A strategic marketing consultancy – do you actually need one?
Whether you’re a small local business or a large international company, hiring a strategic marketing consultancy can provide the focus and energy needed to give your marketing activity a boost – bottom line, it delivers the results you want. There are a rich variety of marketing specialists and marketing consulting services to choose from. The right one for you very much depends on what you want to achieve, how you plan to achieve it, the skills your already have to hand and time!
I have been a marketer for many years and worked for a wide range of companies, either as an employee or a marketing consultant – this has given me great insight into the varying marketing needs of different businesses and the difference getting the right marketing assistance, at the right time can make. The following tips will help you identify if you need a strategic marketing consultancy and how to select one that is right for you.
Be clear on why you need a strategic marketing consultancy
Strategic marketing consultancy are hired by businesses for three reasons – to provide a marketing function, to fill a skills gap in the marketing team, or to offer some fresh thinking on how they market their company and products. It could be a mix of these, so it is important to assess your current team’s capabilities – their strengths and weakness. This understanding will reveal the marketing functions that a strategic marketing consultancy could fulfill. Your marketing project may require someone who specialises in marketing strategy, marketing communications plans, brand, sales tools, content or digital marketing strategy, amongst others.
You should also consider experience – do you just need someone to execute a plan or are you looking for an experienced marketing strategist? Thinking these points through will also tease out your objectives, which brings us to the next tip – be clear on your end game.
What is the end game?
What does a ‘positive outcome’ look like? Certainly the marketing objectives should have been achieved – but employing a strategic marketing consultancy is also a way to enhance your business and marketing function or a way to free up time that can be spent on other essential tasks. Whatever the final goal, make sure you plan for it. Don’t hire a consultant to fill a resource gap for three months, without also looking at how to close that gap internally. If you know that this education process is part of your requirements, ensure you brief prospective consultants clearly.
The best marketing consultants will get a feel for your company quickly and will encourage shadowing for a session or two. They can be employed not only to complete the task they need to but also to crosscheck your skill set and help formulate a strategy that you and your team can realistically work with going forward – with or without a strategic marketing consultancy. The key point is that you’re able to build-up your marketing knowledge and set the ‘marketing team’ in the right direction going forward. So what framework should you expect your marketing consultancy to develop? It starts with a solid strategy.
Setting the blueprint for all marketing activity
Don’t be surprised if when you invite a strategic marketing consultancy to pitch for work that they seem obsessed with your business model, because it is the blueprint for your marketing strategy. A good consultancy will want to spend time understanding the business model, as it explains how you plan to make a profit from the value you sell to customers. A good marketing strategy will be easier to develop and more likely to succeed if it is in sync with this.
The right strategy will identify how to get your ideal customer to understand the value you bring and in effect render the competition irrelevant – without it you’ll find that your marketing efforts never seem to return the results you had hoped for. From here you have a firm foundation on which the right marketing communications mix can be planned. But you need to set the right objectives. Again this is where a good stategic marketing consultancy can be of great value.
Setting the right marketing objectives?
If you hire a consultant to simply focus on increasing traffic or getting more followers or likes, you’ll probably be disappointed with the end results. The highest priority should be conversion! A good consultant can help you set objectives that focus on how to convert visitors to your website, for example – be it lead generation or sales. Achieving these objectives will enable you to build a significant business. When you have the tactics in place to increase conversion rates, it then makes sense to focus on building the hits.
If you have any questions about hiring a strategic marketing consultancy please get in touch to arrange a free briefing session.