What a Good Marketing Consultant Will Tell You
The fortunes of a company and its marketing consultant are inextricably linked. This means a good marketing consultant must have the confidence and courage to deliver bad news when necessary. This consultant will tell you when:
You Don’t Have a Brand: Most businesses with a weak brand recognize it, but just don’t know what to do about it. If the story isn’t compelling and different, the consultant needs to say so. The consultant brings valuable objectivity and experience to the table, and a good consultant will collaborate on defining and fleshing out the brand.
Your Brand is Holding you Back: Not every marketing professional is a branding expert, but most are experts in messaging. At times, a company’s branding or advertising will compete with that messaging, or it simply doesn’t fit the story the consultant is serving up to the market and the media. A smart client will make sure the consultant has a voice in key branding changes and decisions, and a good consultant will capitalize on it.
There is a Problem with your Product: A good marketing consultant can sell a poor product one time to a customer, but not twice. Unhappy customers tend to be lost for life. To prevent that, the consultant may have to have a very difficult conversation about some aspects of the product that need to be redesigned. Even better is to have the consultant evaluate your offering before you launch it.
Sales Isn't Following Up: If your marketing consultant is delivering marketing-qualified leads and sales isn't following up consistently, there isn't much marketing can do about it except to let you know. It's always best if sales and marketing work together seamlessly and if there is a strong lead follow up system in place before the client brings the marketing consultant onboard.
You Have Unrealistic Expectation for Marketing: An experienced marketing consultant will manage expectations by outlining tangible deliverables and measurable goals at the outset. The consultant will be doing a disservice to everyone involved by allowing expectations to exceed reality. It’s the marketing consultant's responsibility to make sure the client knows what to expect and when to expect it.
You Need to Take a Long-Term View: A good consultant will urge the client to do what is in its best long-term interest. This applies to everything from customer relations to crisis communications. This requires that the consultant continually monitors and measures everything.
Hard conversations between consultants and clients lead to a better working partnership. A solid consultant-client relationship thrives on collaboration and open communication--a good marketing consultant will offer it and a good client will welcome it.
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