HIRE A MARKETING CONSULTANT
In the digital age, it’s become easier for businesses to find skilled freelancers and consultants who can provide specialized support. Hiring a marketing consultant can be daunting, especially when you consider the variety of skills and talents different consultants could bring to your business.
Marketing consultants may focus on one specific area such as website design or social media or have a wide range of expertise in everything from branding to events management and advertising. Depending on your needs, you might work with a consultant on a one-time project or in an ongoing monthly retainer-based relationship.
As a marketing consultant myself, I think I can speak for many when I say the freedom to control your own schedule (and really everything else) has been well worth the jump. But why as a business, you ask, would working with a consultant versus an agency or someone in-house be worth the investment? Let’s dive in and find out what you should expect from any consultant you hire.
A comprehensive marketing strategy – even if you think you just need a new website – is crucial in determining the best way to achieve your business goals. Are you looking to launch a new product or service? Need to grow your email list? Planning an event? Skilled marketing consultants will help you wade through the marketing muck, identify opportunities, and determine which tactics will be most beneficial for your business.
A consultant should start by discussing your current marketing activities including your target customer, challenges, and goals. The objective should be to identify what marketing is working for your business and finding ways to improve upon it. There’s no need to recreate the wheel.
It’s also essential to set clear goals in your marketing plan. Clarifying short and long term goals will help you measure your success. An effective consultant will either monitor your plan after it is executed making recommendations for improvement or provide guidance to help you track your own progress toward your goals. Which leads to my next item…
Most of us (make that all of us) have limited time and resources. You may have a list of ideas for marketing that’s a mile long. Is it realistic that you can accomplish all of those tasks this year? Next year? Ever?
Your marketing strategy needs to be realistic and include a doable action plan. A marketing consultant will take your resources into account and identify the best marketing activities that you can focus on and perform well. You may have internal staff available to manage your social media posts with a little direction, or you may need your consultant to oversee and execute all of the activities. Those discussions should be part of your strategy prior to launching into creating your marketing plan.
Your marketing plan should include deadlines for each activity. I know that if I don’t set deadlines for myself, I can very easily fritter away my time on other tasks. Setting mutually agreed-upon deadlines for your marketing activities and holding you accountable to take action is something an organized consultant will help you with to ensure your success.
Everyone enjoys coming up with an exciting new idea, and marketing consultants are mini-factories of ideas and opportunities. Expect your marketing consultant to continually find ways to improve your marketing activities and to hone your message. Even your best customers can get bored and lose interest if your marketing is the same all the time.
While you can keep what currently works for your business hold on loosely because there’s always room for improvement. I make it a habit of bringing new ideas to the table each time I meet with a client. It can be something as small as adding an email sign-up form to a Facebook page or as major as a complete overhaul of your customer relationship management (CRM) system (how you track and analyze data about your customer’s history with your business).
I LOVE sharing my knowledge with clients and seeing their knowledge grow in return. You may be looking for someone to take marketing off your plate altogether (after all, you have a whole business to run!). A savvy marketing consultant will clearly articulate and explain all of their recommendations, keep you advised of opportunities and changing trends, and identify new ways to grow your customer base.
Expect a consultant to keep you updated with a report on task progress and your key performance indicators (KPIs) (how you know if you are achieving your strategic goals). Ongoing communication is essential to the client and consultant relationship. Determine how often you and your consultant will meet (in person, or via phone, or video chat) or if support will be provided solely through email. A talented, hard-working marketing consultant is an extension of your team and will help transform your business into a winner!
As a consultant, I find that I’m equal parts marketing specialist, coach, trainer, and cheerleader. What do you think? Have a different experience with a consultant? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.