Marketing consulting services might appear to be a dime a dozen when you first begin your search for a marketing consultant. Appearances are deceiving. What you are likely to find is that many advertising and media sales representatives find it convenient to call themselves marketing consultants. In truth, only a small fraction of these sales people truly qualify to be considered media-neutral (or “method-neutral”) marketing consultants.
Not only do you have to screen out salespeople posing as marketing consultants, you also have to watch out for marketing consultants with a bias for one marketing medium or method. For example, some social media tacticians who best immigration consultant in canada have no understanding of direct response marketing or strategic marketing but are positioned as marketing consultants.
In the section below, I’m going to share 10 questions that you can ask to make sure that the marketing consultant you hire is perfectly matched to the needs of your business.
1. Why should I spend money on marketing consulting instead of just doing my own marketing?
I often tell my marketing consulting clients that marketing should be their biggest personal priority in their business. A marketing consultant is most worth the expense when they extend your ability to see new opportunities and threats, or when they close the “knowing-doing” gap by implementing strategies that your business cannot. Just dumping 65 pages of recommendations on your desk can no longer cut it in today’s world.
2. How does a marketing consultant differ from an advertising representative or sales representative?
An advertising representative is paid by an advertising outlet or media platform to recommend and sell one offering or one family of offerings. Many advertising reps and sales reps can ad value to your business, but you must know exactly what you stand to gain from doing business with them and how their incentives might affect their recommendations.
3. Why should I do business with you instead of with any other marketing consultant or marketing consulting firm in the area?
If they cannot provide you with a clear differentiating argument, they are not likely to help you come up with one for your business.
4. Do you have a way for me to know what I’ll be getting before I sign up with you?
In today’s world, every consultant must have a publicly accessible portfolio of articles, columns, or materials that demonstrate their expertise. If they don’t, they should be able to offer you some sort of free consultation.
5. What is your favorite marketing medium and why?
The reality is that a favorite marketing medium really should not exist for a marketing consultant. Although many professionals suffer from “marketing method madness” (irrational attachment to one medium), marketing media should be matched to the needs and circumstances of each individual business.
6. How do I know what you suggest for us to do will work?
You don’t. If they are honest, this is what they will tell you. The best a good consultant can do is to give you examples, case studies and the principles and factors that affect what you should expect.
7. What are some things you suggest for business owners to lower their risk just in case the marketing campaign fails?
A capable strategist will teach you how to monitor and test marketing campaigns before a lot of money and time gets spent.