Marketing means different things to different people. Marketing typically entails all areas that impact and promote a brand, product or service.
We can, therefore, say that marketing at its heart, involves the promotion and selling of products and services. However, today’s marketing has become very complex. More and more people are researching and gathering information online before making any purchase decision.
Any successful marketing strategy is based on strong foundations of putting the customer at the heart of all business communication. Whether you are operating in a B2B or B2C environment, you must put a keen consideration on taking care of your customer’s interests.
Marketing can be quite involving. To create an effective marketing strategy takes years of practice, research and getting everything right. You need to touch on all areas of business, from internal communication, lead management, customer communication, data analytics among others.
Small firms are today in need of effective marketing strategies than anyone else. One of the most effective and efficient ways to get it right when it comes to marketing strategies is getting help from a professional marketing consultant.
In this guide, we shall be looking at all matters; marketing consultancy. We shall look at who marketing consultants are, their roles, areas in marketing consultancy, why you should hire them, what to pay them and when to hire them.
Let’s get this boat rolling.
Who is a marketing consultant?
A marketing consultant becomes part of a dynamic team and works with businesses to create and implement simplified and practical marketing strategies. These strategies are based on the core of a business, on products and services that a business offers.
The job of a marketing consultant varies greatly from one project to another and from one company to the next. However, the core task of a marketing consultant is to advise companies on the best ways to reach their customers.
They evaluate current marketing efforts and make suggestions for improvements. They train other marketers on best practices and suggest new content, materials, workflows, and resources for reaching the right customers.
Consultants work hard in creating a detailed marketing plan, come up with a marketing message and identify the most appropriate marketing mix to get the message delivered to its target audience. Consultants work to follow a plan that helps them to implement their strategy.
Marketing consultants need to have skills and knowledge in the area of consumer behavior. They have exceptional ability to identifies areas that deal with marketing and positioning of products and services in a way the makes the customer interested and make a purchase.
What makes a great marketing consultant?
To become a great marketing consultant, there are a couple of steps involved. Most successful marketing consultants are highly knowledgeable and have years of experience in their belt. They have basic and advanced degrees in areas of marketing, psychology, and analytics, they develop work experience and build a client base.
- Education qualifications include an undergraduate degree in marketing, business, communication, psychology or an MBA, with a focus on marketing and or project management.
- They have a great portfolio that shows a rich history of their marketing success. They have several years of established experience, mostly as a full-time corporate marketer.
- They have experience in a specific niche or may have experience working in a wide range of industries. Main areas of marketing expertise range from social media, SEO, content creation, lead generation among others.
- They have strong copywriting and communication skills. They can analyze situations and come up with the best strategy to mitigate marketing shortcomings.
- They have good analytical skills. They can work with modern and existing marketing software and tools to create dashboards, analytics, and present data in a way that is simple and easy to comprehend by top management.
When do you need a marketing strategy?
A marketing strategy refers to the overall plan of a business on matters that concern reaching prospective customers and turning them into consumers of your products and services. Businesses that are looking forward to entering the market, dominate the market or expand to new markets will need to develop a solid marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy contains the value proposition of a company, key branding message, various demographic and customer data and other high-level elements. With a marketing strategy, a business can then formulate a marketing plan.
Marketing consultants are tasked with coming up with marketing strategies. These strategies ideally have a longer lifespan than individual marketing plans because they contain value proposition and other key elements.
If you are running a business, you will need to have a clear marketing strategy because of the following benefits;
The first and most important reason you need a marketing strategy is that it sets clear tasks and objectives to be carried out. It helps in coordinating employees towards a goal that a business aims to achieve in the long run.
To achieve a formidable marketing campaign, you will need to craft step by step guide that is focused on answering questions regarding your goals. Your marketing strategy is the immediate tool to help answer your questions.
Division of Roles
There is a huge amount of work to be done in marketing and you must be able to track progress. With a good strategy, you should be able to divide work into manageable tasks. Additionally, you will have each task assigned to employees.
A weapon against your competitors
If your company doesn’t have a marketing strategy, your competitors will be very happy to crush you. In this internet age, it is increasingly difficult to make anything new. Ideas that exist in the world and have been converted into the business are all under watch from competitors.
Competitors will do anything possible to get a piece from your market. To stand a chance of dominating the market and crushing your competitors, you must have a solid marketing strategy in place.
Understand your customers better
How well do you know your customers? With a good marketing strategy, you will have a better understanding of your target market. To establish a relevant audience for your business, you need to clearly segment your market.
To satisfy the needs of your customers, you will need to have a clear understanding of what they need. Analytical tools will predict only the technical part of the whole process, but a marketing strategy will give you the big picture.
Efficient resource allocation
Marketing strategy is a scheme. It entails a step by step plan regarding your budgets, available resources, actions that need to be implemented among others. With a clear strategy, you will be better placed to use your resources in the most efficient manner.
Core areas in Marketing Consultancy
Marketing can be quite complex. There are many areas to cover and all of them require equal attention. However, attention might slightly shift in favor of trends, of what is working best in the industry.
