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Wanting a Marketing Consultant in Melbourne? Beware!

Wanting a Marketing Consultant in Melbourne? Beware!

A marketing consultant is not necessarily a marketing consultant.

From one to another, they are completely different. Some have great skills in strategy, others in tactical development and execution of marketing plans. Some are great at communicating but not fully across social media or what role advertising plays in the digital age.

In the past year, I have travelled the world talking to marketers and each one has something different to offer. They all have honed their skills in one area or another.

I first started my involvement in the marketing industry 21 years ago at an advertising agency in  Queensland. I remember watching the owner of the business operate and being completely fascinated by his skills and creativity. He had started his career as a window dresser for David Jones and way back in the early nineties was making more than a million dollars profit out of 5 man agency. Incredible.

While he was not tertiary qualified, he had a skill that I have rarely seen since then. He was creative but most importantly he thought about the bottom line of his clients businesses.

I once asked, "why don't we do more creative advertising?".

He replied, "because we do advertising that sells."

And there lies the problem with marketing consultants and creatives today. Building a brand is great, but at the end of the day, the business must make money.

Three years ago I employed a guy as a marketing executive in our Melbourne office and he last a few weeks. He was terrible at everything other than writing a direct marketing letter. A few weeks later, with a web developer as a mate, he started up his own marketing consultancy.

Would I trust my valuable marketing dollars with him? No. He simply was not across marketing enough and didn't have a natural knack for understanding a market.

Recently I employed a marketing manager overseas and while they were in their trial period, I realised that they knew nothing about marketing. In fact, I am flabbergasted as to how they had two good strong references because although she is the nicest person in the world and completely adorable, her marketing skills were almost non-existent. Although we asked all the right questions in the interview and explained how important it was to know all areas of marketing, not just one, I suppose she thought she could wing it. Thank goodness we didn't let her loose on clients, because our reputation would be an tatters. But please let me reinforce what a lovely person she is but not the right person for the job and not a marketing manager, senior enough to drive the marketing efforts of a small business.

When she started working she asked over a series of weeks; "how do you book advertising?" "I have never done a direct marketing campaign, how do you do that?" "I have never written a marketing strategy, how do you do that?" "I have never done social media?" "I have never done PR?" - well what have you done? Harsh I know, but it can be frustrating and expensive for small businesses to hire people. Why do references say that people have done things when they have not? It is not only unfortunate for the company but also the person. As a company, we test people before they go working with clients. As for the person who has taken the job that they don't have the competency levels for, they hit the unemployment line, or they get another job and the cycle continues for them.

I say BEWARE of hiring a marketing consultant in Melbourne, not because it is Melbourne, but because it is like any city in any country around the world. People say what they think you want to hear, but the reality is, you need results and as a small business, you need to work with people who have "been there and done that".

Which leads me to travel. If your marketing consultant has not travelled in the past 12 months overseas and I am not talking about a trip to Bali - then fire them. Without exposure to what is happening in marketing around the world and seeing for yourself how marketing is executed in each different country, how do you understand marketing or push boundaries? How can you truly be exposed to enough different marketing perspectives to ensure that your marketing is a cut above the rest? This is only my perspective of course and I appreciate everyone's thoughts.

Note: The picture attached to this story is in Amsterdam and is of a interior architectural design firm. What did I learn from this company? To push boundaries, think outside the square, use design in ways I never imagined possible, create space, give your team room to be creative and MORE. It was inspiring beyond belief.

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comments ( 4 )
  • my video
    my video
    30 May 2014

    As soon as I detected this website I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

  • Will Bowman
    Will Bowman
    13 Mar 2013

    Marketing is a game that is constantly changing, making a flexible employee very desirable. The meteoric rise of social media is just an example of how marketing employees must constantly adapt to the environment around them, or risk losing touch with competitors. I do agree about the need for recent travel - marketing is not an insular business and must be viewed from a global perspective. It is so important to understand what is happening beyond our shores and learn from those experiences

  • kristenjames
    16 Nov 2012

    very informative article..I agree with Alice that attitude is important while dealing with people. Almost every entrepreneurs need a consultant to get better advice or information regarding business

  • Alice Truong
    Alice Truong
    06 Nov 2012

    A very thoughtful article. I do think as a marketing consultant, you need to keep studying,learning and exploring the world, not just sitting at one place and quote expensive service.I have qualification and some experience in marketing but I still would be ashamed to give marketing advice for industry that I do not have any knowledge about. Also, I think attitude is very important when you deal with people. Will highly recommend this article to my friends and colleagues