You may be looking for a Marketing Consultant because you heard that hiring one can help your business. Maybe someone you know had a good experience with a Marketing Consultant, and they convinced you to look into getting one. Whatever your reasons are, this article will give you five tips to help guide you in the steps necessary for deciding if you need a Marketing Consultant and if you do need one, some ideas on how to hire a good one!
Do I need a Marketing Consultant?
Before you begin to look for a Marketing Consultant, here is a great tip and a necessary first step: do some soul-searching and determine if you need a Marketing Consultant in the first place. If so, why do you need one? What do you want to accomplish hiring a Marketing Consultant? What do you want to have or be able to do differently as a result of this person entering your business sphere? Below are five things to consider to help you with your decision to determine what kind of help you really need.
Five things to consider before hiring a Marketing Consultant
- You may need a Marketing Consultant if you need more brain power. This has nothing to do with how deep your talent pool is in your business. As a business owner, you may be at the point in your business growth that you need clearly defined goals for your company. Those goals can help you identify your market, which will lead to the creation of a marketing campaign. These campaigns should be based on data and filled with strategies to keep current customers satisfied and to attract new clientele. Those are certainly noble pursuits, but maybe you are a small business owner and don’t have the time or resources to gather data, develop a focussed business plan and brainstorm marketing strategies. Even if you have talented people on your staff, you still have to have the manpower to keep the business running, and can’t afford to take them off their normal duties to take on large projects like this.
- You may need a Marketing Consultant if you find yourself going around and putting out fires all the time. It seems like you have time left over at the end of the day to work on long-range projects. There is a difference between working on what is important, and what is urgent. You have to do the day-to-day work of keeping the business going. That is urgent work because it must be done, and it is important because without the work being done, there is no business! However, there are things that are not urgent, but vitally important. In the business world, this could be such tasks as long-range planning, or creating a mission and vision for your companies future. These are very important tasks, but they are not urgent. If you did not do them today, your business would not come to a halt. However, these are examples of the very tasks that are important, perhaps most important, to the long-term health and prosperity of your company. How can you take the time out of the whirlwind of the day-to-day operations and give these important tasks the thoughtful focus that they need? One solution would be to hire a Marketing Consultant. A Marketing Consultant would be able to engage your staff in the processes needed to focus on the important, not urgent tasks.
- You may need a Marketing Consultant if you someone with specialized skills. Let’s face it, some of the specialized skills you may need at some point in your business’s growth may not exist in your current staff. Perhaps you need someone to guide your senior management in a process to create a vision and mission for your company. Perhaps you need someone to gather and analyze data about your customer base. Maybe you realize that a new product isn’t selling as well as you would like, but you do not understand why. For each one of these unique situations, there are Marketing Consultants in the field that have the skills needed to help. Employees with highly specialized skills are valuable, but they are needed in the daily operations of the business. To pull them off of their regular duties and assign them long-term project work may not be the best use of that valuable human resource.
- You may need a Marketing Consultant if you have some difficult decisions to make. In the life of any human organization, at some point, there are polarizing decisions that need to be made. Making the decision to choose one action over another can be fraught with emotions and loyalties within the ranks. As the leader, you know what needs to be done, and you also know that, while many people are very resilient, some people are much more fragile. If you choose the difficult, but the correct path, you know that the emotional fallout from that decision for some of your key workers will be insurmountable, and make it impossible for you to keep a collegial working relationship with them. Enter the Marketing Consultant. A Marketing Consultant can come into the situation, without emotional bias or any loyalties except to the greater good of the company. This can make it easier to make difficult recommendations that will lead the company down the correct path while preserving the working relationships and feelings of key employees.
- You may need a Marketing Consultant if you need some perspective. Many people, when faced with difficult decisions or challenges in their lives, turn to a professional counselor or life coach. From them, they can get unbiased opinions and guidance on next steps and objective feedback on how they are doing. We do this in our personal lives, why not do the same in our professional lives as well? A Marketing Consultant will get to know you, your drives and motivations, your passions and purpose, and will be able to be the guide on the side, advising you and giving you feedback. If any of these conditions exist, you may want to begin to look for a consultant.
Tips on hiring the best Marketing Consultant
There are many Marketing Consultants in the field. To find the best fit for you, you may want to consider the following tips for hiring the best Marketing Consultant, and getting the most out of them once you have hired them.
- First of all, think about the list above. Do you need a Marketing Consultant? If so, what do you need them to do? Is it gather data or someone to be objective and guide a tough decision? Once you have this clear in your mind, the hiring decision for the right Marketing Consultant will become more clear.
- You have decided you need a Marketing Consultant, but do you understand exactly what problem you want them to help solve? If you hire a consultant to help you build a faster boat, you may want to think that through. What kind of assumptions are you making? Perhaps you just want a faster way to get from one island to the next in your exotic location! If that is the case, then all sorts of possibilities open up. You could hire a bridge builder, or consolidate your holdings in one location. Truly understanding the problem you want to solve, and having a firm grasp of your goals and what you want to accomplish, can help you the most out of hiring a Marketing Consultant.
- Are you willing to change? If you are hiring a Marketing Consultant, by definition it is inviting change into your organization. Hiring a Marketing Consultant does not imply that what you are doing now is bad or wrong. It does fully support the idea of ongoing, constant innovation. When looking for a Marketing Consultant, find one that you believe won’t be a yes man, and tell you what you want. Find someone who will tell you the truth, even if it hurts! A Marketing Consultant can be a valuable resource in helping with bringing about change in the organization. You have to be ready to accept any and all feedback. Could you have a growth mindset and accept that may be part of the problem is you?
- Find someone you get along with, someone you like, someone you think you can trust. You will end up having some deep conversations with this person, so you want to be comfortable with them. Also, don’t bend to pressure and hire someone who is related to someone who you as a favor. This is too important of a decision. Find someone you like, check references, and go with them, not the CFO’s son-in-law.
- Along the same lines, find someone who is interested in you and your business. In other words, someone who is willing to listen and to give advice and create strategies and plans for you. You do not want a regurgitated or adapted plan they used on a different job. Find someone who will customize their wisdom, knowledge and skills for your benefit in your unique situation.
- Once you hire the Marketing Consultant, don’t let that be the end of your interactions with them. Talk to them, consult with them, get regular updates, make sure they are on the path you want them to be on. If they are, of course, don’t be timid about giving them feedback. They are your partner in this endeavor. Like any relationship, make sure to air any grievances, give praise when it is deserved, and continually communicate.
The goal of this article was to give you some food for thought to consider if you need a Marketing Consultant in the first place. Perhaps you need more brain power. You may have all the talent you need in your organization, but you can’t afford to take them out of the whirlwind of the daily workload, so a consultant could be someone who can help. A Marketing Consultant may be of help if you find yourself spending your time on the daily operations, and have a difficult time working on the more long-term, important aspects of the business. Marketing Consultants can also be of use for their specialized skills. Whether it is data gathering and analysis or creating strategies and marketing plans, a Marketing Consultant could be helpful. Using a Marketing Consultant as a counselor and sounding board for important decisions, or just to give you an objective perspective, can also be invaluable. Think about the tips for hiring the right Marketing Consultant, and tips on how to get the most out of the Marketing Consultant once you hire them. Find someone you like, you can be honest with and feel that they will be honest with you. Keep up the lines of communication and give feedback and praise, and redirect them if necessary. Having a Marketing Consultant on your team can be an invaluable resource and one that can help your business immeasurably.