What to look for in a marketing consultant
Marketing consultants offer fresh thinking, objective advice on marketing strategy and experience of delivering successful results for a wide range of companies in different market sectors. A marketing consultant can help you improve the performance of your marketing and can make your budget work harder for you. Have you considered new sectors that you may market to? A good consultant will help you explore the options. They can even work as your own outsourced marketing department. So, it’s important to select the right partner to work as your consultant. You have a lot riding on this relationship.
Before you search for a marketing consultant, decide what you want to achieve. You may want to resolve problems or poor performance in your existing market sectors. Or, you might want to increase share or launch new products. If you are new to marketing, you need advice on how it could help your company. To identify the right type of consultant, draw up a checklist of essential requirements.
Your marketing consultant must be able to demonstrate experience at solving the type of challenges your company faces. Depending on your industry, it is not always necessary for a marketing consultant to have experience in your specific industry. Sometimes having a fresh set of eyes will bring new ideas to the table and not be strapped by “this is the way everyone does it in this industry”. I say this with the caveat that the marketing consultant has a plan to gain this knowledge and to understand your business, not just guess or presuppose. Of course there will be a learning curve as every business is unique in its own ways. Make sure your consultant has experience with the scale of business you represent. Small, medium or large businesses have different needs and capabilities, and your marketing consultant should understand working within your scale parameters.
Marketing consultants possess different skills and specialties. Look for a consultant with a skills profile that matches your requirements. If you need to develop a strategy for growth, ask about the consultant’s strategic capabilities. If you want to improve the results from your marketing communications budget, look for a consultant with experience across the communications mediums you expect to use. Consultants should be prepared to deliver results. Ask how they measure the return on investment in marketing programs.
The working relationship between your company and the marketing consultant is important. In your initial discussions, ask how the consultant plans to gather information and approach the project. Find out if the consultant is willing to implement proposals in addition to making recommendations. Ask about the results the consultant aims to deliver and the basis for payment. You must feel confident that hiring a consultant will deliver value to your business and that you can forge a solid working relationship that achieves your goals.
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