For centuries, storytelling has been an integral part of sharing experiences, teaching, learning about history and executing a type of message. Converging with a story is the foundation of connecting with others. It is unsurprising how successful stories can create a memorable impact and help share key messages which is why many businesses couple marketing and storytelling.
Marketing consultants vary from one to another, just like any other profession, however there is a cadence that all marketing consultants should follow.
Formally, I’ve been a marketing consultant for 21 years working in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, New York and Atlanta. During that time, I have had the opportunity to not only consult to hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses but also Fortune 100 companies, and surprisingly there is a lot of similarities.
What can you expect from a competent marketing consultant:
Ability to create a marketing strategy aligned to your business goals
If a marketing consultant is coming into your business and their only discussion is one or two areas of marketing, you must consider that perhaps they don’t have enough experience in marketing to understand that an omnichannel approach is the only way to build a sustainable marketing strategy.
A strong marketing consultant would have at least 10 years’ experience in marketing with successes and failures under their belt.
Whether they do marketing strategies the old fashion way or they use Robotic Marketer, it is important that they understand all the different facets of the marketing mix, and how they relate to connecting your brand with your audience.
Branding is a strength
Many marketing consultants fail to truly understand the value of brand leaving this side of the “business” to their advertising counterparts. To do marketing, you really need to understand the company’s brand; personality, values, voice, attributes, benefits and so on.
Branding is very important to differentiating your company from your competitors. At Marketing Eye, we focus on being an outsourced marketing department. Our brand personality is professional, inquisitive, forward thinking and reliable. Our voice is authoritive, knowledgeable, visionary and global.
To understand your brand is important to how you communicate your value proposition and connect with your audience.
A marketing consultant needs to know how to strengthen your brand in the market and ensure that you are consistent with all brand messaging and placement.
Reaching your customers and prospects is hard when you are doing it manually. By automating this process you will be able to reach more customers, more often with less effort in a way that they want to be communicated with. Having the right technology suite is imperative and ensuring that it is integrated, providing you with the right data to feed your sales team, will change your outcomes.
Always start with:
CRM: We use Salesforce but there are many CRM tools that are effective. Salesforce is the most commonly utilised CRM tool in the world, but not necessarily the best. It’s a bit old fashion in many ways and clunky, so find one that is easy for you to use. Other suggested CRM technologies include Insightly, ZohoCRM, SAP CRM, Oracle Sales Cloud (SMB), Netsuite CRM, Base CRM, Hubspot.
Email marketing platform: We use Mailchimp, Constant Contact and FutureMail, however there may be email marketing platforms that are integrated into your CRM or Marketing Automation software that is more effective for your business.
Scheduling Tools: We schedule all social media through Hootsuite and Buffer. Most scheduling tools do the same thing and are usually free to use.
Google Analytics: Key to understanding the traffic on your website and how to improve your search engine optimisation, Google Analytics is very important to any company with a website. If your marketing consultant cannot read Google Analytics, then fire them fast!
SEO Tools: There are so many to use with our preferred SEO Tool deriving from Robotic Marketer technology, but others that are awesome include SEMrush, SpyFu, Screaming Frog, MOZ, Yoast and Alexa.
For the past 16 years, Christina Kortesis has been a marketing consultant with Marketing Eye Melbourne. She epitomizes the way marketing consultants should interact with their clients.
Each week Christina contacts or meets with her clients and talks through the marketing activities for that week, analytics and deliverables. It gives the marketing consultant an opportunity to discuss freely all marketing activities and how they align to the company’s business plan. It also gives the client an ability to update the marketing consultant on the business and how the marketing efforts are affecting sales.
Reporting on marketing activities with analytics is essential to any marketing campaign. Marketing Eye’s marketing consultants use our own in-house data analytics program as well as Google Analytics and Alexa.
Sharing of ideas and campaigns
Just because someone else did it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it too! Part of Marketing Eye’s process is to constantly encourage marketers to keep up-to-date with the latest marketing campaigns. Sharing successful campaigns undertaken by other agencies inspires ideas.
Clients are everything. Without them, marketing consultants don’t have a job. Ensuring that the door is always open for feedback is essential to creating great relationships but also better marketing results.
Being a marketing consultant means that you have accomplished enough to be able to provide expert advice to your clients. You also know what tools you have access to that enables a better outcome.
It is no question that the complexity of today’s marketplace requires innovation. No more can we rely on the same ideas that have given us success in the past. Research suggests that 80% of people believe harnessing creativity would generate economic growth; while only 25% of those feel they are actually living up to their creative potential.
He's been with Marketing Eye for 4 months.
I work in Marketing Eye's Sydney office - every day, as does he. In fact, he and I sit no more than one meter apart but this close proximity evidently has no bearing on our track record of communication. Sure, we talk all the time about visual communication and client work and then there’s the phone that rings 50 times a day and it's a really busy time for Marketing Eye at the moment as we all step up to bring everything we can - but 3 actual conversations in 4 months?! That's appalling. In fact, I'd go one step further than that and say it's *beep* disgusting.
That age old battle - the ego vs the heart - is more relevant now than ever to us marketeers and anyone directly involved in business development. It dictates how you speak to the people you need to be speaking to; how you capture their attention and it applies to every communication you put out there – online, direct mail, posters, brochures, social media.
The thing is though, with everyone communicating to everyone else - shouting, pitching and bargaining for a share of the market - it can be hard, defeating and infuriating for those of us running ethical business operations to compete with ‘get rich quick’ and ‘lose 7kg in 7 days’.
Have you had a great conversation with a potential customer, been really optimistic about getting them on board, and then never heard from them again? Maybe that conversation wasn’t as great as you had thought? Impossible! You know your product inside and out, you answered every question they had. As hard as it may be for you to identify, there may be something small in the way you are speaking with these customers that is putting them off coming back.
Being a statistic for failure isn’t much fun-let’s face it. I don’t like the idea, and I bet you aren’t too keen on it either. And when it come to small business, or any business or cause for that matter it is best to avoid it like the plague. This leads me to wonder why so many businesses out there do not invest in a solid online marketing strategy of an effective website.
Put simply- no business will survive without a good website. However, what is most surprising to me is not how bad some websites actually are but in fact how easily these website short comings or problems can be fixed.
Having had a browse around various small business websites recently it occurred to me the magic a good website can do for a small business.