Hiring a marketing consultant or marketing consultancy should bring with it a number of advantages. This includes an objective perspective, access to specialist areas of expertise, and more. But what are some of the other benefits of hiring a marketing consultant?
7 Key Benefits of Hiring a Marketing Consultant
Independent marketing consultants work with a lot of different businesses, both at a strategic and tactical level. This puts them in a unique position. It allows them to test and refine their ideas, processes, and execution over time.
Knowledge sharing of this nature also plays a role in marketing agencies. However, agencies typically treat businesses as an account focused on a specific marketing tactic (i.e., Google Ads or conversion optimisation). In other words, they don’t tailor their approach and their strategies are often shallow and generic.
Agencies also tend to be resistant to innovation and new ways of working. This is because they like to stick to their set way of doing things. As a result, they stagnate and this is not conducive to the cultivation of enviable expertise.
On the other hand, when you engage with a marketing consultant, you should be gaining access to both a business-minded approach to strategic direction and a marketing-minded approach to planning and implementation. It is this combined knowledge that sets marketing consultants apart from agencies. Which is exactly why expertise is one of the main benefits of hiring a marketing consultant.
2. An Objective Perspective
A good marketing consultant should be able to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
Quite often, we find that marketing advice is very self-serving and full of hot air. It is designed to take you down a particular route, even if that route isn’t the best one for your business. Just read any marketing article online and it almost always ends in a call to purchase.
When you engage a marketing consultant, you should expect them to approach your business objectively. They should provide recommendations that are right for you, rather than right for them.
3. A Relationship
Your business is personal; your marketing advice should be personal, too.
This piece of advice might specifically relate to how we work at Murray Dare, but it’s our experience that SMEs are run by individuals who want to be spoken to as just that—individuals.
We find that when we speak to business leaders on this level, on a one-to-one basis, our strategies become smarter, our output more concise, and our content far more effective.
Consultants, by nature, are more relationship-oriented than agencies. They don’t tend to regard clients as “accounts”, but as individual business leaders they are familiar with and have regular contact with. They are able to take this relationship-oriented approach because they usually have fewer clients on their books than agencies at any given time.
In your search for a marketing professional, we strongly advise you not to overlook the value of relationship.
Hiring a marketing consultant can be much more cost-efficient than hiring a full-time, in-house employee with benefits.
You don’t have to fork out for sick pay or holiday pay. And marketing consultants are usually paid by project or by the hour. Which means you never pay a penny more than what you get.
More importantly, you can hire for what you need, or use a marketing consultant to help you decide which in-house skills you actually do need.
5. Strategic Proficiency
Marketing consultants constantly audit marketing performance, create marketing strategies and advise on potential solutions for growth.
In-house marketing managers, on the other hand, are often asked to write a new strategy every year—which is typically just the former year’s strategy plus 5% on their target.
This is unsurprising, given that the context remains unchanged for marketing managers; why would you expect an in-house marketing manager to come up with anything new if what they’ve been doing is working?
In fact, we would argue that one of the key issues with small businesses is their strategic proficiency. They are stuck in the weeds and fail to see opportunities for improvement and iteration.
By nature of their role, experienced marketing consultants develop impressive strategic proficiency. This can help SMEs take their marketing to a whole new level.
6. Market Connections
Perhaps one of the more under appreciated benefits of hiring a marketing consultancy are their connections and exisitng market relationships. Experienced marketing consultants often have market connections and relationships that can assist you in implementing your strategy.
For example, they may be able to recommend reliable specialists in particular marketing areas. As they speak to so many businesses, and work so closely with them, they are in the best place to determine who is dependable and who should be avoided.
An active example of this might be marketing consultants who invest in PR and outreach. They will likely have existing relationships with media contacts, editors, journalists, reviewers, and influential industry specialists that would take an individual business much longer to cultivate.
7. Specialist Advice
Over time, a marketing consultant will naturally start to develop specialist knowledge in particular areas.
For example, this guide is an example of our content output.
We’ve spent hundreds of hours developing and creating content for both ourselves and our clients, which is why we’re so proficient at it.
When choosing a marketing consultant, don’t be afraid to ask where their specialism lies; anyone worth their salt should be able to tell you.
When Not to Work With a Marketing Consultant
Yes, we understand that as a marketing consultancy it might seem strange that we discourage certain businesses from working with marketing consultants.
But experience has shown us that there are some businesses and business owners that are not suited to working with a marketing consultant—these businesses might be better suited to working with a marketing agency, a freelancer, or hiring in-house marketing support instead.
So, how do you know if you shouldn’t work with a marketing consultant?
1. You Don’t Want Any Involvement
If you don’t want any involvement in the marketing process, then a marketing consultant probably isn’t the best choice for your company.
Marketing consultants will take the time to discuss your business with you, so that they have a keen understanding of who you are and your goals before commencing work.
Working with a marketing consultant functions more like partnership than outsourcing. If you are looking to outsource everything so that you never have to think about it again, a marketing agency is a better option.
2. You See Marketing As Purely Functional
If your understanding of online marketing doesn’t extend past ‘I want to be 1st on Google’, then a marketing consultant might not be right for you.
We would argue that one of the key reasons businesses fail is because their online marketing doesn’t really achieve anything.
Some people say that they care about marketing, but are not really willing to put time and effort into their content. Cost is key here, and the marketing process is purely about output vs. cost.
We may have a bias, but we think the best work happens when businesses want to really understand their audience, and all our conversations start and end with them in mind.
This is especially true for small businesses who are looking to cut though the noise against larger competitors.
If you are looking for functional solutions with much of the thinking removed, then a marketing agency might be perfect as they have fixed cost models based on output.
3. You’re Set On Your Current Strategy And What You Need To Do
A great marketing consultant or marketing consultancy won’t work for you unless they feel confident that they can deliver results.
With this in mind, if you are set on your current strategy and are looking for someone to do the output side of things, then a marketing manager or a project manager on a fixed term contract might be a better solution.
There are plenty of websites that can help you manage and complete a project. The important part is you’re looking for a ‘doer’, not a ‘thinker’.
How Can a Marketing Consultant Help You?
As this chapter has explained, a marketing consultant can help your business in a number of ways. For instance, it may provide specialist support and help you extend your marketing function. Or give you access to expertise and assist you in your marketing strategy and delivery.
The way that a marketing consultant or marketing consultancy can help you will depend entirely on your business’ current position and its goals.
The benefits that a marketing consultant brings to the table will be determined by you. That is, how you want them to work with you. The best way to maximise your marketing effort is to approach your marketing with an open mind, a willingness to adapt, and trust. The best marketing consultants want to work with you, not for you.