There are many reasons why you might hire a marketing consultant:
- You’re stuck on a project
- You can’t seem to get ‘out of the weeds’ to focus on bigger issues
- Campaigns aren’t performing
- Creative is getting stale
- Processes are outdated and tedious
- Budget constraints create stagnation and stifle creativity
- Integration of a new software or workflow
There are also some reasons not to hire a marketing consultant:
- Budget constraints
- Buy-in from higher-ups
- Not knowing who to contact
We all need help that we can’t give ourselves. A marketing consultant can be an outside perspective and positive energy you need to make a change. They’re able to quickly identify problems and work to alleviate them. They do this through a number of different approaches. This is our three-step process of identification, organization, and action.
The first thing a good consultant would do is research. It starts with looking at what you’re doing and also what the competitors are doing. They’ll gather all the important data points to help get to the root of a problem. Generally speaking, if you’re having trouble solving a problem there’s a good chance that you haven’t identified it correctly. For instance, it may appear that you have a tech issue but it’s actually a personnel problem. Being close to projects and people, we often miss what’s right in front of us. Furthermore, we don’t like confrontation. The outside perspective can help gracefully find these pain points and bottlenecks.
Once the actual problem is identified a plan can be put in place. This often starts with a Brain Dump exercise. Throw everything at a whiteboard and see what sticks. When all the ideas are on the table you can quickly see what elevates as the true priority. Side note: the original use of the word priority was singular. So only choose one! Focus on what is truly essential. I know you can walk and chew gum at the same time but you’ll make your biggest impact if you go an inch wide and a mile deep rather than a mile wide and an inch deep.
If you hire a marketing consultant, this is the time where their expertise will come into play. They’ll know the best methods, approaches, technologies and offer industry-specific wisdom. A good consultant will know what makes customers loyal and can help create a plan of action.
The hard work of research and planning is done. Now you just need to take the first step. Your plan should be laid out in a action-oriented sequential way. You’ve eliminated the emotion that we get stuck on by focusing on productivity. The most successful people are not motivated people. The most successful people are productive people. The deep thinking is out of the way and all you have to do is start knocking things out.
Let’s look at an example.
We recently consulted on a new tech startup. They had some serious marketing needs but didn’t know where to start. We jumped right into the research stage starting by assessing where the brand was at that moment and what their competition was doing. We quickly put together an action plan for a strong website, SEO strategy and social presence. However we didn’t start there. We began by creating brand guidelines and social media brand standards. From that point we created the action plan that was informed by our research. The client was empowered to take the plan and run with it. As a result, they are head and shoulders above the competition in their space and they just got started.
Recap – after you hire a marketing consultant
Hopefully they’ve helped improve your marketing program and as a result you’ve improved customer loyalty. But a consultant’s job is never done. They’re always a resource, especially when it comes to fine tuning a well-oiled machine. By that I mean honing in on segmentation, A/B testing creative and implementing workflows or new technology. They also know a lot of people if you’re needing a new employee. It doesn’t hurt to have a bi-annual checkup with your consultant to see if there’s anything new within the industry.
Even consultants have consultants
Almost all good consultants seek the wisdom of other consultants. We seek the counsel of other consultants because we need help that we can’t give ourselves. It’s kind of like a good therapist knows that they too need to see a therapist. In conclusion, it’s okay to reach out to experts when you need help.