*** Author’s Note: We originally published this blog post about why to use marketing consultant in March of 2016. To improve the quality of the post, we have expanded it by providing additional information and examples. We hope you enjoy this updated version even more than the original! ***
As you can imagine, a marketing consultant will help their clients with marketing. But, marketing is a very broad field. How exactly can a marketing consultant help? In this blog post, we explain how a marketing consultant can boost your business and success.
How Can A Marketing Consultant Help?
There are many different aspects of your marketing a consultant might look at. The first one, is quite likely the marketing plan.
If I asked you what your marketing goals are, would you be able to show me a document with a list of each specific goal? And if you do have a marketing plan, would you be able to tell me the specific strategies you are using to attain each marketing goal? Let’s take it one step further… could you tell me the specific tactics you intend to implement in order to execute those strategies?
While I would hope you do have a marketing plan in place, I find this to rarely be the case. In fact, according to an article by SearchEngineJournal, 50% of small and medium businesses do not have a marketing plan. It’s common for a company to decide on a budget and invest that money in something they think makes sense. But, if there isn’t a solid marketing plan in place, that money is often not as effective as it could be. That’s where a marketing consultant can help.
While working on your marketing plan, the consultant should get to know your business. Through conversation with you, they should understand what you’ve done, what you want to do, what you wish to accomplish and what your challenges are. They will identify the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats to your business. Then, based on all the information provided, they should be able to help create a solid plan. Within the plan, there are four specific things they should help you figure out.
Sometimes a business will say they have a goal to double sales year-over-year. That sounds great! But, is that a realistic goal? Good goals are both challenging and achievable. Your marketing consultant will help you identify good goals. Here are some example year-over-year goals:
- Increase sales by 15%.
- Generate 40% more leads.
- Improve brand exposure by 500%.
- Increase website traffic by 400%.
You could have just one goal, or you could have many. Once you come up with the goals, however many there are, the consultant can help you create or refine your marketing strategies.
This is often where a business will struggle. They know they want more leads, and they may assume putting additional money into Google Ads is the solution. And it might be. But then again, it might not be. The consultant can help analyze everything. They can draw from their experience and knowledge, and make recommendations on the best strategies you should implement. For example, if the goal is to get more leads from the website, the best strategy might not be to increase the Google Ads budget. Rather, it might be better to change the landing page on the website. If you can improve the website in a way that will double the leads, that would be far more cost effective than putting more money into paid ads.
While the idea of improving the website to generate more leads sounds good, from the example above, it may be easier said than done. How exactly are you supposed to change the page to get more leads? That’s where your marketing consultant can help again. They can look at the page and identify challenges that are causing website visitors to leave, before filling out a contact form or making a purchase. Perhaps there is too much text on the page. Perhaps the messaging isn’t as refined as it needs to be. Maybe the contact form isn’t designed properly.
The website example is just one way a consultant can help with marketing tactics. A consultant could also help in the following ways:
- Get better engagement and exposure on social media.
- Suggest specific tactics to improve rankings and website traffic from Google.
- Tweak your email marketing to get higher open rates and click-through-rates.
- Help integrates all marketing channels so they are working in tandem with each other. This is called “Integrated Marketing Communications.”
A marketing consultant can help you identify an ideal budget. They can also help you know how to invest that budget to get the greatest return on investment. Here are some questions a business owner might ask a consultant:
- How much should I spend on marketing, according to best practices?
- What marketing channels should I invest my money in, to see the greatest ROI?
- Should I put my marketing budget into an in-house marketing team, an agency, a freelancer, or something else?
Those are all good questions worth talking to your marketing consultant about.
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Is It Working? Analyze Results!
This is a huge benefit to using a marketing consultant! What’s the point in doing marketing if it doesn’t work? And whether or not it’s working, how can you make it better?
A good marketing consultant will be able to help you come up with a way to analyze the results. They will also help you have a good idea of what good results look like, and what bad results look like. Based on analysis, you should be able to enhance your marketing activity. Then, your results should see improvement.
There might come a time when your consultant advises you to completely stop doing one particular marketing activity, because the results aren’t good enough. They might recommend you invest that money somewhere else. It’s vital to be able to see results, and your marketing consultant will help you cut through the noise and data, and really understand what’s going on.
And here’s something to consider. If you’re using a marketing agency, or a freelancer, how are they doing? Are they getting great results? Even if they say they are, do you know how good their results are, and how their performance compares to other marketing agencies and freelancers in the industry? When you bring in a third-party marketing consultant to review the work, you can get an unbiased professional opinion. Then, that marketing consultant can even serve as a type of director, giving you points on how to move your marketing staff in a better direction.
How Much Do Marketing Consultants Cost?
According to Glenmont Consulting, marketing consultants typically charge anywhere from $40-300 per hour. There’s definitely a range. And there are different approaches for hiring a marketing consultant. You could fly them in to have several days of highly focused strategic planning or you could have an occasional virtual conference for 30 minutes or an hour.
While there is definitely a cost to using a marketing consultant, the real question is “what’s the cost for not using a consultant.” There is undeniable value in using a seasoned marketing professional to help promote your products, services and brand.
Potential Challenges of Not Using a Marketing Consultant
Many companies have a tendency to only hire interns or very young marketers, as a way to save on costs. After all, if you can pay $10 per hour, rather than $20 per hour, that’s a huge savings. Perhaps the biggest challenge with this approach is that the inexperienced marketer will likely do one of two things.
- They could make rookie mistakes that end up costing more in the long-run. For example, someone who’s inexperienced could easily implement black-hat SEO tactics and end up getting the website blacklisted by Google. Then, a huge amount of energy, time and cost has to go into fixing the website or making a new one. We’ve seen this happen. It’s not pretty.
- While they probably won’t make any mistakes as significant as just mentioned, there’s a very strong possibility they won’t be able to properly manage all the marketing activities in a way that will see the highest possible return on investment. How can someone who’s new to marketing have a solid grasp on writing excellent conversion focused copy, understanding best practices for website design, know why and how to use a blog, execute best practices for SEO and social media, and do everything else a seasoned marketing professional can do? They can’t. And even if they know what should be done, because of inexperience and a lack of perceived credibility, they may be too intimidated to tell their employer what they need to do. With that being the case, their marketing effectiveness will be limited.
Supplement Your Marketing Staff
While you can use an intern or low-cost marketing manager, you will see far better results by supplementing your staff with an experienced marketing consultant. That consultant can help your company avoid common pitfalls and can help them stay on point and keep everything moving forward in an optimal way. When this happens, you can see tremendous value. You get the benefit of a seasoned marketing professional without having to pay a salary to have that person on staff. The value gained should far exceed the cost of hiring a marketing consultant.
Wrapping it All Up
The items above are some of the most common areas in which a marketing consultant can help you. But, they certainly aren’t the only areas. If you need any help whatsoever with your marketing, let us know! You can connect with us via the contact form below. Our team helps people in many different facets of marketing. Based on our experience, education, and research, we can advise you on your marketing activity. And we would welcome the opportunity to learn about your business, and see how we can assist.