Your sales team isn’t going to sell anything if they don’t have the right tools to do so. Marketing strategy is foundational to the long-term success of any business or company. A marketing strategy consultant can help your business create a marketing plan that will get you there.
Why Hire a Marketing Strategy Consultant?
Part of good consulting is to develop a strategy that will take into consideration:
Who is my customer (see Canvas – 9 Building Blocks)?
What are my customer’s pain points (see Canvas – 9 Building Blocks)?
What are the most effective customer acquisition channels? (see Canvas – 9 Building Blocks)?
How can we further relationships with out clients? (see Canvas – 9 Building Blocks)?
What key resources do we have on tap? (see Canvas – 9 Building Blocks)?
A marketing strategy consultant or a Fractional CMO will use that information to determine a marketing strategy that will work best for your business. That marketing strategy is the roadmap for tactical execution. That is to say, how will you implement and deploy the strategy?
Sometimes businesses and entrepreneurs hire a consultant to help create this marketing plan. The consultant may also assist the company in the execution of the strategy, depending upon the terms of the consulting contract.
Strategy is great, but your business has to actually implement the strategy to make progress. So before your company hires a marketing strategy consultant, make sure to understand the Scope Of Work and the consultant’s areas of expertise. As an example, are their skills best suited for marketing sales, brand, digital, data and/or holistic strategy? If they are not going to perform each step of the implementation, what additional resources might you need?
Fractional CMO vs. Marketing Strategy Consultant
Bear in mind, there are typically some differences between a strategic marketing consultant and a Fractional CMO. If you have a small or medium size business and you need an overarching marketing strategy or a holistic approach, a marketing strategy consultant may be just the thing.
At a larger business or companies, a marketing strategy consultant will likely be hired to fix a specific problem. Consultants might be hired to strategize a company’s digital media outreach exclusively. Consultants might be hired to strategize the upcoming annual holiday season PPC campaign that didn’t do so well last year. Perhaps a business wants to focus part of a campaign on a specific set of services. In each of those cases, the role of the consultant will be focused on those specific problems and the strategies needed to solve them.
A Fractional CMO can provide all those services and more. Besides the creation of the strategy, they are typically much more involved with ensuring the plan is executed successfully. Each team member knows their clearly defined role, milestones and deadlines. The devil is in the details.
Regardless of who you choose to hire, it might make sense to lean more favorably towards candidates with previous experience in your niche industry. Are you e-commerce? Do you have a marketplace business? Do you have a software as a service product? Is it a service based business? Each industry, market and niche has its own unique challenges. Your strategy should be as unique as your business.
Team & Resource Planning
A marketing strategy consultant can outline a plan for the deployment of the marketing strategy they provide. This may include new hires, a different set of outsourced vendors and some new agency relationships. They might also brainstorm how to better stretch the existing resources of a business. This will help shift your business into high revenue mode without wasting time.
Part of that consulting process includes analyzing the customer journey and looking for places to optimize conversion rates (micro conversions). They can also help a client determine the proper place in the funnel to ascend the relationship (upsell). How can you create ongoing referral loops? How can you further delight the customer after service has been delivered?
Marketing Agency vs. Independent Consultant
I think it goes without saying, if you find the right independent consultant, you’ll get a lot more value for the money compared to a consulting firm or a marketing agency. There are some legitimate reasons why.
A marketing strategy agency has a lot of staff, like a big hungry machine that has to be fed. Forces within that machine will direct your strategy towards answers that happen to feed the big hungry machine. That means utilizing in-house resources they already know they have, for which they can bill hourly. Independent consultants have an opportunity to be a bit more strategy and channel agnostic and do what’s best for the client. They don’t have 6 departments of overhead waiting for work.
Understandably, marketing agencies also typically want to stay in their comfort zone. So companies that tend to do more SEO will probably tell you SEO is the answer. Companies that have a track record of advising clients to do PPC will probably tell you you need to do PPC. If you use a big agency that has a stellar track record in every channel of marketing known to man, you’re gonna be paying for the overhead of a lot of resources your company doesn’t need.
Which brings us back to independent consultants.
The right team
Rather than solutions that serve the financial needs of your consulting firm, independent consultants focus making your business an even bigger success! Hiring an outside marketing strategy consultant will give you fresh and unbiased insight. Why? Independent consultants are not going to be influenced by external relationships from big money partners (like agencies have). They are not going to be influenced by the internal relationships and agendas of 6 departments of overhead. It’s better to find the right team to execute the strategy than to force a strategy on the a team with the wrong skills. Get the strategy right first, then choose the team players. Don’t choose the team players based on what you happen to have already in-house.
