Marketing Experts from a Business Owner’s Point of View
There are a myriad of different marketing experts available to businesses today. A quick glance online will find every Tom, Dick and Harriet offering their services as a “marketing expert” or “consultant” and even traditional graphic design agencies now present themselves as “marketing solution agencies” such is the power and demand for this service and expertise. But often business owners (and I’m talking about myself here) are reluctant to hire external marketing experts. There’s often a believe that much of the skill base required can be found (or developed) in themselves, or internally within their organisation.
Personally I had the view for many years that “no one knew my business or customers as well as me” and “if I can grow a business form scratch I can certainly keep it growing”. However sadly, I was wrong.
Now I need to be clear at this stage that I have nothing to gain for banging the drum of any particular approach (whether you do this internally or engage the services of an external expert). This is simply an unbiased view based on what happened to my business when I hired an external marketing consultant.
As a business owner, director or manager there will always be a certain level of creativity, drive, and ambition that has been required in getting to where we are today. As a business owner myself these attributes can sometimes manifest themselves as a “can do” or ” anything is possible” attitude. These are strong (and essential) traits that are essential to success but they can also sometime generate a barrier to seeking external expertise for specific tasks.
Now let’s be honest. Anyone could spend time researching, developing and realising the best way to market their business. Successful marketing is not some dark art, or something that only a gifted few can bestow. Given time we could all become half decent marketeers and develop an effective campaign. But this is time spent not doing the actual things that make the business money. It’s time that we should be spending focusing on the core of our businesses and spending it on marketing would pull us away from the many of the day to day essentials.
So hiring an external marketing expert is worth considering. Its something that we have done successfully over the past year and we have seen significant benefits and our business has grown as a direct result.
Finding & Hiring External Consultants
We’ve learned a lot about the process of finding and hiring external marketing consultants so here’s a summary of what has worked for us:
Marketing experts come in many forms but the majority focus currently on digital marketing rather than traditional media.
Digital marketing experts can be useful to help you plan and deliver a google PPC campaign, increase natural traffic to your website (SEO), make your website a better user experience, identify new opportunities and a whole host of other areas.
Now not all digital marketing experts are created equal and many will specialise in one or two of these services. Some will also specialise in specific sectors. It’s also worth mentioning that some will specialise in billing you way too much so by all means don’t get into bed with the first one you come across.
The key is to shop around and talk to lots of people before making a decision.
You’ll probably have an inbox that’s constantly bombarded with emails from companies and individuals promising you the world if you pay them for their marketing advice so selecting the right person or organisation for you can be a challenge.
Here’s a few other things that you should keep in mind:
Decide exactly what you want to achieve
Having a goal or firm idea of what you want your forthcoming marketing activity to do is critical to finding the right person to help you achieve that goal.
Again, as a business owner I’m impatient, I want to drive things forward and push projects into realisation pas viagra. But allowing time to do your research is key.
Talk to lots of marketing experts
This will give you a feel for who you think can understand you and your clients. Have a look at their track record but also allow yourself to be guided by your gut a little. You will need someone who you can work with so understanding and empathy is pretty important.
Don’t be scared it’ll cost £000s
We have marketing consultants who work for us on a short term basis for fees in the low £100s. Many marketing consultants can negotiate individual packages to suit you so don’t be put of by thinking that you’ll need to spend truckloads just to get anywhere.
Be open to new ideas
The worst thing you could do was pay an expert for insight and advice only to ignore it all because it’s suggesting something that’s new or untried for your business. Trust in their research and expertise
Hiring a digital marketing expert was one of the better moves I’ve made in my 16 years of running a business and allows me to focus on the core whilst still driving the brand out to new customers and opportunities in ways that are innovative and accurate.
So there you are, take it or leave it. As mentioned I’m not here to sell you anything. I’m simply sharing our experience in the hope that it may be useful in driving your own business forward.