Why You Need a Marketing Consultant to Help Grow Your Business
Everyone nowadays can become an entrepreneur, but not everyone becomes successful. The Internet left the door wide open for aspiring business owners with ideas and goals, but with the myriad of opportunities also comes tons of risks, and competitors.
Startup and established businesses definitely need all the help they can get to emerge victorious in their respective cutthroat industries. A good first step is to hire a marketing consultant.
What Is a Marketing Consultant?
A marketing consultant is a skilled marketing professional who knows his way around the business landscape across different industries. His grasp of the trends, current practices, common issues, and challenges in marketing and anything business-related is undeniably wider than the common marketing staff that businesses hire to help with their requirements.
Normally, his knowledge and skills are acquired and developed through years of service in related fields, like those who served as marketing heads before. In some cases, marketing consultants are successful businessmen in their own right, who have gained competence through the years by wading through trials and errors, and learning and relearning relevant and obsolete information and practices, respectively.
Third-party marketing companies are also common. These companies offer holistic but intensive marketing support to enterprises and companies that are unfamiliar with the ever-changing landscape of the business world, as well as those that are still trying to penetrate a niche in which they have yet to thrive.
Their expertise covers a bigger area of the marketing mix, as they usually consist of marketing experts, business analysts, advertisers, web designers, copywriters, SEO specialists, digital marketing experts, and media specialists. Their services can be more expensive, but they have more to offer in terms of reach and flexibility.
When Do You Need a Marketing Consultant?
The signs are very obvious, but surprisingly, many businessmen, especially the novice ones, refuse to do something about them, thinking that ideas, perseverance, connections, and previous successes will suffice. Having a business idea with the potential to become a game changer does not always translate to seamless execution and fruition.
Mistakes happen along the way, knowingly and unknowingly. Furthermore, success in one venture does not guarantee success in another one. The market is most of the time volatile, and consumers have insatiable needs.
Answer the questions below.
- Are you a novice businessman?
- Are you unfamiliar with your niche/industry?
- Do you lack manpower to support all of the critical functions of your business?
- Do you want to employ cost-effective and accurate marketing frameworks?
- Do you have experience in any of the marketing mix, namely, product, price, place (distribution), and promotions?
- Do you want to improve your chances of succeeding in your venture?
- Do you want to focus on the more important facets of your business, like operations?
If you answered “yes” to all or any of the aforementioned questions, then you absolutely need the help of a marketing consultant in running your business. The urgency may be a critical concern at this point, especially if you are already experiencing constant losses and facing unmanageable challenges.
Earmarking budget for advertising, rebranding, or the more technical internet marketing campaign, also has to go through intense scrutiny to calculate risks as accurately as possible, and maximize earning opportunities as they present themselves.
Moreover, the entire marketing ball game gets new rules from time to time, as consumer demands and technological advancements change faster nowadays. Online marketing that encompasses search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, search engine marketing and others, in particular, are very fickle parts of modern marketing strategies. Can you keep up with the changing landscape if your hands are already full?
There’s also the more obvious sign of being understaffed. It’s not exactly a major problem for a lot of small-scale enterprises and startup companies; it’s already proven that a mom-and-pop business can thrive for years, even with just mom, dad, and the kids running it.
However, being understaffed means having to compromise some areas of the operation, and having to pigeonhole some parts of the business plan. Business and product development might not be possible if there’s no steward to lead the market research and brand management. Likewise, plans for expansion might have to wait indefinitely, since a few marketing people can only do so much.
There’s really no crucial factor to determine the urgency and necessity of a marketing consultant. It’s better safe than sorry, after all. No one can blame you if you want to guarantee your success, but the fault is on you if you let an opportunity to cinch your success pass.
To Hire or Not to Hire
Many businessmen are hiring marketing assistants instead of employing marketing consultants, believing that having in-house “experts” results in better productivity and efficiency. That’s not necessarily the case, and in fact, it’s usually NOT the case.
It’s normal for big companies to have their own marketing staff to carry out the daily tasks. However, many still seek the help of marketing consultants with impressive track records when making major decisions, such as when launching a new product, rebranding the company, penetrating a new market or niche, or working on damage control.
Take economics teacher-turned-marketing consultant Wil Reynolds, for example. He’s a businessman by profession, running his own company called Seer Interactive. However, he also helped Crayola rebrand its line of educational materials to stay relevant in today’s modern world.
Similarly, Neil Patel—perhaps the most famous digital marketing consultant today, who also runs a number of marketing blogs that include KISSMetrics, CrazyEgg, and Quicksprout, to name a few—moonlights as a consultant for some of the largest corporations in the world. His consultancy background includes projects with Hewlett-Packard, General Motors, Viacom, NBC, and Amazon.
