If you're a business owner without a thorough understanding of marketing you can be vulnerable to employees or agencies that don't truly understand marketing.
The best way to handle this is to get an understanding of this area yourself.
While you don't need a degree in marketing, you do want to understand enough to be able to see if someone is doing things right or not.
This is true of any area of your business.
Let's start with the definition of marketing. Marketing encompasses everything from the concept of a product or service to the point where it gets into the hands of the consumer (whether that's a business or end-user).
This includes the following broad categories:
- Product Research
- Product/Service Development
- Brand Awareness
- Lead generation
- Brand Advocacy
This shows you that knowing Marketing is a key function of your business. Some may argue that Marketing ends when the lead gets handed to sales. This is wrong.
Some may think that Marketing isn't responsible for Brand Advocacy. Again they are wrong.
The basic viewpoint of marketing should be to take full responsibility for the success of the entire business.
As a business owner if you understand that Marketing is responsible for generating revenue you can now evaluate every employee or agency against the basic measurement of "Is this generating revenue?". If it's not, then it's not working.
While marketing is an art that needs to be mastered with many sub-categories of knowledge that contribute to the overall knowledge of the field, as a business owner you need to keep in mind how the next marketing tool will help you to drive revenue.
Lastly, if an agency or employee is unable to explain what they are doing simply, then they haven't yet truly mastered their art.
I know for myself that I continuously read books, attend conferences, read some more (especially some of the classics in marketing), and learn from doing to become a better marketer and in turn a better business owner.
When I work with clients it's always in the direction of generating revenue for them. If I'm not helping them to make money then I know that I haven't succeeded, yet.