7 reasons why you need to consider a marketing consultant.
Why 7? Because 10 would make this post too long! 😉
It’s been a while since I wrote my last blog on here, I even missed the 2nd Birthday back in April! So it’s time to rejuvenate this page with a new blog. Whatever size or type of business you’re in, you’re doing some form of marketing, even if you don’t fully realise it yet. I hope this short blog will go some way to help you think about how you’re marketing your business or organisation.
This list of 7 reasons why you should consider using a marketing consultant is valid not only for the small business owner, but right up to large commercial enterprises. I’ve written it to be accessible for everyone, no matter who you are, and have deliberately kept it basic because of this. If you’d like to see more of these or if you disagree with anything I have said, why not leave a comment in the box below? All comments are welcome!
You simply don’t have the time
Let’s start with something controversial, I disagree with you entirely on this. Actually, you do have the time. But what you need to do isn’t your biggest priority right now, because you have bigger fish to fry.
So go and fry your fish, and let the marketing become a marketing consultant’s priority, as he/she does have the time. You’ll achieve more in your business that way.
#2 Efficiency & Expertise
Picture this scenario, you’re a small business owner, or a Marketing Director at a large FMCG organisation. Like the rest of us, you have a ton of things to get done and have to turn your hand to things that are not really your bag. Sure, you can do them, but it takes time, it’s fiddly and you never quite get the end results you were hoping for. Sound familiar?
As a small business owner, you’ll probably try to handle those things yourself. As a Marketing Director, you’ll probably delegate some of those things to your team, but all that really does is push the problem on to someone else and you’ll end up with the same lack of results. Before you’ve even started you might have to spend some time coaching a team member on how to do something, so that’s yet more time lost.
Time is money. A marketing consultant can do things quicker and faster with better results because you’ve dedicated them to that project.
It’s a huge personal gamble to become a marketing consultant. Usually the consultant is sacrificing a solid, reliable salary and income as an employee in order to set themselves up and persue their own dream of what is pretty much self-employment. For this reason, consultants are usually very experienced, because if they weren’t, they simply wouldn’t make it more than a few months. Like the rest of us, we’ve got bills and a mortgage to pay too.
Experience means the consultant has often done the same types of projects and tasks that you require over and over again, which makes them more efficient and faster, able to produce a faster and higher output of work for you but most importantly, it means they already have the knowledge of what works and how to do it which they have gained through experience. If they don’t have the knowledge, because something is very specialist, they’ll almost certainly know where to go for it. This leads us on nicely to point #4…
#4 Network of suppliers
So we’ve established that by the time someone becomes a marketing consultant, they’ve been in a marketing role for a while beforehand, usually as an employee. That means they’ve come into contact with a whole range of suppliers both locally and nationally and they’ve had personal experience of working with them and know the pros and cons of each one. Let’s take graphic design as an example. If you were producing design for on-shelf packaging, you’d probably want to use a different designer to someone who designs posters for a pop concert. Why? Because each designer knows the trends, the styles and the format of what works best for each type of audience and function. The same can be said of print, social media, PPC, or even website design.
A marketing consultant can usually recommend who to use from their own personal experience from a large pool of trusted suppliers. They know the right people for the job.
#5 Out of the box thinking
This is one thing the larger organisations generally tend to do better at. That’s usually because they have big teams, with a constant source of new hires, each of whom brings additional creativity and experience. But what if you don’t have a big team, or you’re feeling a bit stuck for inspiration? Here’s a little exercise you can do in your head while you’re reading this right now, whether you’re a business owner or an employee.
Whether you, I, or anyone else likes it or not, the world changes. Fact. So get used to embracing it.
As a business, you need to move with the times, or be left in the wake of your competitors or someone new that comes along and implements something that works for today’s audience. There are many different things or ways in which you might have to change. If you’re a bit stuck on what that might be, let’s take a look at the very basic 4Ps of Marketing. There’s more to consider if you work in a service industry, but for now, let’s keep it simple with 4.
– Price is crucial. When people think of price, being the cheapest comes to mind in the first instance. That’s actually wrong. Price doesn’t mean you need to be the cheapest, it means that your product or service offering has to justify it’s price point. That can be in the form of the service you offer, the build quality of a product, or it’s features and benefits. Once your product or brand offering has reached a certain level of awareness, engagement and desire, you can actually increase price because you’ve earned that right to trade at a higher price. VW use this strategy well within their Skoda, Seat, VW and Audi brands. I also once bought a brand new Alfa Romeo, simply because I wanted an Alfa Romeo. It was more expensive than other cars in the same class, but I was swung by the brand and prepared to pay more for it.
