You are considering hiring a marketing consultant, perhaps you feel that you are not getting the most out of your marketing. Maybe you feel that you could be doing it better. You may not have the team that can manage your marketing or perhaps you feel you need to up-skill in certain areas in order to get more bang for your marketing buck.
Whatever your reasons to hire a marketing consultant are, you may have not yet committed to hiring one yet. Why not? Perhaps you want to understand what benefits a marketing consultant could bring to your business? Maybe you just don't know what to expect or whether your need a consultant at all?
In this post we’ll talk about everything from what a marketing consultant does to how they can benefit your business. Reasons to hire a consultant and whether you need a marketing specialist at all. So, let’s start from the very top. What is a marketing consultant?
What is a Marketing Consultant?
A marketing consultant is a professional marketer who can be brought into a business to help improve your marketing efforts by assessing and understanding your customers and drawing up winning strategies that will help you communicate your business better to them.
A marketing consultant is a highly experienced individual that has and does work with businesses across a sometimes-wide variety of sectors and industries. They know how to find opportunity within a business and how best to promote it.
A marketing consultant is a person who can assess your business model and then using a wide variety of techniques and tactics develop a marketing plan that will help a business deliver on its goals and targets. A consultant will help you to create a marketing plan, help you decide on best messaging and direct you to the most effective marketing mix to best communicate your message.
Additionally, once a marketing plan has been decided a consultant will help you to execute that plan, optimising and assessing the performance of your marketing and ultimately making you more successful. They will help your business to grow with better marketing.
A great marketing consultant is someone that is very passionate about helping businesses grow through better marketing!
Reasons to Hire a Marketing Consultant
Business is competitive, whatever sector you are in there is always the challenge of finding new customers or retaining the customers that you have. You do this via marketing, depending on what sector you are in, potentially lots of marketing. Marketing costs money and time to effectively deliver, it is so easy to waste money with average, mis-targeted or inefficient marketing. As business owner or manager, you may be doing the marketing yourself, this takes time, time that you could better invest in improving the business or well, just focusing on the day job.
Some business owners get it so right, in that case, if you are happy to continue doing so and you have the time to do it, great, keep doing the good work. But what if you think that you could be doing marketing better? You haven’t got the time to invest in delivering effective marketing or if that last campaign just didn’t work how it should?
Marketing is constantly on the move; technology is constantly on the move and new opportunities and means to target your customers are always changing, particularly when it comes to the internet.
If your business has been established for a while, then no doubt you will have a website. A website is the centre-pin of your marketing strategy, customers will find you because of it, they’ll be able to research your products and services from it, they’ll be able to communicate and potentially purchase through it. But the internet is changing rapidly, what happens when your website becomes unfit to perform its role? How do you know when your website is no longer performing as it should? This is where a marketing consultant can help you. Either to develop a new site or better improve the digital real estate that you have.
Marketing consultants don’t just look at your website, they can provide insight into marketing best practice, they keep up-to-date with the latest techniques and strategies, they understand how to make marketing work harder for your business. Below we have listed some of the main reasons that you or your business should investigate hiring a marketing consultant.
1. Marketing Consultants are marketing professionals
Marketing consultants do marketing for a living, it’s their day job. They live and breathe marketing, advertising and digital marketing and have an in-depth knowledge and the experience to know what does and doesn’t work, preventing costly mistakes. A consultant will be able to provide advice and insight based on a working knowledge of that channel or platform preventing errors, wasted time or opportunities. They have ‘been there’ and ‘seen that’ and will be able to better direct and manage existing marketing efforts or encourage you to use evermore profitable channels.
Professional consultants will do the thinking for you, help to develop effective strategies faster, they can be a shortcut to success via marketing.
2. Marketing Consultants save you time
A good consultant is highly experienced which means that they can complete marketing tasks much more quickly than you or someone in your team that is learning on the job. They know how to research or plan quickly, they are much more efficient with their time, they understand marketing best practice and will deliver results faster.
Delegating your marketing to a consultant gives you the freedom to focus on what is most important, running your business! By putting the responsibility or marketing onto someone else you’ll have time to greater focus on the operations of the business, keep up-to-date with business admin or spend more time with your customers.
3. Marketing consultants are well connected
Marketing consultants will already have a network of specialists and contacts that will be able to make short work of any requirements that you may have, you can benefit from this network too. From SEO specialists to designers, printers to media buyers they’ll have team of individuals and businesses that they have experience of using that will help you to get the job done quickly and more cost efficiently.
A marketing consultant is in touch with the professionals and specialists that can execute marketing effectively and efficiently. You will not need to waste time taking individual requirements to market, getting quotes or vetting businesses that you need to get the job done. You can rely on their network, move faster and achieve more, more quickly.
