How A Marketing Consulting Agency Works
You’ve done it! Decided to hire a marketing consulting agency. It isn’t an easy decision, we understand that. First of all, in hiring a consultant or agency you’ve decided that you need help. That’s a great first step. Second, it says you admit that you don’t know everything which is great! Third, by having an outsider’s eye involved with your business, you know that we are not attached to anything in your corporate culture or history.
As employees or owners of a company it’s easy to become “precious” about things like branding, messaging, or certain aspects of communications. A firm like ours enables you to get outside of yourself which is important for developing a creative concept.
There are a lot of different ways to look at a business. From the marketing angle, we look at the disciplines which are governed by marketing.
Those disciplines are:
One level of analysis is by discipline. We will assess how each of these disciplines are being practiced and what results can be linked back to their operation. From there we tend to operate on a “middle-out” approach which means we dive into your business from one point – say your website. Once we are looking at that one element we quickly find places to improve the big picture. In addition we dive deeply into the technical aspects of that one component (your website in this example) to improve. It is the fastest way to analyze a company and how to provide creative marketing services.
Other approaches include a purely “top-down” mentality which is how a lot of financially-based consulting firms (like KPMG, Deloitte, etc) operate. Another method is (you guessed it) “bottom-up” analysis. Bottom-up is a great approach for internal plans as it depends on information from within your organization already.
Scope Outline + Delivery Time = Budget Estimate
In other words, the more stuff you want in the shorter a period of time the more expensive it will be. It is the same in almost any trade. We can deliver a new brand, website, strategy, and launch social media campaigns in 2 weeks…but it costs a tremendous amount of money to do all of that on a truncated time frame. By the same token, it’s very important that clients plan to work with a marketing consulting agency in a reasonable amount of time.
In-House vs. Out-House
If you come to a firm like ours where we (currently) have (2) full-time employees you’re going to get whatever skill-set we have + vendors that handle more fundamental or commodity tasks like website development. In our firm we are a copywriter, designer, and creative direction duo. Almost all of our services are done “in-house.” The things we do outsource are nominal or not a high cost item unless we’re talking about physical products like promotional items, print, or advertising media.
When you are breaking down the costs of our products and services keep this in mind. Just like you have costs associated with your business, so do we. Also, just like you want to make a profit – so do we.
However, when you’re considering hiring us you should think more about the value you’re getting in exchange. If you pay us $X and you receive exponential value from the transaction that’s most important. While it’s not a problem to itemize our quotations or break down budgets with some level of transparency, the most important factor is trust.
What Does “Consulting” Really Mean? …is that a dumb question?
NO! Of course it’s not a dumb question. Consulting can be a vague profession. It’s kept that way by many consultants who believe that they perform some kind of magic trick on their clients. The reality is that consulting is very simple: conversations, time thinking, and restrictive access to that service. What do I mean by that? Basically a consultant provides you advice, listens to your problems, thinks about your company on their own time, talks about your company to others in strategic ways, and in some cases they will exclusively do that for you and not your competitors.
Consulting is often quantified in reports. Written accounts of the service provided and the results that occur as a result. In the world of marketing this is increasingly dependent on digital reporting of engagement statistics. However, the best measure of a successful consultation is (drum roll please)…
MONEY IN THE BANK.
Measuring ROI For A Marketing Consulting Agency
In an ideal world your marketing agency would have connections in your industry. That way they can serve what we call “private relations” purposes. This kind of “PR” is all about business development that can result in stronger vendor><client relationships or sales. A lot of our clients are in business-to-business positions where their sales cycle can be 3 – 12 months (or more). When hiring us for our services, we take into account what kind of value we present over the course of at least 1 sales cycle.
At the end of the day even esoteric aspects of marketing like “brand awareness” or “consumer loyalty” need to be quantified. We view your marketing budget as an investment in the future. Whether we are staving off competitors or expanding market share, your bottom line is our #1 priority.
Fun Factor With Your Marketing Consulting Agency
Not everything can be measured in dollars, cents, or clicks. FUN is intangible. Enjoying who you work with, what you do, and what you get – that’s important. It may not be more important than money to you dear reader. Even if that’s the case, if you can choose to make the same amount of money and enjoy it vs. hate it which would you choose? Obviously…
We work hard to constantly improve and deliver more value than we get contracted for. At the same time we love what we do and our passion is infectious. People regularly tell us (or agree after being coaxed a little) that we are the best part of their day and that’s done on purpose.
To us customer service extends beyond the delivery under deadlines.