It’s easy to get prideful and believe you have everything under control. While pride may be part of the human condition, they also say it comes before the fall.
If you’re in need of some help, it’s time to consider hiring a consultant. The right one can bring a lot of value to the table.
What’s a marketing consultant?
While many marketers claim to be “consultants” at some point in their careers, most don’t start out that way. Consultant work is usually the byproduct of a career spent working in a variety of different areas of marketing — typically with a great degree of success.
“Most marketing consultants have gained years of experience in previous marketing positions before entering the independent consulting field. While many years of experience are ideal for consultants, their previous work speaks louder than the amount of time they’ve spent in marketing,” Marketing-Schools.org explains.
“Companies seek out consultants with portfolios that show great success. Additionally, companies look to hire on consultants who have the educational backing needed to implement strategic marketing campaigns.”
When looking for a marketing consultant, you have a number of options. The two most common are to (a) use a specialized consulting firm, or (b) hire a freelance consultant. The latter option has become more popular recently, as there are now a number of online networks that make it easy for companies to search for a good fit.
The pay rate for a specialized marketing consultant varies with experience and past accolades. You can find an entry-level consultant for $50 or less an hour, whereas an experienced and in-demand consultant could cost thousands of dollars per day. It all depends on what you need.
Six reasons to hire a consultant
But let’s get down to the meat of the issue: How are companies supposed to know when they should hire a marketing consultant instead of adding another marketer to the payroll? What are the advantages and why are so many companies doing it?
The number one reason to hire a marketing consultant is for the outside perspective. You may have assembled the most talented team of marketers on the planet, but you’ll always be blinded by some level of bias. A consultant, on the other hand, can come in and see things clearly without being affected by the issues that weigh you down.
Marketing consultants always have a general background and knowledge of how to handle a variety of different needs, but most have a specialized skill set to offer. For example, you’ll find consultants who specialize in PPC campaign optimization or content marketing. When you work with these folks, you can quickly target a specific area without wasting time, money, or resources.
Many business leaders — perhaps you included – find themselves in a dilemma between hiring a new full-time marketing employee or bringing on a consultant. The biggest benefit of doing the latter is that a consultant is short-term. You can use their services for a period of time — perhaps to help with a seasonal campaign — and then cut ties without any questions. This saves money and prevents over-hiring.
Hiring a consultant is quick and easy. This allows you to spend less time focusing on logistics and more time taking action. As a result, you can address problems much faster and prevent small issues from becoming massive problems that will eventually require additional resources that you don’t have.
“Sometimes, when companies are working on a challenging problem or a controversial project, it can be hard for them to make decisions or take the necessary actions without getting wrapped up in emotions or politics,” management consultant Alex Nuth explains. “So, they bring in consultants to provide an unbiased eye and do some of the dirty work for them.”
This may seem like a minor issue, but it’s actually a major problem for a lot of organizations. There are so many personal factors in play that nothing ever gets done. People are too worried about job security, future positions, relationships and other factors that they become paralyzed. A marketing consultant doesn’t have to worry about any of these things and can get to work with minimal interference.
It’s easy for business owners and CEOs to lose focus and veer off track. This is typically the result of a lack of accountability. When an individual finds himself in a position of power, accountability dissipates and the ability to act autonomously often clouds judgment and decision making. When a consultant is hired, accountability suddenly reenters the picture. The consultant will establish meetings, set goals and provide objectives that have to be satisfied by certain checkpoints. This is good for everyone involved.
Finding the right fit
At the end of the day, hiring a marketing consultant is all about finding the right fit. There are a lot of consultants in the industry, but you won’t be successful if you can’t find one that fits your needs. This means accounting for their area of expertise, budget, time frame, and other important aspects like location, current workload and more.
One particularly important issue to consider is the fee. Be realistic about how much you can spend. As consultant Leo Pound asks, can you afford not to hire the right person?
“You can dig a deeper hole for your company either by hiring the wrong firm, or by not hiring the right firm,” Pound points out. “Hiring the right firm could well be the best money you will ever invest in your business. Once you decide, ask about their fee structure. Will you be billed on a daily or hourly basis? Are there success or transaction fees you should be aware of? Will you be billed for one person or multiple consultants?”
Once you determine that you need a consultant, immediately focus on details like these. The right fit will make all the difference in the world.
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