5 Steps to Hiring the Right Marketing Consultant
Here are questions to ask in making a great selection!
For most businesses, selling products or services is their lifeblood, so choosing the right marketing consultant is of utmost importance for business success. Business owners who understand the importance of selecting the right marketing agency and appreciate the value effective marketing can have on their business, are the ones that will prosper and achieve long-term success.
What follows are five steps that should be taken to ensure you select a marketing firm that is the right fit for you!
Step 1. Goals and Objectives
The first step in selecting a marketing consultant is to determine your company’s short- and long-term business objectives. Do you need to generate mores sales, build awareness, promote a new brand, increase market share, or a combination of these? Your goals should be realistic and measurable and have a time period associated with them. Having a clear understanding of where you want to go is the first step in getting there. And don’t forget to share these goals with your staff members! If you want to reach your benchmarks, you’ll require the full support of your staff.
Step 2. Required Marketing Consultant Services
Determining the appropriate marketing services will help you choose the right consultant for your business. Do you need a strategic marketing plan to be developed? Are you launching a new product and require brand development? Do you require marketing research to ensure there is a viable market for your product or service and that your message is on point with your target audience?
Once the strategic and brand aspects have been addressed, you can turn your attention to the marketing tools and tactics that will be most effective in achieving your marketing objectives.
Below is a list of the major tools and tactics used in most marketing campaigns:
- Advertising: Print, Radio, TV, Billboard and Outdoor.
- Content Development: Writing of blog, articles, white papers and other content for websites and various marketing communications.
- Digital Marketing: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), banner ads, Google AdWords, Facebook ads and Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC).
- Direct Marketing: Database driven direct mail and email marketing campaigns.
- Marketing Communications: Brochures, catalogs, product sheets and other printed sales materials.
- Public Relations: Writing and distribution of press releases, obtaining feature press coverage, supervision of press events and new conferences.
- Social Media: Posts to social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) and appropriate blogs and forums.
- Trade Show: Presentations, exhibit design, graphics, giveaways and talent procurement.
- Web Development: Creation of websites that are cutting-edge in design, content and functionality.
- Video/Photography: Filming of video/photography material to incorporate in digital, broadcast and social media marketing.
- POP/Brochure Display: Production of Point-of-Purchase (POP) displays, posters and literature to be used in on-premise locations.
Step 3. Industry Expertise
How important is it that your marketing consultant understands and is familiar with your aviation business? If it is very important, then you’ve substantially narrowed the field of prospective firms.
Generally, a marketing consultant that is familiar with your business, can hit the ground running, requiring less of a learning curve and can avoid costly novice mistakes. Certain industries require an agency with understanding and expertise in the strategies and tactics unique to selling to customers within those industries and differs from industry to industry. For example, marketing private air charter to consumers requires a different approach than marketing a flight school to pilots. Agencies who specialize in a particular industry, are hyper aware of the idiosyncrasies of these specialized markets, and are adept at selecting the right mix of media and messaging to ensure a successful marketing effort.
The down side to agency specialization is that you may not find a local marketing consultant with the expertise you require. This necessitates the consideration of agencies outside your local area, which depending upon the size of your budget and your account management needs, could have significant cost implications due to time considerations and travel expenses if frequent face-to-face meetings are imperative.
Step 4. Target Audience or Region
Where is your target audience located? Is it local, regional, national or international? Your marketing consultant should have the internal staffing, expertise, infrastructure and resources to handle your particular geographic marketing requirements.
Step 5. Marketing Consultant Size
In selecting a marketing agency, bigger is not always better. While it may be somewhat reassuring to have your company’s marketing handled by a large, well-known agency, the reality is that unless your marketing budget is in the six or seven figure range, you may find your account assigned to a series of junior account executives and creative teams more interested in advancing their careers than in promoting your business. Although large agencies have greater resources that you can tap into, carefully consider how important these resources are to you, as larger agencies as a rule charge significantly more than smaller ones. In the end, whether large or small, your account will most likely be managed by a small team of people assigned to work on your account.
Sometimes it’s better to be the big fish in a small pond.
The flip side of the equation is also true. Hiring a consultant or a small firm, in which your company is their “gorilla” account and constitutes more than half their revenue, is also not an ideal situation as they may not have the internal capacity or resources to effectively manage your account. This may lead to poor quality work and missed deadlines. Consider the ramifications if a key agency employee becomes ill for an extended period, or leaves the agency – this could have an adverse effect on your marketing timeline as well as on your business. Therefore, look for agencies that have a number of accounts with budgets comparable to your own and the bandwidth to handle another account of your size.