Hello and welcome to How To Do Marketing Snacktime, it’s time for a little marketing snack.
A question I get asked a lot by small business owners is “how do I know when I need to actually get a marketing consultant? How do I know when I actually need to pay for a marketing consultant or start paying for marketing advice?”
I think this is a really good question because not every small business owner will need a marketing consultant, depending on where they are.
There are probably quite a few things that they are able to do themselves, or might be able to enlist the help of a website developer or a copywriter or someone who specialises in a tactic such as Facebook or Instagram, without actually going and investing in a strategic marketing consultant.
There are three main scenarios where I don’t think it’s necessary for you to invest in a marketing consultant.
The first is if you are happy with your business as it is, and when I’m talking about that, I mean, financially in terms of the number of people that work for you, in terms of the income that you’re earning, in terms of the profit margin that you’re attracting.
If you’re comfortable with where that is, and you really just need to maintain that, and there’s really not much that you’ve had to do in the past to do that, the point in time that you’ll probably need to think about getting a marketing consultant on board is perhaps when you decide to grow that business further, or if your market all of a sudden becomes a little bit competitive.
If you’re where you need to be at a financial level personally, in terms of your income and profit, you probably don’t need to invest in a marketing consultant.
Number two, you don’t need to bother with a marketing consultant if you’re not confident enough in your small business or your product or service, to be able to invest in yourself.
If you back yourself, and if you know that your business is going to be a success, but you just need to get it in front of the right people. Sure, go and grab that marketing consultant by the horns. But if you don’t, if you’re not confident, then don’t go out and get a marketing consultant because that won’t solve your problem.
The third probably relates a little bit to the first one. If you’re comfortable enough to say “I get word of mouth referrals, so I don’t really need to invest in marketing. All the business that comes my way is word of mouth, so I’m good, I’ve got it” and you’re happy with that and where your business gets to at that point, great. Keep it going that way.
Word of mouth is probably the biggest source of referral for any business, of any size, and at any stage.
It’s always the most effective form of marketing. Where you see variations in the amount of word of mouth is dependent on how spectacular your business is. If you are delivering a product or a service that people are fairly ambivalent about, you may get a dribble of word-of-mouth referrals. That’s fine if you’re happy with that level.
If you deliver an exceptional product, or if you really fit a gap where you’re solving a particular problem in the marketplace that nobody else is, and if you’re doing a spectacular job of that, you will see that word of mouth amplify.
Seth Goden is a huge advocate for just being super, super, super good at what you do, for the right amount of people, and for your right target audience. If you can get that equation right, then you will have word of mouth and will have people talking and remarking about your business.
Honestly though, I don’t see that happening a lot. If you can do it, great! There’s probably not a lot of a reason to invest in a huge amount of marketing.
First and foremost, of course you invest in a marketing consultant if you are serious about growth.
When you want to start getting your business in front of new people, and when you want to start understanding that now that I’ve got my existing group, my tribe, my customers, I’ve got the low hanging fruit. Now I need to actually take this to a whole new level.
That’s when you might start considering a marketing consultant, and particularly one that can actually develop a strategy that plugs into your business.
If you’re serious about growth, you won’t get a lot of success approaching marketing at a tactical level, or just going for one tactical provider here. Because even if you do just go and get your website attended to, that’s not going to be enough to actually drive serious growth.
That’s going to be part of it, but there’s going to be more parts that are involved to actually get your business to the stage of growth, particularly if you’re ambitious.
The second reason that you might get a marketing consultant is when you need a fresh set of eyes and a fresh perspective from a marketing point of view, when you need someone to actually review your positioning and your perception and your messaging.
What about your communication efficiencies?
A marketing consultant will be able to help advise on that.
I think one of the biggest things that we notice is, when we go in and advise at a strategic level, we’re able to be that fresh perspective and that fresh set of eyes that can be your customer advocate and say “hang on a second, I don’t understand what you’re saying here. You’re using a lot of jargon that I don’t understand. You’ve got to take me on the journey here. I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”
The third instance where you might need a marketer is if you are actually looking to diversify, if you’re looking to launch a new product or a new service, or perhaps your business is looking at changing direction and you actually need some strategically planned comms around how you’re going to do that and some real consideration into “well, this is the market that we service now, but we need to actually go and build up some visibility and awareness and engagement in this market over here”.
A marketing consultant is the person to help you there.
Another time when you might need a marketing consultant is if you are a business where you have a great pool of customers and you’ve got a level of financial stability that you’re happy with, but you want to increase that financial stability a little bit, and also make sure that you’re leveraging your existing customers by actually becoming more valuable or letting them see the value in you, as opposed to just buying what they’re buying now.
So, increase their spend with you, increase the frequency of transactions with you, or maybe it’s just actually getting your customers or your clients that have been with you for years to actually start remarking about you.
They stop talking about you because you’re part of the furniture these days, which is great. They love you, but we actually need to start giving them a bit of a shake and invigorating their love for you and actually getting them talking about you for great reasons.
Of course, there would be many other reasons, but they’re certainly the ones that I would navigate to first.