4. Marketing Consultants increase marketing effectiveness
As business you are probably already spending money on marketing. But do you know what is working and how well? Could it be improved? A marketing consultant will be able to assess what is and isn’t working for you. Providing insight into how it can be improved and how to drive better return. They will be able to optimise your existing efforts or direct you to new or more profitable channels.
A consultant will be able to tell you where to invest more and where to stop or reduce spending. Even with the associated costs of hiring a consultant they will be able to drive efficiencies and optimise activity and provide a greater return on your marketing investments and quickly repaying their own costs.
Do I need a Marketing Consultant?
When should you be considering hiring a marketing professional? There are many reasons that businesses choose to employ or in fact need a marketing consultant. Sometimes clients need help with a project or launch, sometimes the hire is on a more long-term basis helping to create and execute whole marketing campaigns. Below we have listed some of the reasons that businesses choose to recruit a marketing consultant and highlighted some of the times when you should be consider hiring a marketing expert. If you say yes to any of the 9 reasons below then you’ll be needing the help of a marketing professional.
If this is the case, feel free to contact us and let’s chat about how we can help you. You may need a marketing consultant if:
1. You have an inexperienced team
Perhaps you have a new marketing team or marketing is managed by individuals within the business that are not necessarily trained marketers? Bringing in a marketing consultant can add experience and guidance and help you get the track and give it focus.
You may even have a marketing team, but the team is lacking in a certain skill set. They may be focused on the internet or have no digital skills at all. It may be a skill set that you are not ready to fully invest in with a full-time employee. A consultant can be used to fill these gaps in experience and test the water for you.
Maybe you have the team, but you need strategic direction. Again, a marketing consultant can be brought in to set the direction and create the marketing plan.
2. Your business isn’t growing
If your business has plateaued and it is getting harder and harder to achieve growth this is a great time to bring in some fresh eyes that will help to drive the business forward. It could be that your marketing has got stale or stalled, the business needs to develop along new lines, or you are only getting new customers as quickly as you are losing them.
Regardless of the issue a marketing consultant can be brought in to take a long hard look at the how you operate and identify new ways to promote your business and to create a winning strategy that will deliver growth.
3. You need someone to call in times of crisis
Crisis can strike a business at any time; a crisis can be a huge PR incident that requires a crisis comms plan or a smaller crisis that requires attention such as a bad review or a tricky customer on social media. Whatever the issue, sometimes you just need to discuss it with someone. An individual who is independent of the business and can provide clear thinking in times of crisis. Another of the benefits a marketing consultant can bring is that they are always at the end of the phone. They know how to best manage negative situations and show you how to resolve the issue with the minimum of impact on your business and your time.
4. You are struggling to get enquiries
Generating more enquiries and new customers is critical for every business. Regardless of how your company operates you’ll always need to replacing customers that you have lost, customers that no longer require your services or who already own your product.
It could be that you are getting enquiries but not enough, they are of low quality or you just aren’t getting the enquiries that you need to grow. Marketing consultants will work alongside you and your team to develop strategies to improve your rate or quality of enquiry. They can help lay down the plan for generating new business. They can create the plan and execute the strategy to help drive your business forward.
5. Your ROI from marketing is not where it should be
Do you feel that you are not getting a good return from your marketing? Investing in marketing can be expensive and unless it’s being effective it can be a serious drain on your finances. A marketing consultant can tell you where you are going wrong and assist you in making brave decisions such as where to stop spending or where to spend more. A marketing consultant can also drive greater returns from existing marketing efforts, bringing their specialist skills to bear on sluggish or poor performing channels.
6. You aren’t tracking your marketing
To understand the ROI of your marketing you need to be tracking it. To be able to optimise your existing efforts you need to be tracking its performance. You might be happy with the number of enquiries that you are getting for your spend but not understanding where those leads or sales are coming from can lead to inefficiencies and prevent you from doubling down on the most effective channels or pulling spend from lower performing mediums.
A marketing consultant can deploy technologies such as analytical tools, call tracking or promotional code tracking software to better understand not only where the leads or sales are coming from but also to assess the quality of those enquiries.
A marketing consultant will be able to look at the whole marketing function and review processes and procedures and make the necessary changes so that this level of analysis is possible.
7. Marketing is not your priority
Your business may have grown from simply having a great product or delivering excellent service. You may be an entrepreneur that always has an eye on the next big opportunity or marketing simply might not be your bag. You know that you must do it, but you lack the focus to concentrate on it.
Whether you are a fast-moving entrepreneur, or you simply don’t have the capacity to focus on the business and the marketing a marketing consultant can be brought in to manage this for you. Consider a consultant your marketing team, they can plan it, execute it and provide the reports that you need to manage it, freeing up your time to focus on your priorities and run your business.
