Finding a marketing consultant for your company isn't as easy as snapping your fingers. Fortunately, you can find one whose services match your company's marketing needs and budget by following these 12 steps.
1. Consider what your company needs out of a marketing consultant
Before you can find a consultant to suit your company's needs, you must figure out what those needs are. Create a list of marketing goals you want to accomplish by working with a consultant. This will be your primary point of reference throughout the search.
2. Ask for referrals
One of the best ways to start building a list of potential consultants is through referrals from business partners.
3. See who is talking online
Although you should use referrals, this is not where you should stop with your search. Top marketing consultants will be constantly exuding their knowledge and industry leadership through helpful blog posts, whitepapers, etc.
4. Consider the cost last
Although a marketing consultant's services are temporary, they are a long-term investment for your company. Don't be cheap and hire the least expensive one you can find. Instead, consider cost after you have found a list of consultants who can meet your needs.
5. Compare capabilities
What can a consultant do for you? Look at the capabilities they are offering and compare that against your needs. If, for example, you need help with social media marketing and a particular consultant does not offer services in this area, then you should cross them off of your list.
6. Check the reviews and testimonials
If nobody received any viable business benefits from working with a consultant, then you shouldn't work with them. Search for client reviews that will give you insight into a typical experience with the consultant. This may require you to contact clients directly.
7. Ask for references -- and check them
What have the most recent client experiences with a marketing consultant been like? This is difficult to figure out when auditing client reviews, because there is no timeline for when they worked together. Contact the consultant directly and ask them for client references.
8. Check out the marketing consultant's previous clients
Who has the marketing consultant worked with? You should look for consultants who have diverse experience working with organizations of many sizes and industries. This is because this experience allows them to be adaptable enough to adjust their approach to any business' marketing needs, including yours.
9. Consider how they market themselves
Marketing consultants should be good at marketing right? Look at every potential consultant's personal marketing campaigns and consider whether or not they are generating the kind of results you'd want for yourself.
10. Make sure that the consultant will be available
If you find the perfect consultant for your needs, but they are never available to help you, then they aren't so perfect. A good indicator is usually your initial meeting -- if they force you to wait weeks just for an introductory meeting, then it probably isn't worth it.
11. Interview your shortlist
What will it be like working with a consultant? To figure this out, sit down with consultants who made the final cut and discuss your company's goals. Pay attention to their listening skills, responses and ideas.
12. Close the deal
Once you have your list of consultants narrowed down to one, it is time to close the deal. Make sure that the agreement you sign works for you.
Taking the time to go through these steps will eliminate the chance of you having to start this process over if things don’t work out with the consultant you choose. After following these steps, you should be able to feel confident in your choice, and focus on the goals you are set out to accomplish.