Selecting the right consultant is important for your marketing plan. Here 3 important criteria to consider.
Consider Your Budget
Many entrepreneurs are unemployed or underemployed, and have lots of time but very little money. In that case, you must be judicious about the level of service you will need from a consultant. This is an excellent use of your hard-earned money and will always be a good investment as long as you choose a professional who understands your business. Keep in mind that good consultants are in high demand and charge accordingly. It is far better to budget for the planning phase and only hire someone good when you can pay their fees, rather than hire someone who doesn’t know what they are doing and waste your money. On the other hand, if you are fully employed, or have significant funds, you may be in the enviable situation of having more money than time. In this case, you should consider hiring a consultant to guide you through the business planning process, and maybe even write the entire business plan for you.
Ask for a Demonstration
When you ask this, you should get a firm “No.” Good strategic marketers won’t be able to share their past plans, due to confidentiality agreements. Suppose you commission a marketing plan, and your consultant really digs into the details of your business. They objectively examine your circumstances and challenges, and prescribes tactics to help you achieve your business goals. Would you want that plan placed into the hands of that consultant’s potential clients? Of course not. While a consultant shouldn’t be able to give you a plan, they should be quick with their list of references. Ask if they felt they received value. Make sure the plans were strategic, specific, measurable, and actionable.
If you see work from the candidate that impresses you, don’t be afraid to ask about the context behind it. Also, ask specifically about the KPIs you care about most, and how they’ve achieved them for past clients. Many marketers offer a free consultation in hopes of gaining your business. You can learn a lot during these sessions—a marketer’s grasp of your business, your chemistry together, and how the marketer responds to your specific needs.
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