8. You don’t understand your target audience
Understanding who your customers are is essential. To properly target new business, you will need to not only be able to say who your customer is but what moves them, when do they need your product, when should you attempt to contact them and more.
Understanding your customer thoroughly will impact every area of your business from positioning to the price of your product or service, your sales process to your customer retention strategies. If you are unaware of who your customer is or if you think that your customers are anyone or everyone you could be missing huge opportunities to gain a greater slice of your market.
A marketing consultant will help to identify your customers, they’ll give you a deeper understanding of what they like and their motivations, critical information if you are to efficiently and accurately market your business.
9. You are marketing without a plan
Are you buying advertising from cold callers, perhaps you are doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that? If it’s working then great, but how much better could it work if it were properly coordinated? If it isn’t working, you should be hearing alarm bells.
Many businesses invest in marketing without having a plan. But how do you know if this is right activity, what’s working for you, what isn’t? A marketing consultant can help you to develop a marketing plan and in turn strategy that helps you to deliver on your business goals and objectives.
The plan would include:
SWOT analysis of where you are as a business
A detailed view of your target audience
Analysis of your competitors
Marketing goals and targets
Marketing tactics and opportunities
Reporting and tracking mechanisms
Once a business has gone through this process you can go on to create a marketing strategy, identifying the channels and vehicles that you are going to use to promote your business and communicate with your customers. Your plan will keep you on track and on budget, your consultant can help you to achieve this.
What do marketing consultants do?
A consultant will work with a business to help them develop and execute their marketing plan. A consultant will help a business to create a marketing plan, help develop the marketing message and then create a marketing strategy to best promote the business. Executing the plan assessing and optimising the marketing channels as required to maximise its effectiveness and ROI.
The best marketing consultants are both creative and analytical, helping to define the image of the business alongside monitoring its performance. They’ll help you put your product or service in front of the customer at the most opportune time, with the right messaging and give the marketing greatest chance of succeeding.
Marketing consultants can provide the full suite of marketing services; from developing your business into a brand to media reporting and analysis and / or creating a digital marketing strategy to optimising your website for conversions.
Marketing consultants are often entrepreneurs too, they have their own businesses, they have worked in other successful businesses, sat on the board of large companies and can help you to develop your business plan as well.
A marketing consultant can help to bring in specialised skills and expertise as well as provide an external perspective and viewpoint. Sometimes business owners or those involved directly in the business find it hard to see the wood for the trees, a person not directly involved in the business, who is independent of the business, can bring fresh perspectives and identify strengths and weaknesses that were invisible to those so deeply entrenched in the day to day management of the company.
A consultant will understand your business and tailor your marketing requirements to achieve your objectives and goals. A marketing consultant will help your business grow, they will help you to succeed.
What to expect from a Marketing Consultant?
The first thing to expect from a marketing consultant is a lot of questions, we mean lots. They’ll ask for access to any analytical tools that you have, they’ll want to see lead or sales data, understand the profitability of the items or services that you sell. On site tours, meet your team. They need to build a complete picture of your business and understand the businesses goals and objectives. They will probe you, undertake SWOT analysis, they’ll want to thoroughly understand your business looking for opportunity throughout the process.
The consultant will also want to look at what marketing you have previously deployed, schedules, creatives, really get under the skin of what has been previously actioned and what has and hasn’t worked. If you have been working to a marketing plan, then great, share this too, if you haven’t no problem either, all this information will be used to build the picture and help to develop the plan for you.
Some research may also be required. Depending on how well you know your customers and what motivates them to buy from you. Completely understanding the customer and their motivations is essential to understand when you are creating a strategy to target them. Research can be undertaken relatively easily, you can use existing data to categorise and create customer types and groups, short online surveys asking them what they like or don’t like. Focus groups or simply talking to your customers will help you to understand them more and of course their motivations and preferences.
Once the information has been collected and analysed the consultant will present the marketing plan which is the stepping stone to creating the marketing strategy. The marketing plan will include some potential promotional ideas and media choices, this will be the time when you need to start considering budgets and tactics to drive your message home.
The next stage is to develop a strategic plan that will guide the marketing for the next period, this can be a campaign lasting for a few weeks or months or a complete annual strategy, depending on your requirements. This will include costed media and the potential return that it is expected to deliver. Every plan is different, because every businesses goals and objectives are different. Routes to market are different, customers are different. The marketing consultant will be the centre-pin of your marketing efforts moving forward, helping you to execute and optimise the campaign, coordinating with internal stake holders and maximising the effectiveness of every pound spent.
