Marketing Consultant

What does a Marketing Consultant do?  Let’s start with a definition of each term: “Marketing is the process of identifying, anticipating and satisfying customers’ requirements profitably”

Chartered Institute of Marketing

“A Consultant is a ‘professional’ who provides professional or expert advice in a particular area“

Wikipedia

So a marketing consultant “provides expert advice about the process of marketing” and the Small Business Marketing Consultant provide his advice to small businesses.  But enough about us!  As the owner/manager of small business, you wear a lot of hats and don’t always have the luxury of choosing which one to put on.  Inevitably the short term takes priority and some of the more strategic tasks get delayed or worse.  Marketing is one of those longer term tasks – it’s about creating and implementing the system which brings your business a steady stream of leads (which Sales convert into orders which Operations then fulfil (if we were being formal)). At SMEsOnline, our definition is bit more practical and our approach can be ‘hands on’ (we’ll do it with you) or ‘hands off’ (we’ll show you what to do).  It’s about a systematic approach to
  • Identifying a group or groups of customers who have similar buying needs and buying behaviour (market segments)
  • Engaging with the group or groups of customers
  • Defining products and/or services to satisfy these needs
  • Creating competitive advantage by distinguishing your product or service
  • Communicating the availability and benefits of the product and services to the customers
In another words, the marketing consultant’s role is to help set up a system (a process, an approach as well as tools)  to bring you a stream of qualified leads for your business to convert into customers.  Online Marketing tools and techniques give you some powerful weapons in this battle, but unfortunately it also gives your competitors the same opportunity. Customers are inevitably more resistant as the torrent of messages grows and lead generation has to change.  The table below shows some of the key trends:
Trend Early Days Current
Advertising Generate Sales / Enhance Brand Creates Awareness of web presence
Search Engine Optimisation Web site ranking Web / Social Media Sites
Lead Generation Broadcast messages Positioning Your Business in the Right (online) Place, Right time
Lead Conversion Providing Information Providing Value
Referrals Word of Mouth Online too

Acknowledgements to “Duct Tape Marketing Revised and Updated”, John Jantsch

Summarising, it is no longer about quantity (of advertising or links or anything else) and it is now about trust building and giving to possibly receive (eventually).  The sales cycle is also longer and a typical customer will probably only contact a business once they have done quite a lot of research online.  Business to consumer marketing has changed more quickly, but these changes also apply in the B2B marketing world.  Either way, it is very important to put your business out there in cyberspace and give your customers the chance to find you before they make up their mind. The marketing consultant will guide you through the process of setting up your marketing system and providing advice about what works and how to achieve certain outcomes most cost effectively.  He/she will also coach you in using the marketing system and help you to define success and measure the results you achieve.