It’s been a growing trend that the campaigns developed by an agency are the intellectual property of the agency, not the business for whom it was developed. Any concepts or methods you develop collaboratively with that agency might even be used with other clients of the agency. They may be willing to sign favorable agreements on intellectual property and non-competes. Maybe. But you definitely need to check into it. Obviously, this is not such a problem with independent consultants.
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Is Strategy or Execution More Important?
According to this article in Entrepreneur, there’s certainly some debate as to whether strategy or execution is more important. It’s our opinion that the strategy is more important. If you’re trying to do all the wrong things, it doesn’t matter how well you do them. You’re doing all the wrong things! There’s certainly grounds for saying the opposite is also true, but I think the shortcomings of most businesses tends to be on the side of strategy, not execution.
Marketing strategy is what determines the overall direction of your business and the path it will take to get there. Your marketing strategy determines your customer segments, your acquisition channels, your value proposition and your customer relationships. It starts with customer-centric questions. It starts with making something people want.
A good marketing strategy consultant will know the top marketing initiatives to implement for your business. Each element will be critical to building momentum for your flywheel. That’s part of building a growth engine. Without a clear strategy that pulls it all together your marketing team is performing what’s called “random acts of marketing.”
For example, a company could run a Google search ad with a high intent keyword like “best” to catch people toward the bottom of the funnel. Based on which clients click on your ad, you could use Facebook’s remarketing capabilities, assuming you’ve installed Facebook pixel on your website. Even LinkedIn provides remarketing campaigns and customized “look-alike” audiences.
Each of these separate examples could be used in harmony to drive high intent customers to your website to drive revenue. This concept works for B2B as well as B2C.
As another B2C example, a company could use YouTube’s True View video ad option. This campaign option was recently released in April 2022, allowing for a more prominent Call To Action button, designed for customers with high purchase intent to your website. Most people don’t realize that YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world.
Having a marketing strategy deeply connected to the pain points of your customers as they move through a multi-channel marketing funnel is critical. Thanks to the Internet and digital marketing, clients could enter the funnel at any point. It’s important to quickly assess the lead temperature and adjust the conversation accordingly. How are you nurturing the relationship through each phase? A marketing strategy consultant will help you answer those questions and unlock your growth engine.
KPIs and Metrics
Lastly, a marketing strategy consultant will put together strategy that will identify the right key performance indicators (KPIs). We all know “what gets measured gets managed,” but what if you’re measuring the wrong things? One of the proven tips for creating a better strategy is to correctly define what needs to be measured. This gets right back to my argument that strategy is more important than execution. Data driven, scalable growth through a nearly automated inbound sales process. That’s what a business is after!
If you’re considering hiring a marketing strategy consultant, first be clear about your time horizon. How long before you expect a first draft of your holistic marketing strategy? 30 days? 45 days?
Understand that your participation in the development process is mission critical. Understanding how your company defines a successful winning strategy will go a long way toward creating one. Your marketing strategy consultant will need to know what your main customer acquisition channels are now. What is working? What is not and why not? What are the sales and marketing Objectives and Key Results (OKR) you’d like to see happen in the next six months? Are you trying to prepare to exit? Acquire? What is your in-house marketing capacity?
Access to these answers will drive your consultant’s ability to create a winning marketing strategy for your company. Your marketing strategy consultant will use it as an action plan for finding your growth engine. Part of that exploration process may include:
Total Available Market (TAM) research
Reassessed customer segmentation
Marketing team evaluation
Marketing campaign evaluation
Content calendar organization
Automation opportunity assessment
Depending upon your contract, a marketing strategy consultant may just provide marketing strategy…or they may help you find and hire new employees, vendors and teammates. As we mentioned before, just be clear on the Scope Of Work since a marketing strategy consultant typically performs a more specific, smaller scope of work than a Fractional CMO. Some businesses need a broader set of skills and services than some marketers can provide. For example, if your company is looking to break into a new industry to gain new clients, you might want to look into business development.
So, can a marketing strategy consultant create your growth engine? Indeed they could, just remember they are typically more focused on a smaller scope, shorter term project than a Fractional CMO. While that Scope Of Work might be a holistic marketing strategy for a small business, it is usually for larger businesses looking for a fast solution to a specific problem.
For ambitious business leaders who crave growth, GROKKETSHIP provides the launchpad resources you need to break through plateaus and move past bottlenecks. First check out our blog and all our free resources. If the blog doesn’t have the answers and examples you need, and you think your business is interested in hiring a marketing strategy consultant, contact us today via email or book a call to learn more.
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