There are many different types of marketing consultants: business strategy, market research, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, digital media, web marketing and don’t forget the all-around good at everything marketing generalist. So when to hire a marketing consultant? There are five instances when you may want to hire a consultant to help move your business ahead.
1. Staff Doesn’t Have The Time
Business is unexpectedly up, you’ve lost some key staff or there’s new important stuff that needs to be done. Temporarily hire a qualified consultant to get you through this time. Typically this is project based work and you can make it easier on the consultant and less costly if you set up one point of contact at your company and have the consultant work on project that can be completed largely independently.
2. Hire To Learn
There may be a task or process that you or your staff would like to learn. You may be able to get a consultant that does that work to teach you how. Work like SEO, social media and content marketing are great initiatives to do in-house if you have the time and resources. Pick things like these that you can easily learn and that should be done very frequently. The content you write can be more effective because you know your company, the products and your customer’s needs. However a consultant can get you started faster and teach you best practices.
3. Someone’s Mind Needs To Be Changed
Sometimes an outsider needs to be brought in to change minds. It could be your mind, your staff’s minds or your board. Outside consultants sometimes seem to foster more respect with decision makers. But, usually if the consultant agrees with you it’s more of a numbers game. Once the recipient has heard the idea 2-3 times it starts taking shape in their brains as being important.
4. You Don’t Know the Answer
Sometimes we run into that perfect problem. It’s the problem you’ve been carrying around and mulling over for months, maybe years. There seems to be no solution or no desirable solution. A consultant with a different background, skill sets and expertise than you have may be able to help. They can do one of two things. 1. Solve your problem 2. Confirm that yes, this is a perfect problem and it is time to move ahead in another direction.
5. You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
Need some upfront discovery on your customers, a new industry, a new market? Want to think about the full range of options from a market expert? Ready to develop a business plan? Wondering why something is going really well? Or not at all well? A good consultant can not only help guide the process to getting great material for decision making they’ll work with you on figuring out what priorities make the most sense for your company right now.
The last two on the list are my favorite because this kind of work gives you the most value. It’s about getting your company unstuck, moving forward, creating opportunities, and learning how to serve your customers better. I don’t know if there’s a statistic on this but, I bet a really good marketing consultant with the right mission can put a company on a path to growth that exponentially exceeds their fees.