While it may seem quite easy to find a marketing consultant, everyone has the occasional horror story every now and then. Have we caught your attention? Fortunately, we aren't here to talk about consulting nightmares - you're going to want to find a different blog for that. Instead, we're here to make sure you don’t settle by giving you a clear guide of characteristics you'll want your marketing consultant to possess in order to help you decide whether you've found the right one.
Often times businesses have a hard time finding quality consultants that perform at a high level and address challenges that a business faces - down to the operational "in the trenches" levels. You want someone you can trust with your business and someone who understands your business’s operations and digital marketing strategies to ensure they're setting you up for success in the long run. They don't need to have a certain amount of years of experience or have been a Marketing Manager at a big corporation in the past. The core traits of a good marketing consultant is someone who understands all areas of marketing, business growth, and how to create valuable content. Oh, and you're definitely going to want someone who is a good listener, demonstrates professionalism, and has compassion - at least to some capacity. With that in mind, here are 7 qualifications of excellent marketing consultants.
Characteristics of excellent marketing consultants
They have a transparent cost structure
The worst thing when working with a consultant is when they say, "You can find it in the fine print". We know technically you should read that fine print, but let's be real, who actually does that? Instead, you want a marketing consultant who has a transparent cost structure with no hidden costs. They should give you set rates, accounting for any weekend or evening work, and include additional marketing efforts such as copywriting, market research, content marketing, and include all forms of communication such as texting, phone calls and email. There is definitely a lot of time and effort that goes into the work that a consultant does, but there should be no "Gotcha!" charges at all. Period.
They always provide a contract
You know you've found the right marketer when they show up with a contract for you and any other new client. After all, real consultants protect their clients and themselves by having a contract for their services, whether pro bono or fully paid. This makes it easier for both parties to understand what they're getting and what constitutes "success" for their marketing plan and it provides a proper legal option (such as arbitration) if an issue arises. From both the consultant and the client's point of view, having a contract is always the way to go.
They conduct a discovery period
It's like a miracle when you've found a consultant that has brand awareness of your company, has done their market research, and understands your target audience. You want them to understand which marketing communications would best fit your business to push you in the right direction. A great consultant takes the time to understand the issues that you're facing as a company. They can opt to do this for free or at a cost, but remember that you get what you pay for. Whether it be 5 days or 5 months, a discovery period is always a good idea to see if your marketing team and the consultant would work well together.
They have a Statement of Work (SOW) that fits what you need
According to the agreement, their job ends when you see the results you've discussed and can measure them - if that's sooner than the contract end date, the consultant is stoked. If it takes longer, there should be a quantifiable reason why. A good marketing consultant will get plenty of marketing activities done for your business and will implement effective changes. Maybe they have a plan to research keywords to boost search engine optimization (SEO), produce a certain number of marketing campaigns, help you with your social media marketing or blog posting, or even just help you understand your business' Google analytics and metrics. No matter what's on your plate, they're supposed to be skilled project managers, so realistically you would hope their statement of work fits their organization strategy so that all work gets done in a timely manner.
They understand that your existing team is a permanent fixture
A good marketing consultant should never tell you to fire your team members. After all, who says your current team of professionals are the issue in the first place? Instead, they should understand that the goal is to retain your current team members. 99% of the time, from our experience, the challenges lie with senior management and C-level executives, not ground-level staff or team members. It's all about good leadership. You're hiring this person to help you achieve your business's marketing goals, not make hiring and firing decisions. A good marketing consultant knows how to stay in their lane.
They can speak to both the high-level and low-level workings of your business
This is one of the most important characteristics of a good consultant. They know how to use best practices on all levels of business whether it be in the latest social media management tools or understanding how to craft a global social lead generation strategy. They establish next level ideas to help promote business growth and they don't just advise, they deliver. If they only advise, you may want to reconsider why you're paying them hundreds of dollars per hour. If this is the case, you're going to want to start looking for new management consulting referrals.
They act in your best interest
Acting in the best interest of your business is one of the most important qualifications that determines whether a consultant is good or not. If you're getting a return on investment (ROI), you know something is going right. You don't want to wake up and realize that they've connected you with vendors and contractors that they get kickbacks from. Not that they shouldn't use their network, but their direction shouldn't revolve around only using their network - they should be willing to help you create one as well. Sometimes building up a network of new individuals can be a good new way to grow the business, while setting the stage for a positive ROI. After all, your analytics should appear better after they've done their job.
Whether you're the CEO of a business or a member of your business's marketing department, your perspective is going to be the same when searching for a good consultant for your business. You'll want someone who has excellent creative skills, effective marketing strategies, and who understands your business’ current marketing plan in order to take the first step to making the biggest impact for your business. That's a lot to consider, isn't it? But, if you're going to hire someone to get the job done, it's important to make sure they meet all of these qualifications. Now that you know the right characteristics to look for in a good marketing consultant, it's time to hire the right consultant. Did we mention we can meet all the characteristics we listed above? If you'd like some marketing consulting assistance, schedule your free discovery call with us today.