A marketing consultant can bring an experienced expert eye to your organization’s marketing activities. They are also a flexible hire without the costs and risk involved with taking on a permanent senior employee. However, anyone can call themselves a marketing consultant so how do you know how to choose a good one.
What makes a good marketing consultant?
Qualifications & Knowledge
A good marketing strategy consultant should have studied with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) or have an MBA. Ask for certificates and if they have any accreditations.
A senior marketing consultant will have at least 10 years’ experience working on large £million budgets.
- They should know the difference between strategy and tactics. Strategy asks ‘why?’ whereas tactics is the ‘how’ of marketing.
- Commercial awareness
- Analytical skills to evaluate current marketing activity
- Problem solving
- Traditional & digital marketing knowledge
- Copywriting and communication skills
Ability to listen
This is a key requirement. A marketing consultant should sit down with you and learn as much as they can about your organization. They will ask you questions, don’t be defensive as their job is to help your business succeed.
What other projects have they worked on, perhaps they can provide you with case studies. Look at their CV – they should have a LinkedIn profile or mini biography where you can view their experience.
Marketing has moved on at a tremendous pace during the past 10 years. Today’s marketers need to constantly update their digital knowledge to keep up with SEO practices, social media, mobile marketing, PPC, email marketing and content etc. There are a huge number of specialisms within digital marketing – so any marketer who says they are an expert in all of them is not being transparent. However, a good marketing consultant should understand how they all fit together to create an integrated marketing campaign.
Can they provide testimonials or references from other clients? Are they on the Drum Recommended Agency Register (RAR)? This is a highly respected list of UK marketing agencies/consultancies which is based on client recommendations for individual marketing specialisms. Check whether they have achieved Recommended status.
Finally, remember you’ve got to work together so it helps if you like the marketing consultant you hire. You are looking for someone who is professional but also easy to get on with and most importantly listens to you. They should be passionate about marketing and enjoy helping their clients achieve their goals.
A good marketing consultant should give you a reason to believe that they are an expert in what they do. To get the most out of a marketing consultant provide as much information as you can about your business and the challenges you face. Most importantly, as with any relationship, make sure the expectations of both parties are clear at the beginning.
About the author
Blog post by Christine Babington Smith, an expert in marketing strategy and marketing communications. She is the founder of Torehill, a marketing strategy consultancy which works with ambitious enterprises. Torehill’s team includes CIM & MBA trained marketers with between 10–20 years’ experience. Our backgrounds cover London’s premier advertising agencies, PLCs and high-profile start-ups. Our consultancy services include marketing strategy, branding, marketing communications, campaign planning, website development, PR, SEO, social media and digital content.
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