14 Jan Do I need a marketing consultant?
A marketing consultant is an outside advisor who works with companies to create and implement marketing strategies.
A consultant helps:
1- Create a detailed marketing plan
2- Determine a business’s marketing message
3- Identify the appropriate marketing mix to get the message out to the target market
There is a common saying in business that:
“If you’re marketing to everybody, you’re selling to nobody.”
You may have the greatest business. The most awesome service to provide. The most awesome product to sell.
But how do you get more people to know about it?
You want to get the word on, no?
If you have no people, you have no business.
So, do you want to shout it from the rooftops? Rent a billboard in Times’ Square? Air a TV commercial?
You want EVERYONE to buy your product! Yes? Well… no.
The key is the RIGHT people. And you want those RIGHT people to get the RIGHT message.
Narrowing your focus is what actually helps move the needle forward.
Only then can you actually connect to your best customers. Those who need you and those you want to serve.
Your time and effort will be much better spent.
As with everything in life, we all have blindspots.
You may have been in business for 5, 10 or 15 years, but never took the chance to take a step back and look at your business from an unbiased perspective. You get caught up in the day-to-day operations. You are used to the way things are running and they seem good enough. You may even have a sales or marketing person or even an entire department and think everything is under control.
However, as any entrepreneur or business owner would know, there is ALWAYS room for growth. People can get complacent too. Old ways of doing things are comfortable. Working with a marketing consultant will help you see how you can fine tune your outreach, your process and optimize how you reach your clients. Many times, there are foundations of marketing and lead generation that are being overlooked. A growth-minded business owner will recognize the value of any insights that can move their business forward.
At the very least, if it turns out that after working with the consultant, they just validate that what you are doing all this time is the best path – then you have the peace of mind knowing you can continue moving forward as you were. Sometimes there are tweaks that a consultant may advise on a few seemingly small ideas, but can still make a big difference. Take note of these insights as well.
A business owner may think:
How can an outsider know my business better than I do?
A good consultant will have experience working with a variety of businesses.
They will know the foundations of marketing and business development.
They will have a special talent of getting to the core and deciphering your business goals. Where you are coming from and where you are headed.
In other words, they will “get it.”
A good consultant will also challenge you.
This may feel off-putting at first, and do not mistake it for them feeling “above you.”
But that is only because their job is to challenge the status quo.
Isn’t that what you hired them for?
Who else will have the confidence to expose any inconsistencies in your messaging or branding, or in your process or strategy. An employee? A friend? Your mom?
A good consultant truly wants you to succeed. That is the purpose of their work. Nothing else.
All growth comes with some challenges. So, if you feel challenged, accept it. It is constructive. It will build your business.
You don’t need to take every piece of advice a consultant will share. But, if you are finding yourself being really closed to most suggestions, you may not be ready for change.
Working with a consultant is an investment.
It is also a 2 way street.
Results will not just fall from the sky.
When working with a consultant, you must be:
- Action-oriented (Or have a team in place to execute the strategy).
- Having a strategy without the action is not worth any price. Before hiring a consultant, make sure you are ready to work or get it done. Ideally, having the work done in real-time throughout the duration of the time you’re working with your consultant will prove to yield the best results. Testing different marketing strategies is all part of the process and utilizing the guidance of your consultant will be the most beneficial for you.
- A consultant isn’t a mind-reader. There should be an ongoing flow of communication with your consultant, to flesh out ideas and follow-through on the action plan. A back-and-forth between you and your consultant, whether by email or text, will prove to be the quickest and most effective way to reach your goals.
Sometimes it may seem that all you are doing is talking and wasting your time explaining to the consultant everything about your business. What is the help in that? It may seem like that is what is happening, but the consultant is really gathering all the pieces together and trying to make sure they fit. They are taking in the overall picture of your business and marketing to determine where the gaps may be. They can be like a detective, investigating your business so they can pick up on clues. These clues will expose potential bottlenecks in the business or messaging that is unclear. When a potential customer or client does not have complete clarity on what you are offering them or the value that is being provided, it will lead to confusion. When a consultant probes and listens to your responses, they are checking if your message is clear and then take the time to really distill it. Getting inside your customer’s head- that can make all the difference in attracting your best clients.
A brainstorm can lead to a breakthrough- however small it may seem.
Marketing is a blend of creative and strategic. Both an art and a science.
That is why, a consultant will often be involved in monitoring results and tweaking campaigns along the way, to ensure that companies get the best results from their marketing efforts.
Small businesses with no marketing experts on staff and large companies with a dedicated marketing department can both use the services of a marketing consultant.
Having someone who is purely focused on your marketing, messaging and process is key. The could bring in something fresh to your business.
- Specialized skills to help you build your brand.
- An external viewpoint to internal challenges.
- New perspective on customers or marketing strategies.
When considering hiring a consultant, make sure you understand the value of hiring one, or it can be a waste of your time and money.
Take note of the insights and breakthroughs that occur and implement them. Be open to change and have patience to see the efforts unfold.