I’m a marketing consultant and strategist, so no surprise to me writing this article, however so let me start off with why not to hire a marketing consultant!
You must be reading saying what? But here's the truth marketing consultants aren’t magicians. Don’t go looking for someone to fix your marketing if your product or service doesn’t make sense. Don’t expect a consultant to come in and get you more clients if you don’t have a sound methodology that allows you to stand out. And finally, don’t hire a consultant so you can abdicate the all-important role of marketing to an “expert.”
Really good marketing consultants won’t take your money unless they believe they can actually help you and, no matter what you believe your burning need is, you should hire a consultant to help you in these six areas first. Let me say in South Africa especially, the name 'consultant' sometimes carry a let's say poor reputation. However, it is the professional's reputation that counts, that's why really good consultants will know they can help you before they take on the project. Just keep an open mind, there's method to the madness believe me.
You need a real strategy
A good marketing consultant will demand that you spend time building a firm foundation based on strategy before proposing a series of tactics aimed at lifting sales or working on branding. Until you find a way to change the context of how your ideal customer views what you do and in effect renders the competition irrelevant, you’ll find that your marketing efforts never seem to build momentum, you need to investigate this problem. You want to avoid spending tonnes of money on advertising with no real results. If there is synergy, I like to call it the 'golden thread' pulled across your business and you have a clear direction going forward then you have a sound base to make a real difference in what you do. Remember your sales function is only a function of marketing. Not a stand alone element, they are integrated. Marketing is the Formula 1 engine, if it is not working properly you can't win the races. [look at Maclaren-Honda]
New blood breeds new life
My favourite, a really good marketing consultant has the vast business knowledge and has been around working in different businesses and sometimes industries too. Think of a marketing consultant who is trained at starting new businesses and really understands business since marketing taps into all areas of a business. Therefore a marketing consultant can guide and advise you on new practices, tools and techniques to spot the opportunities not thought of by your team, especially if you get a consultant who specialises in niches like B2B retail for distributors to tap into. It's not just the marketing knowledge but where industry experience and marketing is fused together to reach unbelievable opportunities, sometimes with all the resources you have right now.
Follow this link from the Time Doctor: The Top 4 Tools Every Marketing Consultant Needs. https://biz30.timedoctor.com/marketing-consultant-tools
You need fewer objectives
A good consultant will help you determine your best payoff work and your most pressing objectives based on where you want to be in a year, in three years, in five years – not next week. And, a good consultant will make sure that the number of priority objectives at any given time stays very, very small. Reasons why is simple, people have to execute them. Namely, your staff have to be tasked with executing within their strategic business units ie: Sales, Marketing, Manufacturing, distribution. You don't want your efforts being forgotten due to staff seemingly unable to prioritise too many objectives. The Lean business model fits well with fewer objectives and gives you time to adapt on reactions from your market forces. Remember KISS 'Keep it simple stupid'.
You have resource gaps
Sometimes in the “do it yourself” world of small business, it’s difficult to spot the areas that require outside help. You may be able to set up your newsletter, add plugins to WordPress and clumsily create header graphics for your social media profiles but is this work actually robbing you from focusing on better payoff work? The easy way is to get a marketing consultant in to show you how easy it is by creating a marketing library of perfectly crafted work to use. Look at a content marketing strategy which can be used across all platforms and produces sound results over time.
Sure, those things above might need to be attended to, but a good consultant will help you stop doing the things that are better handled by others. In fact, they might just help you become the CEO again!
You need to fix your conversion
Too many business owners, and sadly some consultants, focus on traffic and likes when the highest priority should be conversion. When you can figure out how to get visitors to your website and prospects that respond to your sales presentation to buy you can build a significant business.
Once you have conversion trending upwards you can buy traffic confidently in the fact that you can bank on conversions.
You can’t stay focused
One of the dirty little secrets of consulting is that a part of you simply needs someone to hold you accountable, someone to help you document your goals and objectives and then smack you with some sort of a stick when you wander off into new ideas and social networks because staying focused seems way too boring.
A part of this is accomplished through nagging and setting appointments, but the greatest gains are achieved when your focus starts to produce results. A good consultant will demand metrics tied to objectives and help you process and understand the value you’ll derive by hitting your goals.
Okay, now you can go and check your emails for a bit, but tomorrow it’s back to rocking your marketing strategy.