WHAT IS A MARKETING CONSULTANT?
By definition, a marketing consultant is an advisor for business planning and execution of marketing strategies. They understand what the customer needs. Using their expertise, they analyze insights, processes, and issues to suggest and apply solutions.
They close the gap between the current marketing challenges and a successful marketing strategy.
A consultant helps create a detailed marketing plan, determine a business's marketing message, and identify the appropriate marketing mix to get the message out to the target market. Marketing consultants work jointly with businesses to develop brand awareness, campaigns, or products or services.
Most consultants are also involved in implementing the marketing strategy . They often help monitor results and tweak campaigns as they go to ensure that companies get the best results from their marketing efforts.
Marketing Consultant Role and Responsibilities
Ultimately marketing consultant services can be customized to your unique business needs. In general, they have a few broad roles and responsibilities.
Evaluate Marketing Operations
The operational structure of your business drives marketing strategy. One client we’ve worked with intended to spend over $10,000 a month in paid advertising until they realized that there was a breakdown in the customer service department that would have been accepting all incoming calls from the campaign. As a result, training and processes had to be implemented before the ad campaign launched to maximize results.
So marketing strategy consultants can objectively evaluate your operational processes and help you develop your team through training to result in higher conversion rates. Sometimes this could also mean implementing new marketing software or automating certain services to avoid human error.
Understanding your business operations and processes by talking to those boots on the ground should be one of a marketing consultant’s first steps.
Review Profitability of Services or Goods
If I asked you how much it cost you to mow one lawn, design one landscape plan, or grow one hydrangea, could you tell me? How do you factor in the labor, materials, maintenance, tools, etc.?
We’ve helped a large nursery do just that. We established a baseline cost for each product based on container size. We reviewed the growing cycle in terms of months necessary from propagation to purchase. We established high maintenance and low maintenance products and calculated an addition or reduction to the cost of those items. We factored in branded items such as containers, tags, and royalty fees. And we determined that some products were not profitable at all.
Why is this information valuable to a marketing consultant? If a product isn’t profitable, you definitely shouldn’t add to its cost by spending marketing dollars on it. You’ll never be able to justify the return on investment.
Set Goals and Strategic Initiatives
Depending on your business goals and target audiences, your marketing consultant will develop a digital marketing strategy. Certain marketing tactics lend themselves to specific goals. For example, if you want to cast a wide net across your city to anyone interested in container plants, an SEO campaign might be a good choice. However, if you want to target your landscaping service to homeowners within a certain income range, paid advertising allows you more control over who sees your promotion.
Develop a Marketing Strategy and Plan
When it comes to determining the best or most effective marketing tactics, a digital marketing consultant should always tell you it depends. But they can also help you choose which channels and types of digital campaigns will provide the quickest results for your goals and strategic initiatives.
The most common digital marketing tactics include:
Social media marketing
Blogging & Content marketing
Search engine optimization
Execute and Optimize Marketing Campaign
Some marketing consultants may also provide marketing agency services, and others may work with another agency to oversee the execution and regular optimization. Either way, depending on the specific tactics selected for your marketing strategy, your marketing consultant can help you determine key performance indicators to measure the success of your campaigns.
Without measurements for success, there’s no goal to execute or optimize for. Key performance indicators could be return on investment of all tactics, cost per conversion for paid ads, engagement rate on social media, keyword rankings for SEO, etc. Your marketing consultant can monitor these KPIs and adjust your marketing campaigns accordingly and report back to you regularly on the success of your efforts.
Why Would You Hire a Marketing Consultant?
If you’re considering hiring a marketing consultant, then you should. One or more of the following reasons may be driving that consideration because they’re common reasons among small business owners.
Marketing Isn't Working
Prayer is not a marketing strategy. All businesses must utilize some form of marketing. But even then, all marketing campaigns need optimization. A website is never done. You don’t just create a Facebook Page and never share anything. You have to write regular blog posts. There isn’t an SEO switch you just flip on. Even paid advertising requires reviewing auction insights to adjust your bid strategy and keyword choices.
And what worked once, won’t always work again. Competitors, culture and companies like Google are constantly changing the rules of the game. But a good marketing consultant will be able to identify and apply solutions to what isn’t working anymore.
You Need a Specialized Marketing Skill
You have a specialized skill set unique to your industry. But as a business owner you're expected to wear many hats. Whether your business is growing and you no longer have the time, or your business is struggling to close sales and you need specialized insight, outsourcing marketing efforts is generally more cost effective than hiring a full time marketing associate.
We’ve worked with businesses that outsource all of their marketing strategy and execution, and also with clients who just need help with more advanced marketing tactics, such as SEO or paid advertising.
Either way, you want a holistic approach to your marketing strategy, so when your business needs to outsource marketing efforts, it's time to hire a marketing consultant to ensure execution by all parties aligns with the marketing strategy.
You Need an Outsider Perspective
Maybe your marketing efforts are working but you’re curious if they’re as effective as they could be. An outsider’s perspective could help you find the gaps that will take your marketing from good to great. A marketing consultant can look at your marketing strategies with freshness and unexpected approaches.
Maybe your marketing has plateaued or feels stale and dated. A marketing consultant can be a source of new ideas, or even vet the ideas you already have.
Ultimately, getting an outside perspective can provide you with three key things:
An unbiased opinion on how new the idea really seems.
Ideas common outside your industry but that may never have occurred to you.
Help you hone your 30-second pitch and get away from internal lingo.
Hire a Marketing Consultant
If you do a search for “marketing consultant,” you’re going to find almost 2 billion search results on Google. Don’t hire the first one that catches your eye. Do your research. Check out what types of industries they work with. Find someone who works with businesses similar to yours. Read reviews and testimonials.
Then schedule a consultation. Hiring a marketing consultant should always start with an introductory consultation to get to know the consultant and vet if they seem like they’re the best person to help you with your marketing goals.
Don’t balk at consultants who charge for a initial consultation. Oftentimes this implies they intend to do research and an audit prior to the initial call. They may even ask for an intake form. These are indicators that their time is too valuable to risk a no-show and they intend to provide more substance and value to the call than a consultant who is using a free consultation just to pitch you other services.
The mission of Dirty Marketing Group is to help your business identify the most effective tactics available to achieve your business goals through monthly and quarterly consulting subscription services. But if you’re not ready to commit to a long-term relationship with a marketing consultant, start with a one-hour strategic consultation to get to know us.