A lot of people don’t realize it until it’s too late. Then they hire the fixer.

If you’ve already started noticing one of the following symptoms in your business, you should reach out and drop a line.

It’s okay if you don’t know what the detailed solution should be to the following problem(s)–it’s not your job to figure that out. It’s the job of the consultant.

5 clear signs it’s time to bring in a consultant for help

1. Your admin assistant has threatened to walk out the door because he doesn’t want to handle all the social media feeds you’re throwing at him. But you insist you need Periscope for your business (even if you don’t really know what it is).

2. When someone asks, “Why should I choose your business?” you stumble and take almost two minutes to answer them…then you think of a better answer later…and then you forget it the next time the question comes up.

3. You have declared that you have no competitors, your product is amazing and infallible, and the market will only continue to expand–as well as your share of it. But you still have trouble sleeping at night.

4. Your sales have hit a weird quiet plateau or sales (from new or existing customers) have failed to grow at least 20% year over year.

5. You’re doing your marketing tasks on the weekends instead of having a life, or you fake “vacation” time to get a day to it.

Why hire a marketing consultant? (And what the f&*$ do they do?)

Marketing consultants are a cost-effective way to identify what is slowing your success. You can bring in a marketing consultant to handle a variety of challenges including developing strategic marketing plans, launching new products, setting up social media content campaigns, smoothing over a merger or acquisition, troubleshooting work processes, and marketing start-ups or new companies.

A marketing consultant either does the work FOR you in a “project scope,” or guides you and works WITH you while you and your team learn how to best market your business.

For example, Bright Planning works WITH our clients and makes step-by-step guides and training for them. We treat marketing and PR like a project manager rather than a hands-on marketer, helping everyone get on the same page and focused. Once we teach you everything and guide you weekly for a month or two, we get out of your way and stay in the wings if you need us.

BONUS TIME: Here are 4 clear benefits and differences of hiring a marketing consultant versus hiring a new marketing employee:

  1. WE HAVE LASER-SHARP SKILLS: (Spoiler alert: probably not using actual lasers.) When you hire a marketing consultant, you get to choose the exact skill set you need for a project for a set period of time. Marketing consultants show up, solve the problem in a timely fashion, and get out of your way. You may often receive the option to renew your contract for additional or continued work. If measurable goals are not met (a.k.a. The Rolling Stones dilemma–“I can’t get no satisfaction”), you are in control to end your agreement with your consultant and find a specialist who is better qualified.
  2. YOU SAVE A CHUNK OF DOUGH. A lot of businesses think they can simply hire an intern out of college to get free work done, but there are risks to this. [Stay tuned for an entire post on Internships and how to use them effectively in your business.] Consultants will financially fall on the line between the inexperienced freebie intern and the big $$ commitment of hiring a full-time employee. With a consultant, you only pay for the work you require, and you may be presented with options from this specialist to add on other projects or services if he or she determines it’s in the best interest of the company. You have the choice to say yes or no to these additions. You can even prioritize and space out consulting over the course of 6 months to a year, which is a very cost-effective approach to marketing your business.
  3. WE’RE LIKE THE AVENGERS, BUT WITHOUT THE LOKI DRAMA. In addition to years of real-world experience–whether in your industry or specializing in specific marketing and PR tools–your consultant has a team to back up him or her. What separates a shady consultant from a great consultant is his or her ability to recognize when help is necessary to make your business succeed. We check our egos at the door and lead with a responsibility to a triple bottom line: your revenue, your company’s well-being, and using ethical business practices. For example, if I analyze your website and realize your print collateral needs to be updated to match your new site branding, I’ll work with your chosen branding expert or bring in my own person to make sure it’s done right the first time. Or I may ask one of my European PR colleagues to help out with a global campaign. You may hire one person, but that consultant has a Rolodex of trusted experts that can jump in and help.
  4. WE ARE FIERCELY LOYAL…TO THE COMPANY’S SUCCESS. We choose our profession as a marketing consultant because ultimately, our job is defined by one thing: help the company market itself and grow. If we’re not doing our job, we don’t belong here. There’s no other incentive for us but to get you positive results. We get in, we work hard, we get out. This means you won’t have to negotiate benefits, think about termination packages, shell out recruiting fees, or worry about us being swayed by office politics or board votes.