Many people are skeptical about the role of a consultant. Consultants can be expensive and if they are not delivering value they can waste a lot of time and money. There are however great benefits to having a consultant.
Before we get into the benefits, it’s always important to define the purpose for hiring a consultant. It is really easy once you’ve appointed your consultant to throw them more work or projects. Whilst every consultant values more work, ‘mission creep’ as I call it can dilute the effectiveness and muddy objectives and goals. It starts so easy with ‘can you just do this for us too’. I have been in a position where I have had mission creep and it isn’t a great place. Business owners at first feel happier knowing they can pass projects over and leave them with someone else. The problem comes when objectives and lines start to blur. From experience it is always better to have clearly defined projects and timescales.
When mission creep happens, it starts well but six months down the line when goals have slipped, it is easy to forget the additional work that has been added and blame the consultant. Always keep clear goals and objectives, it will get you the best results and avoid confusion.
So here are some of the main benefits for hiring a consultant…
1) Clear thinking.
It is really easy to develop ‘group think’ or ‘industry think’ as company. A consultant can bring a different perspective not hindered by the day-to-day running of your business. The clarity a consultant can bring also is removed from internal politics. Politics happen in every organisation and they are a power and self preservation mechanism. Clarity of thought from a consultant can help you see your options and next steps without the lens of politics or day-to-day management challenges.
The primary reason for bringing a consultant on board is so that you can gain access to expertise which you do not have internally. In marketing trends, methods and processes change. As a consultant, you have to be ahead of the game and be on top of the latest developments in technology so that you can share those developments with clients.
Many consultants focus on specific areas, so engaging their field of expertise is a low cost option compared to hiring a permanent staff member for that work. In some companies they do not have a big marketing team, perhaps just a marketing coordinator. In these circumstances companies can gain high-level experience as and when they need it.
In many organisations it can be easy to get distracted. The amount of times I have heard business owners say “we really need to work on our marketing”. Marketing is a top priority for winning customers, but it is really easy to get consumed in the day-to-day that you never get around to actually ‘doing’ the marketing.
A consultant or marketing company can help take responsibility for delivery. Having a consultant on board can help keep the focus on delivering the work or project. When your business is stretched for resource a consultant can keep things moving forward.
4) Defining Customers
A good marketing consultant can help you define your customer. Understanding your customer, their buying patterns and importantly their persona. This is another vital element of your marketing strategy which can help you win more business and customers. Poorly defined customer profiles can lead to wasting time and money using the wrong tools, to the wrong people at the wrong time. Defining your customer can help you deploy the right tools to the right people at the right time.