Marketing consultants can provide an immense help to your organization and/or project. Are you exploring bringing on one and evaluating whether or not it’s a good idea? Here are some tips to consider from someone who has been doing it for awhile…
This is based on my experience as a Consultant and other Consultants I work with.
1: THEY DO NOT THINK THEY ARE EXTRAORDINARY, BUT THEY ARE TRYING TO DO EXTRAORDINARY THINGS
You will run into three types of marketing consultants. The first are ones with inflated ego’s that will sell you the world, but won’t deliver any results (The most dangerous type). The second are bottom feeders, who will take anything they can get and will likely produce some okay, but not memorable work. (Nothing terribly wrong with this as most of these people eventually make great specialists full time at one of their clients). The third are people who have become experts in a certain topic and are looking for people who truly need their service. They will move the needle at your company with every bone in their body.
The last group are the ones you want to find. Just like in dating, the other two often ruin chances for them by creating burn victims from bad prior experiences. Luckily, these types of consultants will likely wait for the right opportunities and they won’t come in with a god complex or fall apart when things get rocky (as they inevitably do). Although, they will acknowledge the work they are doing isn’t easy or in everyone’s toolbox. It’s difficult to describe the fine line between being confident in your abilities and just an egomaniac.
How do you find these people you say? I’ll get there..
2: YOUR SUCCESS IS THEIR SUCCESS
Once a marketing consultant is engaged with you, his/her main goal is to make the company they have partnered with just that…a true partner. Their reputations are their livelihood, so it serves them no purpose to do anything else.
I say this because many companies or employees can get defensive or protective when a shiny consultant comes in to shake things up. Just remember, the really good ones aren’t looking to replace humans, only make them better and bring them new insights & experiences.
3: THEY DON’T WORK WITH JUST ANYONE
Those in high demand are likely to turn down most of the options that come their way. The best marketing consultants know who would be a good fit for them and who wouldn’t be. It takes effort to be this patient, but it pays off in the long run.
I’ve found that most of the really good Consultants are looking to ease into a new partnership and will offer 1-2 hour free consultations as a way to try each other out. After that, it’s time and material for a month. Then, a monthly retainer to keep things going. By this time, it should be fairly obvious if it’s a good fit…and if it is, this is usually a quick and natural conversation.
If you find a Consultant that is hounding you for a big down payment and growing impatient with the sale, this could be a red flag.
4: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP
Once a consultant is in the door, expect them to want to establish trust quickly. This is a good sign. Especially with Marketing, a good consultant will likely bring in a methodology to bring on multiple initiatives related to branding & content, digital marketing insights, traditional advertising musts, the right technology and change management tips to ease the transitions. They will also ask lots of questions that help you get to know your value proposition and your customers much better.
At the end of the day or engagement, they will be more interested on the impact they had on various stakeholders rather than on good processes that were set up. This in itself usually makes those processes all that much better.
5: THEY AREN’T CHEAP
Once you make it to a retainer level, you’re probably going to be paying somewhere in the $100-200 per hour realm. That sounds like a lot, but remember the processes they bring on will usually net you 2, 3 or 4 times that amount in revenue. As much as it is about relationships, they also understand that businesses go around based on dollars in and dollars out. Just the way it works…
It’s often said you have to spend money to make money, so the more you spend, the more you’ll make. Keep that in mind next time you’re evaluating a Consultant’s hourly rate or getting cold feet.
6: THEY LIKELY HAVE AN EXTENSIVE NETWORK … THAT THEY WILL SHARE WITH YOU
One of the best parts of working with great marketing consultants is they bring not only their expertise, but that of others. When working with an agency, you’re paying huge monthly fees because they have overhead to cover, whether you are using certain resources or not. With a Consultant, he/she is bringing in additional horsepower only as needed, which means you only pay for it as needed. The best of the best usually aren’t working for agencies either because of that worth factor. This alone makes this idea exponentially better.
So there you have it. Finding the right consultant is a very worthwhile endeavor and could make all the difference with leaping ahead of your competition. If you like what you read, please contact me or fill out the form below.