What makes a good marketing consultant
Whether your business is enjoying great success, is a start-up or is running into difficulties, it may benefit from the expertise of a marketing consultant. You won’t just be buying in an extra, outsider’s pair of eyes, but specific expertise. Obviously it’s important to hire wisely.
An effective marketing consultant can help you build on your success or help identify poor performing marketing and replace it with cost-effective programs. In my view, although a consultant may be an additional expense, they should be able to save you money.
Like any consultant, it’s worth finding a marketing consultant by recommendation and research. Any marketer worth their salt should be able to demonstrate their previous successes. If you are a small business or start-up, look for similar expertise in your consultant. Consulting to blue chip companies is a world away from a one person or less than 10 people set-up. I should also add that you shouldn’t hire someone because of an impressive CV if you don’t have a rapport with them. Life is too short.
A marketing consultant should generally have a broad based background in different techniques. Don’t hire a strategist if you’re looking for hands on help. Consider whether you need someone whose particular expertise is internet marketing. A good consultant who wants to work with you should be prepared to put pen to paper to develop a proposal about how they can help you: The more specific you can be, about what you need help with, the better. Is your marketing effort a money pit? Does your website get little traffic? Do you need to play catch up with social media? Do you struggle to integrate online and offline marketing? Do you need more sales leads? Whatever help you think you need, a good consultant should help you identify the issues up front. Consultants by their very nature tend to be analytical, so this can be a good test of their metal: Helping you identify what you need help with.
Reporting is often over-looked but clear and regular reporting by your consultant is essential for a number of reasons. It helps you keep track of results and progress but should also be an opportunity for the consultant to share knowledge with you. This is one of my personal bugbears. If a consultant is too insecure to share knowledge then walk away. My view is that a knowledgeable client is easier to work with and I see it as an integral part of the client-consultant relationship.