All sorts of companies need marketing to grow and retain a profitable customer base. At some point, you may feel that you need the help of a professional marketing advisor to achieve the results you need.
Yet what is a marketing advisor, exactly? How do you find one and what kinds of skills, qualifications and experience should you be looking out for? This short guide will help.
What is a marketing advisor?
It might help to compare a marketing advisor to a financial advisor.
The latter helps people achieve their financial goals by optimising – and joining up – different aspects of their wealth and finances such as pensions, investments, protection and tax planning.
Similarly a marketing advisor helps another business achieve its marketing goals by going through its marketing objectives, strategy and tactics together. The aim is to make improvements to increase results, lower costs and ultimately deliver a higher return on marketing investment (ROMI).
A marketing advisor might refer to an individual consultant (e.g. like April Dunford) or a marketing agency/company such as ours here at MarketingAdviser. The type you may choose will depend on a range of factors.
Which type of marketing advisor should I choose?
Naturally, cost will likely play in a big role in your decision. Quite often an individual consultant will be cheaper than an agency (due to lower overheads), but this is not always the case. If he/she is very well known, in-demand and has a strong brand then this will usually come with a higher price tag.
Partly, the cost of a marketing advisor depends on the kind of work that they do. For instance, is their main service to visit individual companies and run day-long workshops with them? This could be ideal for a larger business with a higher budget.
Yet for startups which are typically more strapped for cash, it may be more appropriate to find a marketing advisor who operates on a “seminar” or “webinar” model. Here, you join other companies in attending an event – online or physical – where the consultant addresses the crowd on a specific topic which concerns all of you.
There might even be a Q&A session at the end of the session where you may have the chance to pose your own problem/query to the marketing advisor. The advantage to this kind of approach, of course, is that it can bring the cost down for each company attending – since the cost is spread across all of them (e.g. through ticket sales).
Of course, one other consideration you may wish to make is the marketing advisor’s specialisation. Does it matter to you, for instance, whether they have specific experience, skills and knowledge in your field (e.g. construction) or your stage of the business cycle (e.g. startups)? Here at MarketingAdviser, for instance, we focus our efforts on financial services.
The advantage of finding a specialist marketing advisor is that he/she/they are more likely to be familiar with the distinct marketing problems you are facing, and offer more effective solutions to address them.
This isn’t to say, of course, that a marketing advisor who focuses on Ecommerce can have nothing useful to say to a financial services firm. However, they may not pick up on some of the key areas that need to be taken into account in your sector – such as compliance, and the longer buying cycle of customers etc.
How do I find a marketing advisor that’s right for me?
As strange as this might sound, it isn’t always easy to find a suitable marketing advisor. This is partly because, in most countries, anyone can call themself a “marketing advisor” and so this can saturate the marketplace – making it hard to find the real deal.
Naturally, you’ll likely want to turn to search engines such as Google (likely how you found this article!) as well as social media networks like LinkedIn to start looking. You may also wish to seek recommendations from friends, family and other business owners.
Once you’ve built up an initial list of possible marketing advisors to approach, however, it will be wise to start whittling them down. Here are some criteria to consider using for refining your list:
- Specialisation. Do they appear to know about your specific sector/industry or business cycle stage?
- Certifications. Does the individual/company hold any qualifications which show that they have a strong grasp of marketing strategy or theory? For instance, here at MarketingAdviser many of our staff hold a range of certifications in Google Ads and Analytics. One of them also holds the Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing from CIM.
- Experience. How many years has the marketing advisor been in business and what kind of clients have they worked with in the past? Does this line up nicely with what you are looking for?
- Past results. What kind of performance improvements can the marketing advisor reasonably attribute to their past work with clients? For instance, if they are an SEO expert (search engine optimisation) then can they show any evidence of having dramatically improved the Google search positions of their clients’ websites?
- Practicing what they preach. Would you entrust a financial adviser with your money if their own business or personal life exhibited financial choas? Probably not! The same applies for people claiming to be a marketing advisor. Do they have a strong website if they position themselves as digital marketing experts? If they advertise themselves as social media gurus then what is their own Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn presence/activity like?
Interested in discussing your own financial services marketing campaign or strategy with us? Get in touch today to arrange a free, no-commitment consultation with our team today.