I was recently doing some research for a client when I ran across a great website called marketingzone.com. It had a lot of educational articles about small business marketing, such as how to do market research, how to get the most from advertising, and how to hire marketing freelancers…including marketing consultants like myself.
I really appreciated the article, because all too often my profession gets a bad rap thanks to all the people running around claiming to be marketing consultants who actually aren’t. Part of the problem is that there is no “certification” required to call yourself a marketing consultant, like there is for other professions such as doctors, lawyers, and plumbers. So, what you get is everyone who does anything related to small business marketing, from the yellow pages sales guy to the guy who prints your business card, calling themselves a marketing consultant. That’s basically like saying that anyone who does anything related to human heath, from a yoga instructor to the guy selling organic energy drinks, is a doctor. Neither of those statements is true, but that still doesn’t tell us what a marketing consultant actually is. So, what should you look for in a good small business marketing consultant?
As the article from marktingzone.com explains, a good marketing consultant will basically be able to do two things for your business: set up the basics of your marketing system (things like your marketing strategy, your website, social media, branding, etc), and run that system for you on an ongoing basis. If the person you’re talking to does not do both of those things, then they aren’t a marketing consultant–they’re just somebody giving you marketing advice.
Now, this doesn’t mean that a marketing consultant will do all of those things themselves. In most cases, the consultant will outsource many tasks to third party providers, and manage those providers for you so that you can focus on running your business. They’re like a general contractor of the marketing world, and just like construction general contractors, they are pretty essential to getting the results you want. After all, if you had to tell the plumber how to build your bathroom and the electrician how to wire your house, chances are you’d end up with electrical wires running through your shower! A general contractor makes sure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal, which is building your house. A marketing consultant does the same thing, only in this case the goal is growing your business.
If you are thinking about hiring a marketing consultant, I highly recommend reading the full article on marketingzone.com before beginning your search. Then, come back to my website and complete a free signature brand audit so that you can see how I measure up to the requirements listed in the article.