September 21, 2017
I’ve been a marketer for more than 10 years. I’ve worked as an employee, as a freelancer and as a consultant. And, in each of these roles, I learned a new side of creating marketing strategies.
As a marketing manager in various companies, I worked with a lot of agencies, but strategy was always my responsibility. For the longest time, I thought that this was the only way to go. After all, only an employee who knows the ins and outs can plan a business’ future the right way. Or so I thought.
I started changing my mind when my marketing team began to grow. With each new employee, I learned how a fresh perspective can be a complete game-changer. So I made a habit out of asking my new teammates, irrespective of the level of their career, for an opinion on the current marketing strategy.
I insisted that they needed to be honest and ruthless. They weren’t to be worried about “upsetting the boss” aka the “architect” of the strategy. And each of their evaluations brought quite a few ideas that we would turn into very successful marketing techniques.
Now that I am running a digital marketing agency, I understand so much more about the benefits of an external consultant. They can help your business whether you have a marketing department in place or not.
3 benefits of working with an external marketing consultant
While 64 percent of B2B companies outsource their content writing, very few do so with their marketing strategy. Probably for the same reasons that I hadn’t considered back when I worked as a marketing manager.
So I thought I would ask a few of my clients about the benefits they reaped from working with me. Here’s what they came up with:
1. A fresh pair of eyes
This is the one thing that I can relate to best. I know how it feels to be so entrenched in what you do for your company that you forget there are other ways.
You know you have to attend three events per year and publish six blog posts per month. And you do that somewhat robotically. When your analytics tools tell you that these things aren’t working so well anymore, you strive to improve them. It’s very hard to even consider dropping everything you’ve been doing and starting fresh.
When you bring an external consultant aboard, the first thing he/she does is an audit. And it’s merciless – but very useful.
An external consultant may tell you that you’ve been wasting money on trade shows and that you need to focus more on your online presence. Or vice versa. Whatever it is, you benefit from having a fresh pair of eyes analyze a situation they are not invested in (like you are).
2. Innovative ideas
I’m not saying that marketing employees fail to follow (or set) trends. Not at all. But a consultant has to do that on a daily basis. We already know which network works best for which industry. And we always consider giving a shot to up-and-coming platforms, not just the established ones. Because we’re the first to read all there is to read about new trends and the first to try everything out.
Because you can’t recommend something you’re not sure will work to a client. As an employee, you can say “I’ve heard about X. Let’s give it a try.” As an external consultant, people expect you to know if something will work or not from the get-go.
While an employee may also be a risk-taker, when you hire an external consultant, the testing period is cut in half. If they are worth that name, marketing consultants already know if the better chunk of your social media marketing budget should go to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Or, why not LinkedIn?
This way, the testing period is minimal and you get better results faster.
Two months ago, someone read one of my articles here, on Site Pro News. They contacted me for a blogging and Web content gig. But I soon realized this person had no structure or a clear strategy to follow.
The client had read that content is great for any business and wanted to try it. While I agree with this statement, I also must say that content marketing has to be aligned with business goals. Otherwise, you’re just filling the Internet with irrelevant articles.
So I suggested we start with a marketing strategy instead: A full audit of what the person already had and a roadmap for the future. Naturally, the client was reluctant at first, but agreed in the end.
When the strategy was done, we had a follow-up call. And the person’s reaction was the reason that prompted me to write this article.
“This is amazing,” the cleint said, “we now know there’s a reason behind every Facebook post and every e-mail we send out. We know where we’re going and we know what to expect out of the money we invest.”
In other words, the client wasn’t flying blindly anymore. They dropped some of their strategies that bought little to no ROI and adopted new ones that are already showing results.
But, most importantly, the client now has clear goals. Of course, everyone’s goal is “sell more” or “get more clients.” But this doesn’t happen just by wishful thinking. You have to break them into smaller marketing goals and have all of them work together toward the end result – your net profit.
Marketing consultants and growth hacking
In a sense, external marketing consultants or strategists are growth hackers. They have no attachment to your marketing history and a single goal in mind: the growth of your business.
It may be a painful transformation. In my experience, it usually is. You will have to let go of some of your old ways. “But we have 2,000 followers on Twitter.” This doesn’t really matter if those followers are not potential clients.
If your potential clients are on Instagram, a consultant would advise you to keep a minimal presence on Twitter and invest everything else in Instagram.
Do you know what, perhaps, is the thing that makes consultants so effective and ruthless at the same time? The fact that they haven’t just worked with one or three businesses in their whole career. They worked with tens or hundreds of them. And, most likely, they’re not just learning about your industry; they already know it and, if you listen to what they have to say (whether you like it or not), they can triple your profits.
Nothing can really beat that kind of experience.
Adriana Tica is an expert marketer and copywriter, with 10 years in the field, most of which were spent marketing tech companies. She is the CEO of Idunn, a digital marketing agency that helps clients all over the world with copywriting, social media marketing and marketing strategy. Follow her blog here: http://idunn.pro/blog.