So, how’s business? If you’re like most small businesses, probably not as great as you’d like. Many companies have struggled, pivoted, and readjusted their strategies to adapt to an environment forever changed by the pandemic. And maybe you’re one of the savvy ones.
That said, are all your appointments filled? And are you attracting your ideal target market? Are you managing to upsell your existing customers or expanding your offering? Are there services you’ve considered providing, but it seems like an insurmountable task to launch anything new?
If you feel that your business could do better, it may be time to hire a marketing consultant to see if they can help bring a novel perspective to your business. Let’s explore some signs that you may need some fresh eyes on your marketing.
But first, let’s answer a fundamental question.
What Do Marketing Consultants Do?
Yasser Ahmad, a marketing consultant writing for LinkedIn’s blog, describes his role as: “Strategic thinker with avid analytical skills and several years of experience in managing marketing channels and setting branding and acquisition campaigns.”
That’s a reasonably accurate definition. Let’s break it down a little:
Strategic thinker – takes an overview, looks at your whole business, and projects its growth into the future.
Avid analytical skills – can home in on what’s not working, where the opportunities lie, and how to reach new clients.
Several years of experience – you’ll want to employ someone with a good track record and ample expertise.
Managing marketing channels – 21st-century marketing is all about an omnichannel approach to social media and your digital presence (to complement real-world local advertising).
Setting branding and acquisition campaigns – the first part is about differentiating your brand in the marketplace, and the second is about obtaining new business.
A marketing consultant’s role is to help you grow your business by developing your marketing strategy, giving advice on critical aspects of marketing, and providing an expert perspective.
Marketing consultants support any type of organization, from sole proprietors and small businesses to multinational conglomerates.
How Can a Marketing Consultant Support Your Business?
Marketing consultants promote success in several ways. Here are just five:
1. Helping You Build a Solid Marketing Strategy
You’ve almost certainly engaged in marketing. You have a website and perhaps a few social media accounts. Maybe you are advertising locally in magazines, flyers, or on billboards. You may even have undertaken sponsorship opportunities.
All of those are excellent marketing tactics, and they are responsible for your business having grown to its current size. But without a solid strategy tying them together, they are not working as well as they might.
A marketing consultant will start by working with you to define your marketing goals. They will then develop a solid strategy to achieve those goals within preset timescales to a budget you can afford.
Much of this strategy will be about clarifying your brand – how you differentiate your offering in the marketplace. Even dentists, lawyers, and accountants now think in such terms, given the volume of competition they’re facing.
There will be a solid digital and social focus because it’s simply both cost-effective and enables greater reach, as this Forbes article demonstrates. However, a good marketing consultant won’t neglect traditional or local avenues.
2. Allowing You to Focus on Operations
Most small business owners and startup founders spread themselves too thinly. They try to take on every aspect of their business, from sales to administration to marketing. While this may work in the early stages, it is not sustainable.
Your core business will suffer if you’re wearing too many hats; growth will become impossible to attain. A marketing consultant will take on the vital job of opportunity sourcing and lead generation, allowing you to focus on providing excellent service.
When you’re delivering your very best, you’ll build positive word of mouth to complement the business development role undertaken by your marketing consultant.
3. Extending Your Team
To achieve successful marketing, you needn’t choose between an in-house team and an external marketing consultant. Some of the most successful brands partner with several external agencies and marketing consultancies.
Your marketing consultant isn’t there to replace your in-house marketing team. They partner with those experienced teams and provide a unique perspective. You may bring in a consultant for a limited time, and your in-house team will carry forward the successful campaigns and strategies developed in partnership.
Furthermore, working with external consultants allows you to access specialist skills. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a good example. Businesses need to ensure their websites are optimized for performance so that you’ll rank on page one of local Google searches. Achieving this is something of an arcane art, which your marketing consultant will have mastered.
Marketing agencies and consultants aren’t there to replace your internal team. Consultants and in-house marketing teams complement one another and your business benefits.
4. Providing A Neutral Perspective
It’s commonly said of business owners that they “can’t see the forest for the trees.”
When you’re in the thick of it, managing a busy daily workload, it can be hard to step back to take an overview. It’s even harder to remain objective about a business you’ve worked incredibly hard to build up.
This is where a marketing consultant is invaluable. Taking a detached look at your business and the competitive environment you operate is your consultant’s primary job. They approach the task without bias because they are not part of your organization.
You benefit from insights and observations you would not have been able to gain independently. This is especially beneficial if you are considering rebranding.
5. Making Your Marketing Work for Your Business
A marketing consultant will help identify gaps in your marketing strategy and suggest tactics to fill those gaps. Initially, this may lead to uncomfortable conversations: after all, you have chosen your existing marketing activities judiciously and with the best intentions.
However, the experience a marketing consultant can bring to the table will help you see opportunities and failings you hadn’t imagined. Sometimes a few key tweaks to your strategy can work wonders – a new logo, a website redesign. In other situations, a complete overhaul is necessary.
While this process can feel a little traumatic at first, your business will benefit immensely in the long run.
Is Marketing Consultancy Only Suitable for Large Businesses?
Put simply, no.
Many sole proprietors and small businesses can benefit significantly from the advice a marketing consultant or marketing agency offers. The key to a successful relationship between your business and a consultant is to ensure a good fit.
Ensure your consultant has all the specialist skills you need to grow your business. Working with a marketing agency might be better than hiring an individual consultant if you need a range of specialist skills. Industry experience is also essential, especially when working in a highly specialized field.
As a rule, larger consultancies charge higher fees because this reflects the broader range of services and expertise they offer. This may not be what your business needs or can afford right now. Before engaging a consultant or an agency, take the time to find the right partner.
Your Next Step
Hiring a marketing consultancy like PHAT Marketing can seem like a big commitment when you’re running a small business or just starting. Consider the benefits, though: you’ll gain an experienced partner whose sole purpose is to maximize the impact and success of your business.
Our team enjoys challenges of any size or species. We take up some of the strain of your day-to-day tasks to help you focus on your real priorities.
While you’re getting back to what matters, we’ll support you in achieving your goals with our combined marketing expertise. We’ll forge an unbeatable partnership.