What is a Marketing Consultant?
Marketing consultants are experienced professionals that can help a company or business create and execute plans and strategies that will market, or sell, your company’s products or services. It’s very important to understand that marketing consultants are not just ad agencies or advertising executives. While creating ads and tag lines will be part of a marketing consultant’s job, there is much more that’s involved.
An excellent marketing consultant should be able to:
- think strategically.
- conceptualise creatively.
- organise tasks to minimse your costs.
- monitor and refine to maximise your profits.
- be a mentor for you with a passion.
A marketing consultant will help a company research markets & competition, price, package, distribute and sell your product or service. These things are included in what’s known as the “marketing mix,” a mixture of ideas and strategies that will advertise the product, but will also take every element of the product into consideration to make it better and more accessible and appealing to the buying customer. Essentially, a marketing consultant must be able to advise clients on the best way to sell your products, and that includes every single aspect of that product, not just the advertisements or brochures themselves.
Marketing consultants must be able to bring a lot of skills and knowledge to the table. They must be able to understand the thoughts, actions, and behavior of consumers so that they can understand why consumers buy the things they do. Marketing consultants must be able to understand things such as the targeted demographics, psycho-graphics and behaviours and categorise these in to “personas” for a specific product and then figure out what combination media outlets is best for reaching the designated Personas. They must understand what type of marketing that target Persona is going to respond to best, and what will drive the consumer to buy the company’s product or service. They must be able to recommend strategies to monitor and managed the marketing expenditure and be able to calculate the ROI (Return on Investment) of each campaign as well as provide information on the CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) of the buyer.
Along with critical thinking skills, a marketing consultant isn’t all about numbers and statistics, either. Any marketing consultant must also be able to think creatively. The world of marketing is one that is always changing (the greatest change in marketing is right now), and one that consumers can quickly become bored with or move to different media. Using the same marketing strategy that’s been used for millions of companies with millions of different products just isn’t going to work, because consumers simply won’t respond to it. A marketing consultant must be able to think of creative strategies that will interest consumers in the product and get them to eventually buy it. Traditional marketing such as newspapers, magazines , brochures, radio etc are no longer as effective as they once were due to their “push” nature. Today, people are searching for the products and services they require online. They will use a smartphone or tablet to seek what they want, do some research “pull” on the product and then buy it online. Due to mobile technology, the average buyer researches for the average product or service using multiple technologies and media which are called “touchpoints”, before they will make a decision on whether to buy. A good marketing consultant will understand all the possible media and create strategies to ensure your products are available via all the multiple touchpoints.
Marketing consultants can either be proficient and knowledge in all areas of marketing, or they may specialize in one certain area of it such as brochure production, branding, Internet marketing, direct mail, or other forms of marketing. Large firms will most likely include things such as web design and they may also have separate departments for client services, production, and distribution. Other marketing consultants have their own business, and take care of all these things themselves (Attractum), or with a small staff. Either way, you shouldn’t choose your marketing consultant based on the size of the company they own or work for. You’ll need to do some of your own digging and research to decide which marketing consultant is truly best for you and your company.
Why Hire a Marketing Consultant?
When it comes to marketing your company’s product, there are a few choices that you have:
- You can do it yourself,
- you can hire someone full-time to take on the job,
- or you can hire a marketing consultant.
This latter choice is really the only way to go. Yes, that’s partly because they bring all the skills, experience, and knowledge necessary to do the job correctly, but that really is only part of it. There are so many reasons to hire a marketing consultant, and no reason why you shouldn’t.
- Expertise. A good marketing consultant will have all the expertise you require to ensure your strategy, tactics and campaigns are running to their maximum profitability. If marketing is not your area of expertise, then you will need to doo all the marketing research yourself to enable you to manage the marketing project. In some cases an excellent marketing consultant will have decades of experience which you will need to replicate in a short timescale if you wish to do the project yourself.
- Digital & Social Knowledge. As with the expertise, an excellent marketing consultant will have the latest knowledge in internet, social media, analytics, demographic & psycho-graphic and behavioural analysis skills to ensure your campaigns are highly targeted to your buying customer.
- Creative Skills. Creativity is to ensure your marketing stands out from the crowd whilst ensuring your brand positioning is enhanced. A picture paints a thousand words and the choice of the right imagery for your marketing campaign along with the compelling script is an essential element of success.
- Copywriting Skills. As mentioned above, understanding the power of word and creating compelling sales cpy when linked with the psycho-graphics of the buyer have a huge impact on the success results of any campaign.
- Money. Yes, just like everything else in your business, marketing comes down to money. The better your marketing campaign is, the more money you are likely to make. And while you may think that hiring a marketing consultant will take away from that extra profit, because you’ll be spending those extra dollars on your consultant, this is absolutely untrue. If you take on the giant task of marketing yourself and fail, it will cost your company hundreds and thousands of dollars. And when that happens, your marketing budget may already be tapped, disallowing you the opportunity to find your mistakes and do it again properly a second time. And that’s not the only way that marketing consultants will save you money.
- Many other attributes.
If your small business needed to have its roof repaired, would you hire a contractor full-time to stay on with your company, in the event that you need roof work done again at some point? Of course not! You’d hire a contractor to take care of the problem and your business would be finished with them once they were through. If you have another roof problem in the future, you’ll call them back and arrange for a new job – there’s no need to pay them in the meantime. The same is very true for a marketing consultant. While hiring a full-time marketing individual or department will allow you to hand over marketing jobs and duties to that person when they arise, that won’t be all that often. Once your marketing strategy has been created and implemented, there will be very little for your marketing consultant to do unless you require them to manage the campaigns on your behalf. While you may have to bring them in once in awhile to adjust marketing strategies and change them slightly, it’s certainly not worth bringing someone in full-time, and that strategy will definitely cost you a lot more in the long run than hiring a consultant will be.
Another very good reason to hire a marketing consultant is simply because you are too busy to do it yourself! As the owner of a small business, you already have several balls in the air that you’re juggling. Marketing is an enormous area and if you take it on yourself, you’re bound to drop one of those balls, either in the marketing department or somewhere else within the company. And wherever something gets missed, that’s going to cost your company money in one form or another.