Marketing Consulting is the best investment a company can make in its brand. A marketing consultant’s role is to design and implement the most effective strategy for marketing your business—whatever it takes.
A great marketing consultant clarifies who you need to BE. They will find you a place in your market that no one owns. That’s the way to build a lasting brand.
A Marketing Consultant sees the big picture and is a…
- Creative high level thinker
- Talent agency
They are able to see things you might miss. They get inside the heads of your customers and think like they do. They coordinate and motivate your in-house team, and fill in gaps with trusted vendors.
Outsourcing fills in the gap an overworked, under-skilled in-house staff focus on product development, operations and sales.
They set priorities. What you should be doing, what you need to step back from, and how to get the results you’re after. They do the job of an in-house marketing department, at half the cost.
They also bring a pool of new talent and resources to your project.
What Marketing Consulting CAN’T Do
If your business is on shaky ground, hiring a marketing consultant may not turn things around. Real value comes from having a great product in place and a proven business model. Without the 4 legs of the table holding things up, it will fall.
The 4 legs of a sound company are:
- Design (Having a unique, quality product or service and the branding to support it)
- The ability to deliver your product (production)
- Sales and Marketing
A marketing consultant will NOT be able to:
- Create demand where there is none. You need a product that people want. If there is no interest in your product, a marketing consultant will not be able to create demand out of thin air.
- Make you do what needs to be done (on time). If you do not have the time or resources to act on the advice of your marketing consultant, you’re going to be wasting money.
- Work in isolation. Your company is unique. A marketing consultant can relieve the pressure and put you back in the driver’s seat, but you still need to be involved. No one can perform strategic work without company support.
What A Marketing Consultant CAN Do
If you think of marketing as an investment, it will work.
Most companies focus on cost instead of focusing on value.
This is a shift that marketing consulting companies implement. Showing how your product solves problems, makes people feel a certain way, or answers their questions is far more important than HOW you do it. If someone is inquiring about coffee, and your website talks about how you roast it, make sure you explain WHY that makes your coffee taste better.
Think of how much time and money is wasted making the wrong decisions. If you are spending your marketing budget without a way to measure what’s working you are operating in the blind. You’re taking a chance. A mistake means lost dollars, lost opportunities.
If marketing is not your specialty, or you are overwhelmed, it makes sense to hire an expert. When your sink has a leak you call a plumber. When your car breaks down you call a mechanic. Why would you do anything different when it comes to your business?
A marketing consultant will:
- Offer outside insight. Sometimes all you need is a fresh perspective. Your biases will always color your decisions, but a new pair of eyes is often times the best way to see what you may be missing.
- Form a strategy and a plan. You’re great at what you do, but it’s easy to get bogged down in day-to-day tasks and lose track of the big picture. A marketing consultant designs a plan that is executable, on budget, and sticks to it.
- Execute and track results. Once you have your brand strategy, they will follow it through, track results with analytics and make adjustments along the way.
- Be accountable. It’s a lot easier to get things done when you have someone looking over your shoulder. Being the boss is not easy. It is imperative to have someone pushing you towards your goal.
- Keep you focused. If you’re not moving forward you’re standing still. You need momentum in business. A marketing consultant will prioritize high-level goals and make sure the focus stays where it matters most.
- Avoid pitfalls and mistakes. The real value in working with a marketing consultant is their experience. They’ve seen it all. They’ve worked with similar companies. They understand the pain points of your industry.
- Bring in talent. Finding, hiring and managing vendors is a daunting task.
- Get up to speed faster. Studies show that it takes an employee about 6.2 months to reach optimum productivity. The actual cost of adding a new employee hovers around 1.25 to 1.4 times base salary range. A consultant can jump right in.
How To Hire A Marketing Consultant
The most important thing to do to get ready is to open your mind. If you think you already know all the answers, don’t waste your time or your money on a Marketing Consulting project. Be open to new ideas, platforms, maybe even some crazy ideas, and be confident that change is good.
What you need to do prior to hiring a marketing consultant:
- Set smart goals. You need to establish specific, measurable SMART goals prior to launching your campaign. This is the only way to gauge if your marketing spend is being used effectively.
- Set the timeframe. Establishing milestones gives everyone a target to shoot for and sets the stage for what is expected from everyone involved.
- Establish a budget. You need to know how much of your resources you can allocate. You’ll likely need to engage the services of developers, copywriters and others to get everything done. You’ll need to factor this in from the beginning, so that your goals are achievable.
- Close your resource gaps. Is there anyone on your team that can work with the consultant to keep things moving? Do you have a writer or webmaster already in mind to support the effort? Is there anything that will keep you from acting on the advice from your marketing consultant? Most consultants work on retainer. Fix these issues now, so you’re not wasting time and money once things kick into gear.
- Be ready to move. You need to support their efforts.
Here are some questions to ask when deciding on a consultant:
- What have you worked on recently? Straight to the point. You need to see that they are working with clients now, and what results they have gotten.
- Do you have any testimonials from these clients? Talk to a couple of their clients and see what it’s like to work with them.
- Why hire you over the competition? A marketing consultant is there to identify your strengths. They should have no hesitation to tell you theirs.
- What is your process? Avoid confusion later. Ask now.
- What is the greatest value you deliver to your clients?
- How do you view our current marketing efforts? A frank, no punches pulled reply means that they’re going to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.