Marketing consultants are there to help you be more successful with marketing. From the inception of the marketing plan to the delivery of the campaign itself. They will help you to understand what is working and manage your marketing efforts for you. They want to grow your business, after all, they’ll want to keep you as a customer and the best way to do that is to make sure that you are as profitable and successful as possible.
How much does it cost to hire a Marketing Consultant?
So how much does it cost to hire a Marketing Consultant? Well, it varies hugely by sector, discipline and based on their experience.
There are also other factors that impact a Marketing Consultants costs, that is how good they are and how many clients that they are currently consulting for. You see, if a consultant is in high demand, probably because they are very good at what they do, they can charge more. A consultant has a limited amount of days in a month, a maximum capacity, if they are optimising their time correctly the more in demand they are, the more they will cost. They will also get to pick and choose their clients or sectors which again could be a determining factor as to how much they will charge you.
Another consideration is location, a marketing consultant based in a city will charge more than one in a more rural location. Why? Because the cost of managing the business is more. If there overhead is less this means that they are likely to charge less for their services. Location will also be a factor in terms of proximity to your business. If there are a lot of travelling costs this will also be factored into the cost. That being said these days, with such great communications tools available to us, a lot of work can be done remotely, you’ll just need to consider whether or not you need the consultant to be in your direct location and whether they’ll need to travel to you regularly.
Experience is the key determining factor when it comes to a marketing consultant. You will be able to hire a marketing consultant for less if they have less practicable experience in the field. An individual with 4- 5 years’ experience in marketing will cost far less than an individual with 20 plus years’ experience consulting in marketing on both client and agency side.
Your requirements will also be a factor. Are you looking for a short-term campaign or an overview with recommendations on your existing efforts or are you looking for a long-term placement to up-skill your team, provide additional resource and drive growth for you? As a rule of thumb, the more days that you require a marketing consultant the less it will cost you per day.
A great way to work out ‘value’ is to calculate how much it would cost your business to make a permanent hire for that position. A permanent hire that would also come with additional costs such as pension, NI, kit and training. One of the greatest benefits about outsourcing your marketing to a consultant is that you do not have to account for any of these benefits.
In the UK, for a full-time member of staff, salaries for permanent marketers varies depending where you are in the country. If you were looking to hire a Marketing assistant it could cost you between £17,000 and £25,000 per annum, marketing managers between £25,000 and £55,000, Marketing Directors could be anywhere from £55,000 to well in excess of £100k, again dependent on sector or location. Another great benefit of hiring a consultant is that you can turn resource off and on. You may need Marketing Director level consultancy for a short time, to help you get organised, define the strategy and direct your team. It could be that it is much more cost effective to hire a Marketing Director for a short time to achieve this goal, falling back on the experience of your team once the goals and direction have been set.
There are many means and ways to hire a consultant either on a contract, project or on a longer-term hire basis. The price will usually be calculated on a day rate, but sometimes, depending on the goals and the objectives of the campaign there can be additional performance related payments based on how successful the consultant has been. As a rule, a senior marketing consultant with at least 20 years’ experience spanning a wide variety of sectors and with a proven track record could charge between £500 and £750 per day. The more days that you hire, the less the cost. Sometimes consultants also have a third-party costs fees that covers off travel and expenses but usually this is incorporated into the fee.
Of course, you can pay less for a marketing consultant but again you need to consider what you are buying for that fee. A marketing consultant should be targeted to recoup their fee and some. They should help you to achieve your targets, they should clearly map the ways and means that they are going to achieve it, target it, optimise to it and achieve it. If the consultant that you hire lacks the ability to do this then it could be more expensive in the long run. What would it cost your business if you didn’t achieve your goals? Cheaper is not always better. Experience may get you there faster.
Summary: Benefits of Hiring a Marketing Consultant
We hope that this post has helped you better understand the benefits that a professional marketing consultant could bring to your business. How a marketing consultant can deliver growth, what to expect, whether you need one and what it costs to hire a marketing consultant. If you are interested or would like to investigate what we could do for your business then feel free to get in contact with us and arrange a consultation or just for a chat, our contact details are below.
Thanks for reading!
About the author: Paul Lymer is a freelance marketing consultant and founding Director at Improve Marketing. Click here to find out more about Paul and our Marketing Consultancy Services.
Marketing Consultant Services from Improve Marketing
Improve Marketing is a Marketing Consultancy based in the UK. We provide the full suite of marketing consulting services including; marketing consultation, advertising and digital marketing services. We work with companies all over the UK providing professional, effective marketing services. If you are interested in hiring a marketing consultant to help your business grow, then get in contact with us and let’s talk marketing. Click here to contact Improve Marketing.