Key areas in marketing consultancy include;
You may need to consult on areas to deal with marketing research. Marketing research may help you understand if a product, service or message will stand out in a particular market. Market researchers make use of different tactics to help you understand your market better.
Marketing consultants can help you with all areas touching on content marketing. A well-crafted content brings together your products and services to create a unique brand. Content marketing is all about creating content that your customers and prospects will be consuming.
When done in the right way, content marketing builds a positive brand, entertains and attracts more potential customers.
Search engine marketing
Consulting on the area of search engine marketing entails both search engine optimization and paid search activities directed towards improving the visibility of a brand on search engine results pages.
It is a form of marketing that involves advertising to people using search engines such as DuckDuck Go, Bing, Yahoo, and Google. Search engine marketers will bid to buy ad space on popular keywords users are searching for.
Social media marketing
When you hire a consultant to take care of your social media marketing needs, they help you to drive traffic to your online resources and websites to boost brand awareness and customer loyalty. Consultants in this sector can help you to drive traffic from various sources such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, and other channels.
Product marketing is focused on strategically bringing a new product to the market. Bringing a new product to the market should never be taken for granted. There is a lot of research involved to ensure you bring the right product to the right audience.
Every product you see on the market doing great, there are some brains behind its introduction to the market. Product marketing looks at aspects such as product, price, place, and promotion.
This means, a marketing consultant must do research to ensure the right product is brought the market, it is well packaged, has the right features and specifications. On price aspects, research must be done to ensure that a product is priced in the most competitive manner.
On matters of place, it must be introduced to the right audience. This means a marketer must research where this right audience is located. When that is done, the right promotional techniques must be used to drive the message home.
How Much should you pay a marketing consultant?
A marketing consultant in most cases comes when a company is looking forward to creating a buzz around upcoming products and services. These consultants will help business owners attract customers or growth opportunities.
There is no fixed hourly, daily or monthly rate that defines how much you should pay a marketing consultant. That said though, it doesn’t mean there are no guiding factors to help you reach a reasonable number of amount to pay your consultant.
As a guiding factor, to determine what you should compensate your consultant, look at aspects such as; their educational background, the industry you are in and the level of competition you are facing, the deliverables you want to be met, years of experience of the consultant and past performance.
4 Reasons to Hire a Marketing Consultant
When you are working in a competitive industry, you will have a lot to do on matters marketing, if you are to attract the right customers. You will have to put a lot of resources in the form of time, money and energy to get everything right.
If you are not very well experienced in matters sales, marketing, product, place, price, and promotion, you may get it wrong, leading to lost time and blown out finances. To avoid all these shortcomings, here are a few reasons you may need to hire a marketing consultant.
They know a lot of things you don’t
We cannot all be masters of every craft. There are some things we will be good at, there are other areas we shall lag behind, it’s the nature of life. Marketing consultants know about the latest technology and trends in your industry.
They know most of the latest trends that are working in your industry and can be very instrumental in ensuring these trends are implemented in your business. They will guide you on how to effectively use available resources to capitalize on your market.
They will save you time
As we have said, marketing consultants have a good understanding of their stuff. They can get a job done in much less time than it can take anyone else. They do not have to waste all the time researching and looking for tools; they have all those in their fingertips.
When you delegate marketing work to professionals, you will save yourself a lot of time to focus on other matters and aspects affecting your business. Today’s marketing can take a long time to implement. Speed is key to ensure you capture all opportunities in your industry.
They have connections
We are not saying you do not have a network of capable professionals; we just mean you might not have a better network of marketing connections as they have marketing consultants. Your marketing campaign may cut across different channels, both online and offline. Consultants may have the right connection in every marketing sector, to facilitate your processes.
Hiring a consultant may give you the advantage to benefit from an inner circle of people in television, print media, content creation, film and video production, among others.
They will give you more value for your money
Even with the initial added cost of hiring a marketing consultant, you will actually save money in the long run. People who do not have marketing consultants are in most cases forced to settle on trial and error tactics that can blow away your finances and also waste your time.
Marketing consultants have a clear understanding of what needs to be done. They know who to call to undertake a certain task and can have work delivered in a fraction of time. Instead of wasting your time paying employees to test new approaches, hire a marketing consultant and trust them in their capabilities.
To have a well-defined business and a renowned brand, you must recognize the importance of having a clear road map. This can only be fulfilled by having a strong marketing strategy that covers all important aspects concerning your business.
Companies and businesses that want to distinguish themselves above the rest in the pack will make use of marketing consultants to craft unique marketing strategies. Marketing strategy is an important weapon against your competitors. It helps you understand how to secure and improve your business and be always competitive.
If you want to get to know your competitors better, it is important you have a well-defined marketing strategy. With a good marketing strategy, you will be better placed to use your resources in the most efficient manner. Additionally, on matters of professionalism, having a marketing strategy makes your business look legit and professional.
Guess now you have enough reasons to be motivated to seek the services of a marketing consultant to help you craft a winning marketing strategy.