You’re a business owner looking to hire a marketing consultant. Whether you’re aiming to capitalise on growth, or combat a tough spot you’re facing in your business, you’re going to have several questions.
Most importantly, how to hire the right consultant.
It’s no secret that marketing your business is essential to your long term growth, but finding the right strategist to help grow your business can be a tough decision.
Here we break down several important elements to consider when making the decision to hire a marketing consultant.
Set Your Expectations
Before making any big business decisions, it’s important to understand what you’re trying to achieve, and how you expect to achieve it.
First, set your expectations.
- Which aspect of your business are you trying to grow?
- What measurable outcomes are you aiming for?
- What type of consultant do you need to help achieve this?
- How much budget are you allocating to this process?
Understand Your Focus Business Area
If you have multiple product lines, service types, or locations, take an introspective look, and ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve by hiring a consultant.
You might find that you’re looking for growth opportunities in a very specific area, or that you need general strategic advice.
There are no wrong answers at this stage. But, it’s vital to hone down your search, as this may help save you time and money by cutting to the core of the problem you’re trying to solve.
Try asking yourself:
- Am I looking to capitalise on, and expand already great growth, or am I looking to stabilise or re-energize a shrinking or stagnant part of my business?
Define Desired Outcomes
If it can’t be measured, it can’t be improved. So understanding what measurable outcomes you need to grow your business is important to evaluating what type of marketing consultant you need to hire.
This step may be easy. Sales are important, and increasing sales may be exactly what you need right now.
But sometimes you may have other goals:
- Do you want more people to consume your educational content?
- Do you want to build your business profile as an industry leader?
- Or become well known in your local area?
Qualify Required Expertise
Next, consider what expertise you’re looking for. Marketing consultants vary in skills and experience from marketing strategists or digital marketing consultants, specialising in online advertising and lead generation, to full service agencies with entire in-house teams at the ready.
Try asking yourself:
- Am I looking to improve or expand an existing marketing channel, or am I looking to revamp my overall marketing approach?
Quantify Your Budget
Finally, use your understanding of your desired outcomes, the required expertise, and the business area you’re looking to grow, along with your knowledge of your business finances to help guide your budget setting.
This can help you choose the right consultant for your price range.
Evaluate Their Portfolio
It may seem obvious, but hiring a marketing consultant is similar to hiring any employee, they’re just working with you in a different capacity.
You’re going to make sure that their experience matches not only your industry, products & services, but also your target customer. And that they have a track record of success in similar projects.
If your industry is particularly complex, technical, or requires a steep learning curve, then it makes sense to look for a consultant with experience in your area.
This will ensure that you get the best advice from the start, or how much time it will take for your consultant to get up to speed.
Consider whether your product or service is complex, requires inherent knowledge, or has a steep learning curve for internal hires. Use this as a guide for the minimum industry experience for a consultant coming on board.
Target Audience Experience
Similar to the industry, it’s important to make sure that your consultant not only understands your products and services, but that they understand your target market.
Some markets require deep lived experience, and communicating to them can be difficult without this inherent understanding.
There’s a reason for the rise of ‘mumfluencers’, and ‘fitfluencers’. Because these audiences speak their own languages, and can easily discern inauthentic marketing.
A good marketing consultant will understand your audience as well as your business.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to review their past results.
Do they have a track record of happy clients, impressive results they can share for their similar audiences, or a strong record of reviews (check out Clutch.co, one of the leading professional services directories).
If the consultant has run successful campaigns and can prove their implementation of a successful marketing strategy, then they’re ticking this box.
Conduct a Discovery Meeting
Very similar to an interview for an employee, a discovery meeting is an opportunity for both you and the consultant to get to know each other, your businesses, requirements, and working expectations in more detail.
Come prepared, as the consultant will typically ask several questions around your:
- Business history
- Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- Profitability of products or services
- Existing marketing successes and failures
Here you’ll want to ask your own questions, understand their timeframes, turnaround and response times, typical working structure, and any relevant experience that you’ve not already seen.
Evaluate Their Personality
This one is relatively simple, but can be easily overlooked. You’re looking for a consultant, someone who works closely with you and your business to achieve your goals.
You need to want to work with them.
It may not be as simple as whether or not you like them. Typically, you’ll want to get a handle on their honesty, integrity, and communication.
If you need someone to keep you accountable, will this consultant fulfil that requirement?
Request a Proposal
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of prospective consultants and conducted your discovery meetings, you’ll want to request proposals.
These should be simple, top-level strategic outlines, recapping your goals and objectives, and the proposed strategies or tactics to achieve these goals.
Think of these as mini marketing plans from each prospective consultant.
Most proposals will include pricing and timeline information that you’ll want to ensure meets your requirements.
Evaluate Their Prices
Now that you’ve got proposals in hand, it’s time to review the pricing against your budget.
There are many factors that influence the pricing structure of a consultant and pricing can vary drastically depending on whether you’ve got an individual consultant, an agency consultant, or an extreme specialist.
It may be worth stretching the budget for the right person, but that’s up to you. Consider what’s right for you, weigh this against the deliverables in each proposal, and what level of support you’ll be receiving, alongside your original budget.
Implementation vs Guidance
Many marketing consultants, particularly digital marketing consultants, will have a network of specialists for execution of different aspects of a campaign such as videographers, graphic or web designers, PPC or SEO specialists, and many more.
Make sure to double check the deliverables in each proposal, and what level of implementation or strategic direction you’ll receive.
If you’re looking to partner with a digital marketing consultant in Brisbane, feel free to reach out to me at Nucleus Digital Marketing. I’ll be happy to get to know you, your business, and how we might help grow it together.