A marketing consultant is a marketing professional with expertise in strategies to engage customers and improve business opportunities, both through retaining existing clients and attracting new patrons. Through a well-developed and targeted campaign, a successful marketing strategy and plan will help companies achieve defined and measurable goals. These are determined through careful and thorough analysis of the current situation and status of the company, considering its position in the industry or service and evaluating successes, challenges and available resources.
The work of a skilled marketing consultant is a careful blend of leadership and advisory roles, with the ability to be both extremely analytical and creative simultaneously. A marketing consultant has the challenge of quickly and accurately assessing the unique internal and external elements affecting the business, ranging from customer satisfaction and need to competitors, market trends, technological innovations and environmental factors. While determining short- and long-term strategies to reach marketing objectives, the marketing consultant has to ensure that targets are met and the company’s mission statement doesn’t become lost in the process.
Executing the marketing strategy is a delicate operation and requires someone who is able to monitor progress and adapt the plan and innovate as necessary. Again, almost paradoxically, a marketing consultant is a hybrid of the most organized, details-oriented planner who can also navigate off the map so to speak, initiating changes based on expert intuition and research-informed decisions. It’s like employing a scientific researcher who knows when to trust his gut feelings.
Hiring a marketing consultant gives businesses access to an incredible brain-trust and skillset for far less cost than it would be to retain a marketing professional on staff. Contracting with a marketing consultant to work on select projects either independently or in collaboration with in-house employees works very well for small and large companies.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A MARKETING CONSULTANT
Marketing consultants should be extremely good with people and able to demonstrate a depth of knowledge about consumer behaviours, communications and marketing processes. They are typically expert interviewers who can astutely analyze not only how a company is positioned within its niche but also what will drive consumers to purchase the products or services. A good marketing consultant will have ideas about how to expand business while staying on budget and work well with existing management and staff.
The best marketing consultants in the business are highly skilled in communications, psychology and business. They are innovators and creative personalities who are not intimidated by new technologies and trying different approaches to achieve the desired goals. It goes without saying that successful marketing consultants are self-starters who drive the process to achieve measurable results. By definition the marketing consultant should offer expertise in marketing strategy and process.
It is not unusual for marketing consultants to specialize in certain areas or industries such as travel, real estate, entertainment, etc. Here are some common types of marketing consultants:
- Small business advisors – Working with family or privately owned small businesses like spas or restaurants, these marketing consultants will help plan how to increase sales on limited budgets. They will look for opportunities to work with existing resources to build the business and retain customer loyalty.
- Online marketing consultants – These marketing professionals are focused on using the internet to market a business online. Often they specialize in pay per click (PPC) advertising or search engine optimization (SEO) to drive customers to their client sites. Clients range from small businesses to large corporations.
- Corporate branding consultants – When companies want to define a professional look, or brand, and mission, a branding consultant is the person required for the job. This marketing consultant is experienced in ensuring a company has a defined presence in the market that identifies it as unique, from its logo and printed materials to letterhead, website and signage.
- Social media consultants – This new frontier for marketing consultants helps with setting up and managing social media – everything from Facebook and Twitter to HootSuite and Pinterest. They will assist in the design of pages and registering of domain names for websites to writing blogs, Facebook posts and Tweets that drive traffic to websites. Again, these consultants are hired by everyone from mothers starting small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations.
- Client acquisition consultants – If businesses rely on new clients to generate revenues, they hire consultants who specialize in drawing new business. Commonly hired by startups, travel agencies, hotels & resorts, lawyers, finance professionals or real estate agencies, these marketing professionals know how to attract fresh leads.
When hiring a marketing consultant, decide what it is you need and then find someone who has experience and skills in that area and preferably for your niche industry or service. Ask to see the consultant’s portfolio and find out about how satisfied their most recent clients are with the work that was done.
I’m a marketing consultant and I’m here to help.
Find out more about me, my services, web, marketing and advertising projects I’ve worked on, and why you should hire me as your marketing consultant. Contact me today and we can setup a time for a free initial consultation to discuss your business and goals.
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