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What to look for when you hire a Marketing Consultant

Top 5 things to look for with a Marketing Consultant for your business

Hiring a marketing consultant for your business is an important step in the maintenance of continued growth of your business.

Here are a top 5 list of what your business should look for when hiring an integrated marketing consultant.

1. Got LinkedIn? in other words; Research, Research, Research

When you have made the decision to hire a marketing consultant we know that you already have a set of business and marketing objectives which you will brief your chosen marketing agency to discuss and present a proposal on.

Before you move to this stage it is wise too spend some time researching the new marketing agency for your business is looking to invest in.

Today unlike ever before there are a myriad of ways to research a new outsourced marketing suppliers, including marketing consultants.

A great tool is to use LinkedIn and review the companies profile on LinkedIn and also see their talent roster.

In other words you can do due diligence of the marketing skills they say they have by looking at who works for them, how long they have been there and what previous companies they have worked for.

Of course this does require that the company has a LinkedIn company profile and that their employees are listed. But you will find businesses that are working to be open and customer relationship driven will be on LinkedIn and let you see all about them.

Why would they not it is an opportunity to build their brand and relationships as well.

2. Marketing expertise and proof

Show me the marketing skill.

Writing copy, blogs and web page production has been a great equaliser for small medium business.

Marketing and Marketing consultants are no exception to being able to use the ubiquitous tools on the world wide web like web pages, social media and email.

In fact, there is now so much content now and websites out there, that it is getting harder and harder ‘to be found’ being found is key.

So there are very few barriers to entry for anyone wanting to tell there world they are an ‘expert’ it just takes a website!

Therefore, research about the company you will work with is critical.

Just because a marketing consultant has a website does not mean that they are;

1. expert web masters
2. expert designers
3. brilliant SEO experts
4. or even amazing marketers

So, by having a good look at their marketing site, reading the copy and searching on Search Engines will help you get to know more about how effective they are as online marketers or through their marketing portfolio of off-line work (hopefully) on their marketing consulting site.

Not everyone can be found in the top 10 results page of Google.

So remember, you have to be fair, everyone wants to be on the number one Google search results page, but there will be hundreds of thousands of businesses working to achieve this.

Also, the most obvious way to review their skills is to look at the businesses professional marketing associations and the marketing and advertising skills of their staff.

You can check with the Marketing Associations they say they are connected to by doing a search in their ‘marketing member directory’ which you can do for us here with the Australian Marketing Institute or you can review their personal profile on LinkedIn.

Remember also, that your business may be too large for a small marketing agency and some business may not want or can afford to work with a large marketing agency you need to find a marketing agency which is a match for your business marketing objectives.

So, before you send that ‘contact us’ request be clear in your mind exactly what you want and need from your marketing budget – and make sure that the marketing consultant and marketing agency can deliver it!

3. Client references

OK, so you have found a couple of marketing agency’s who you think will hopefully help you get your marketing sorted and meeting your marketing objectives.

Great, so now let’s have a look at who they have worked with before.

But be careful, Client References can be out of date, can be misleading and at worst can be a thin association.

You will need like any buyer of a professional services have a ‘grain of salt‘ with each company you are reviewing to remain objective.

It is not all about working with large corporations and brands, look at what they actually did. Did it work?

Was it a marketing strategy, direct  mail campaign, was the creative effective? Did the campaign make sense to you when you looked at the portfolio of marketing work?

You have to ask all these questions as you go.

The best way to move forward is to ask your prospective agency for a ‘referral call’, a contact at a company which is a marketing client of theirs.

You can then talk to the representative about the work they do with your prospective marketing agency.

This can be good and bad, as you will find out wins and losses so to speak. But speaking with existing customers is really a ‘moment of truth’ for any business. No marketing agency should object to this.

4. Commitment ~ Are they after a quick sale or a relationship to help you grow your business?

This title is a bit misleading, as we are assuming that you want a relationship with your new marketing agency.

The reason we assume this is that it takes time for a marketing consultant to get to know the business they are working for and their drivers.

Or, you may not actually want a long-term relationship you may just want to send an SMS campaign next week to your customers about you late Winter Sale!

Either way, the marketing consultant and the marketing agency should offer you an opportunity to build rapport and work with you in the future.

We believe that if your with a transactional marketing agency, looking for quick sales, they may meet a tactical need now, but you won’t truly be helping the long-term health of your business if they don’t take the long-term view. It is about mutual success of both businesses.

5. What is the cost and their rates?

Show me the invoice!

No, I don’t want to see the quote. In other words, you do not want any surprises on the invoice compared to what you have been quoted for. This is very very important.

You should be very clear about what you are being charged for either by project, by time and materials, by the hour or fixed fee. Quality marketing agency’s will make sure you have no surprises with you invoices!

OK, these are a few simple rules which you can apply, and remember even if they are easy to find. You should never sign any contract until you are happy with exactly what your are buying.

Never, be forced by a pushy consultant to rush into a deal, they may not really be delivering for you, rather they may be looking to meet their revenue target.

Also, a quality marketing consultant will happily work with you with marketing help and marketing advice that helps you see and understand the benefit.

Hopefully this blog post will help prospective buyers of marketing consulting services to ‘buy right’!

All the best, happy marketing, team Integrati Marketing.