a developed market.

When it comes time to actually be running an agency, be a stingy fucker. Cash flow is satan, and shiny offices are a temptation best left to people spencing other people's money. Bootstrap it boy, bootstrap it.

The best advice however for your career level is to attach yourself to some very good mentors (let's start with one) and learn all that you can....then go find another and learn some more. Learn from the people you like and respect, learn from the people you hate and respect, learn a LOT from the people you hate and do not respect...just keep learnin' kiddo.

There is a lot of good advice here. In all honesty I'm not sure if I have the trend spotter capability.

Do you have any tips on ways to spot these trends?

I have a very good mentor right now who is providing me with excellent advice on adapting to the current industry I am in (Public Safety Communication).
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt View Post
the world has too many PR firms. I know this because I have founded two of them

Speaking of which, Matt, how is the new enterprise coming along?
post #10 of 17
This sounds like a sarcastic answer but an internet connection, a library card, and a sense of humor.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bingebag View Post
This sounds like a sarcastic answer but an internet connection, a library card, and a sense of humor.

While this may qualify me to open a marketing firm, it does not mean it will be a successful one.
post #12 of 17
Marketing firms these days are not all about credentials but about productivity.
My advice is that if you are just starting off, companies may not patronise you that much so you will have to push yourself to them. You could decide to negotiate to help them promote a product antd if a certain target is reached they will pay you so so amount. that is a good way to start.

at least to build reputation first.
post #13 of 17
You say you want to focus on startups as your clients. Have you ever done startup marketing? It's a wildly different beast from marketing at or for an established firm. Some startups -- maybe even most of them -- would argue that it's an entirely different skill set. Consider your client base carefully.
post #14 of 17
plus they have no money. Except the ones that do. They blow their money on shiny offices with dedicated wii rooms and offices where everyone sits on Swiss balls. Then they conveniently forget their operational costs and pay everyone late. Then they offer equity in the firm as payment. Or the exciting opportunity to contra their service that neither you nor anyone else wants as payment for your services that they need. Then they go under. Then you can't pay your bills. Try offering your landlord equity as payment. Good luck with that. Try offering your staff equity in lieu of salaries. They get hungry. Then they leave. Don't get into startup marketing. It's ok to have the odd startup as a client when you have a solid base of existing, paying clients that ensure your rent is paid and your staff are fed. Being startup dependent is a great way to find yourself destitute pretty quick.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt View Post
plus they have no money. Except the ones that do. They blow their money on shiny offices with dedicated wii rooms and offices where everyone sits on Swiss balls. Then they conveniently forget their operational costs and pay everyone late. Then they offer equity in the firm as payment. Or the exciting opportunity to contra their service that neither you nor anyone else wants as payment for your services that they need. Then they go under. Then you can't pay your bills. Try offering your landlord equity as payment. Good luck with that. Try offering your staff equity in lieu of salaries. They get hungry. Then they leave. Don't get into startup marketing. It's ok to have the odd startup as a client when you have a solid base of existing, paying clients that ensure your rent is paid and your staff are fed. Being startup dependent is a great way to find yourself destitute pretty quick.
Exactly. +1000 Whenever a friend of mine tells me he's contemplating a startup-servicing business, I try to whatever extent possible to talk him out of it.
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