These Fortune 500 corporations have their own teams of marketing specialists, most of them working from nine to five across the continent. However, they still take advantage of the expertise that a reputable marketing consultant offers, not simply because they can afford to do so, but because they grab every opportunity to stay one step ahead of their competitors. Why not climb the ladder of success a step higher if you have the chance?
What’s stopping you from hiring a marketing consultant for your business, if the most successful corporations in the world do not deny its importance?
You don’t have to hire someone as reputable and famous as Neil Patel or Wil Reynolds. There’s no need to look for experience in the automobile, computer, media, and e-commerce niche, all in the same resume.
The stellar credentials and portfolios are undeniably the clinchers, but efficiency, reliability, and relevance can be found, even with the average freelance marketing consultant. Don’t look for someone with a very familiar name. Look for someone who knows what he’s doing, how he can be of great help to your business, and what he can contribute in order for you to achieve your targets and long-term goals.
How Can a Marketing Consultant Help You?
Hiring a marketing consultant comes with numerous advantages. These advantages can be your edge over your competitors.
- Lower cost – Weighing cost and benefit isn’t exactly the best way to start this discussion, because the most successful businessmen spend generously on calculated risks. However, for businesses that are yet to realize their full potential, cost and cost management can make or break the deal permanently. Hence, knowing how to manage finances is of utmost importance at the earlier stages.
Hiring a marketing consultant comes with a project-based contract that you can terminate once you see that your goals are not met within a set time frame. There are no strings attached, for the most part.
You avail of his service whenever you need it, and then leave the rest to your in-house marketing staff, once the major decisions are created and executed. You get to save a lot of money by not paying the mandatory benefits. At the same time, you get to save yourself from paying severance pay due to company losses that might lead to layoffs.
The cost of training is no small matter either. It costs thousands of dollars to train an entire team in the different aspects of marketing, such as market research, brand and reputation management, marketing communication, advertising, and product development. It’s even more complicated when digital marketing comes into the picture, because the technical aspects are so volatile, that one technical skill today, might end up being useless tomorrow.
Remember that search engine algorithms change more often than any businessman changes his marketing strategy. Unless you know exactly how to draw traffic consistently, how to increase conversion rate, and decrease bounce rate, how to stay on top of search engine results pages by targeting the best keywords and producing relevant evergreen content, and how to handle customers and build relationship by using an accurate customer relationship management (CRM) system, and applying good old communication skills, then you need to hire a marketing consultant to keep your expenses well within your budget.
- Fresh perspective – Do you know why they say that great book authors don’t edit and critique their own books? It’s because authors get too emotionally involved with their own ideas and writing skills, making revisions to achieve clarity and impact harder. In the first place, it’s difficult—almost impossible at times—to correct a mistake that the author thought was right.
Making a sound marketing plan is like writing a book. It usually takes a critique for you to know what shouldn’t have been there, and what should have been improved. A marketing consultant with a fresh perspective thinks objectively based on what he knows and what he has experienced.
He has gone through trials and errors over and over again, enough to learn from mistakes, and to anticipate problems even before they exist. Think of it as a way for him to pass on critical information and experiences from his past clients to yours.
Like Neil Patel, your marketing consultant might have had diverse experiences across various industries to a certain degree.
- Technical know-how – As mentioned earlier, marketing can be a highly technical field. Sure, you can study on your own or hire an online marketer who can manage your social media accounts, design user-friendly website, and monitor relevant keywords day by day.However, learning the technical stuff and running a business at the same time don’t always go well with each other. Your employees’ technical know-how might also be limited by what training and exposure you can offer them. Thus, you need a marketing consultant who has the flexibility to keep on absorbing trends and new practices on a daily basis.
A marketing consultant capitalizes on himself. His knowledge and skills are his products. You can rely on him better than you can rely on your employees, because he pays greater attention to his own products.
- Networks – You might not have to resort to corporate espionage, just to know the major secrets of your competitors or successful companies in other fields. A marketing consultant has had the privilege of working with other businesses and marketing experts, making him privy to tried-and-tested protocols, plans, and procedures. It’s like paying him to divulge what he knows about other companies, albeit in the form of service and not specific information.
You also don’t know when you might need contacts and insiders from other companies in your industry. A marketing consultant might be able to introduce you to someone who can help you take your business one notch higher.
How Can You Maximize the Services of a Marketing Consultant?
How can you be sure that you are getting your money’s worth? Every dime is important to a business that has yet to hit the break-even mark. Every expense is a potential loss, until the return on investment (ROI) is realized.
Hence, you have to hire a marketing consultant to help you find out all the unexplored business opportunities for your venture. Once determined, use his expertise to create a sound marketing plan based on in-depth market research.