There are plenty of great marketing consultants who do great work, that just aren't right for your business. Yes, it's obvious that you've got to find the right person - but deeper than their experience and qualifications - is that they have to be the right person.
Sure, success comes from surrounding yourself with positive, successful people - but you need the right people in your corner to help you get to where you're going. Particularly in the field of marketing, where many companies are advised of solutions which, quite simply, were never going to work and because they aren't experienced in this field, have burned their marketing budget on some fluffy, wasteful campaign.
So, I've compiled 6 important factors to consider when choosing your small business marketing consultant.
1. Do they understand small business
Seems obvious, but many people truly don't get it. If you have only ever worked for large corporations, or government, you don't appreciate the flexibility and urgency that is required in small business.
Unless, they can demonstrate an understanding of practicality and suitability for marketing within your resource capabilities, then they will never be able to get into the frame of mind that aligns with what you truly need.
2. Do they understand digital
In an interview with Fortune earlier this year, Mike Cannon-Brooks, co-founder and co-CEO of Australian software giant; Atlassian said, “All companies fit into one of two buckets: either becoming a software company or being disrupted by one. Every industry is being fundamentally altered by software.”
Not only does your business need to embrace the digital age, you need to use web technology effectively or you will be left behind. Inbound Marketing for example is one highly effective way that many SME's are growing their business with measurable, cost effective marketing. More on that here.
3. Do they practice what they preach
This one's pretty self-explanatory, but beware of someone who advocates an approach they wouldn't undertake if they were in your position.
4. Will they get their hands dirty
What a small business doesn't need is a big picture, blue sky, perfect world dreamer. You do enough of that yourself for free. Sure, have some professional insight on strategic planning and setting your company vision, it's important and we advocate our clients do so. However, what you need is a marketing partner who can deliver on their recommendations.
If you engage a partner who will simply provide advice and suggestions without any capacity or desire to provide actual programs and services, then you are left to implement these yourself and let's face it, you don't have time, or likely, the skill for that. You are then left to engage another company to deliver the solution, which duplicates the time requirement and frankly, is a waste of money.
5. Can you work together
If you don't like the person then it is never going to work. I am a big believer in trusting your gut and feeling confident that your marketer really has your best interest at heart and is someone you trust. Someone you feel the right connection with.
Finally, business isn't always fun, but you have to at least give yourself a chance of enjoying yourself, so choose someone you actually want to spend time with, it's amazing what results come from this.