Five certain signs you need a marketing consultant

In this piece, we look at the benefits a marketing consultant can bring to your small business.

When it comes to marketing, business owners and entrepreneurs are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of prevailing trends and statistics that they have access to. Not only this, but many of these figures can be contradictory, as while some reinforce the importance of traditional techniques others claim that brands now spend an estimated 60 per cent of their time on digital marketing strategies.

So what is the result of this? Essentially, this creates a mind-set that underestimates the importance of marketing in the modern age, which in turn encourages business-owners to either invest their capital elsewhere or pay mere lip service to the notion of promoting their brand. Both of these approaches are potentially harmful, particularly when it comes to the cultivation of a loyal and sustainable customer base.

For businesses that invest minimally in marketing and fail to develop a viable strategy, the need to refine these efforts will become increasingly pressing over time. Not only this, but this need will also manifest itself in a number of clear signs, each of which should encourage you to seek out the services of a professional marketing consultant at your earliest convenience!

These include: –

1. The lack of a mission statement and clearly defined direction

As you would expect, a minimalist or disorganised approach to marketing will manifest itself in a lack of direction or an inability to implement your long-term vision. This may be a fundamental flaw with your business plan as a whole, but when it comes to marketing such cluttered thinking can be extremely damaging.

In any business, there are strategic and non-strategic considerations that contribute to the success or failure of a venture. While non-strategic considerations include day-to-day operational measures and are usually delegated to mid-level managers, strategic concerns relate to your business’s unique vision and the execution of its long-term goals.

Make no mistake; marketing is a strategic business element, and one that will benefit from significant investment and the actualisation of a clearly-defined vision. Without this, your marketing efforts will continue to be ineffective, particularly in terms of cultivating brand loyalty and retaining customers.

To resolve this, a marketing consultant will work alongside you to ensure that your business is governed by a concise mission statement, which can translate even the most complex visions into manageable soundbites. This statement can then be applied to practical business activities and provide you with a significant marketing direction, particularly in terms of the tone that you use to engage customers.

2. The lack of a target audience

Similarly, the need for a skilled marketing consultant will often become apparent when you begin to determine key customer demographics. More specifically, if you do not have access to defined customer profiles and lack any great insight into the nature of your target audience, you will need to rectify this issue as quickly as possible.

In simple, business terms, you cannot hope to effectively sell a product or service without first identifying a target audience that has a proven need for your offerings.

So how will a marketing expert help to resolve this? Firstly, they will strive to understand your products in a bid to determine their pricing, unique selling points and value proposition. This information can then be used to target relevant consumer segments, based on carefully acquired data and clearly identified behaviours. Over time, this will translate into superior sales conversion rates, while delivering an enhanced ROI on your marketing investment.

3. The deployment of a scattergun marketing approach

When you do commission a marketing campaign, what term could be used to describe it? Is it cohesive and seamless across multiple channels, or do you simply adopt a scattergun approach that relies on mixed or incomplete messaging, uninspiring visuals and volatile pricing?

If your answer is the latter, you are in desperate need of a marketing expert. The main reason for this is the fact that a scattergun approach dilutes the value and the position of your brand, while also causing an emotional disconnect with customers. For those whose sole marketing tactic is to offer huge and variable discounts, there is also the risk of undermining the value proposition of your products and even creating resentment among consumers. (This is especially true when you consider resources such as camelcamelcamel.com, which chart the price history of products on Amazon).

A marketing expert will help your business to negate this potential minefield, primarily be creating an overarching strategy that drives consistency across all disciplines and channels. One example of this would be the adherence to a carefully defined pricing strategy, while another is the development of primary, secondary and tertiary messaging for your carefully selected marketing media.

4. The lack of tracking and the failure to capture your ROI

We have already touched on the prevalence of information relating to marketing trends, but it is fair to say that some of these data sets have genuine merit. Take the increased use of marketing metrics to measure the ROI and impact of specific campaigns, for example, which is a staple for progressive brands in 2016.

If you are failing to track the impact of your campaigns and record your precise ROI, the time has come to seek out professional assistance. Not only will this inform your decision regarding future marketing spends and activity, but it also enables you to identify the most influential and effective metrics in the modern age. This ensures the accuracy of your results, particularly in terms of how best to reach your audience and determining the most profitable channels.

This is particularly useful when investing in digital marketing, as you can measure everything from the effectiveness of your communication to the impact that you have across individual social platforms. A marketing consultant will help you to connect these dots, and make your business more profitable as a result.

5. The lack of marketing specialists

Previously, we discussed the idea of paying lip service to marketing, and this is often reflected by the teams and employees used to drive campaigns. There are a great number of firms that do not have a standalone marketing department, for example, while there are others who ask designers and sales staff to multitask rather than employing advertising or digital specialists.

Either way, the failure to employ staff members with marketing skills or suitable experience will impact negatively on the quality of your campaigns, and more specifically their capacity to effectively target and engage customers.

This applies to every stage of the marketing process too, from the techniques used to gather pertinent data to the translation of creative ideas into commercially viable messaging. Fortunately, a marketing consultant can help at every stage of this process, by bringing the kind of refined and relevant skill-set that drives superior decision making.

It is also worth noting that these experts have incredible levels of passion for marketing, making them ideally placed to generate enthusiasm and create truly impactful campaigns that resonate with customers.

In conclusion

So, is your business showcasing any of these signs? We hope not, of course, but if so now may be the ideal team to reach out to a reputable marketing consultant. Otherwise, there is a genuine risk that you will lose ground to your rivals and struggle to reach your intended sales and profit goals over time.

See also: Overcoming the marketing challenges in an early-stage business

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