– Every product has a lifecycle. You always need to have innovation in the back of your mind. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be the next James Dyson and invent something almost brand new, what it means is that you need to offer the right products and services for today. There’s nothing wrong with launching a copycat product, it happens all the time. If you want an example, Hoover launched some of the first vacuum cleaners, but others followed suit and eventually became more successful.
– How you promote is changing, and where you promote is changing. You need to know where your audience are and how they will consume your promotion. As an example, if you’re trying to promote more online, installing Google Analytics and a Facebook pixel will help you enormously. What’s important is to understand how your consumers are changing so that you can promote to them in the right way.
– How and where people buy does change. We’ve seen it with the internet for example. Remember Comet and Blockbuster Video, they didn’t adapt in time for the change in consumer buying behaviour. Don’t let that happen to you.
A marketing consultant has often worked across many different organisations and often industries too. They can bring in fresh ideas, learnings and experience of what works into your business from outside industry.
This one may surprise you. It can, and often is, cheaper to hire a marketing consultant than an employee. This might sound crazy when you break down the annual salary or hourly rate of a permanent staff member and compare that to the cost of a freelancer or marketing consultant.
So how on earth are you actually saving money? Here’s how:
It’s because they are not an employee. A marketing consultant is their own business, or at least a good well established one is. What that means is you get an invoice for the time worked, rather like your mobile phone bill. So you won’t be paying out for annual holiday pay, sickness or absence. On top of this, you won’t be contributing to their pension either, or have to pay employer’s tax contributions to HMRC. Who foots the bill for the tax and pensions etc? The marketing consultant does. Their own business employs them, not you, so their business has to pay their employers tax, fund his/her pension, cover absences, fund gaps in any work etc.
There are more savings to be had too, a good consultant will have their own reliable vehicle insured for business, and generic IT equipment with cloud services and server meaning they can work for you from anywhere. So you won’t have to pay for laptops and company cars on top of that.
The final saving comes in the form of how you use the consultant, and that’s really up to you. I can only speak from personal experience on this one. As an example I operate on both a contract day rate and also a monthly retainer system. Let’s have a look at how the two work:
A contract day rate means during the working day, I’m booked exclusively for whoever has hired me. That entire day is dedicated to one company, and I can work either at their office, or remotely from home (or if I’m feeling a bit lonely I sometimes pop into a CoWork facility at a serviced office and work from there!). Contract day rates are good for companies that have project or time-based marketing activities to accomplish and who know exactly when they need help.
A monthly retainer system means you’ve booked x number of days per month, but you don’t know when or what the work will be. This type of work is only done when I’m not booked up on a contract day rate, meaning I handle that typically during eveninings and weekends. This is great cover, especially for the smaller business who may not have such extreme deadlines to meet and also needs help with a bit of everything.
“Phil, can I have you for 3 days per week, on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, for 3 months?” – That’s a contract day rate.
“Phil, can I have you for x days per month, but I don’t know what days or when I need you to work” – that’s a monthly retainer.
A marketing consultant can work out cheaper than a permanent hire because you’re only paying for the time and work you need and not employing someone full-time, long-term, or both! There’s no commitment to continue using a marketing consultant either, so heaven forbid if you did ever decide you didn’t want to use them anymore, you could just terminate the agreement. Easy.
#7 Someone has left the organisation suddenly, gone on maternity cover, or there is a gap until the new hire starts.
Where are you going to find someone at short notice to cover?
These situations are probably the bulk of my work. So I’m going to make a guess that it’s probably the same for other marketing consultants too. When that happens the important thing is not to panic, but also to start looking for a consultant as soon as possible. Even if it’s only for a very short amount of time, never be embarrassed to look for additional help. Any marketing consultant that has availability is likely to want to cover for you. They know that’s how they build their relationships and business.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. If you did, please leave a comment below. Comments are important to me and they also make a massive difference when it comes to SEO and building my business.Also, please consider signing up to my email availability and news list below. I tend to email once per month and keep people up-to-date on my availability and what I’m working on, as well as any news topics that I think will be of interest to you. It’s all free, automated, and you can unsubscribe at anytime with a single click!