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Tuesday
Nov232010

Don’t Worry… Be Happy… Hire a Consultant!

Scratch any company in the US today and you’ll find several if not droves of consultants at work. You’ll discover specialized consultants that arrive en masse from a single company all the way to an individual consultant that may appear once to get the assignment and arrive to deliver the final product several weeks or months later. Generally, consultants, in one form or another offer several key benefits that have made them almost indispensable in today’s business world.

Consultants are most always hired to fill a void of time, of available resources or expertise or skills. They may also be hired for contentious projects when an impartial third party is critical to getting the project moving with the least amount of corporate discord. They may be hired for sensitive projects where secrecy is be critical, for instance, the disbanding of a business line or the closing of a division or plant.

While some companies are very good at what they do, a specialized consultant will be hired to lend a special talent. For instance, consultants versed in Six Sigma Quality Process can offer a time-proven feature that would otherwise take months or years to perfect. Consultants with expertise in a specific topic often arrive with credentials as well as former clients to attest to this expertise and this offers credibility to recommendations that perhaps an internal department or team could not.

In the case of marketing and/or advertising, consultants are often brought in to review, suggest, implement, review, and finally depart:

Defining the Problem

Consultants will generally start by meeting with you and your team to review your expectations. Working collaboratively they’ll set goals and timelines to provide the results you seek. Most of the details will be vetted to insure that you receive the final product you seek and that your business is better off than before.

Measure/Assess

Marketing and advertising consultants may be called in to determine whether your marketing/advertising is working. They’ll look at your creative, the media buy-- are you spending judiciously and in the right channels? Is creative reflective of what your company offers? Is there a channel that you are not using optimally? These are all questions that a consultant can answer, offering a fresh perspective to “business as usual”. Or, your need may involve a more specific issue involved. Either way, the consultants bring their expertise in marketing and advertising and an “outside-in” perspective.

Propose/Implement

The third phase of a consultant’s work will involve a proposal of new work. This is where the consultant offers solutions to the problem(s) your business is experiencing and where the solution is custom-fitted to your business characteristics. The consultants may call in the expertise of yet others in the business so that the final proposal meets all of your needs and is almost guaranteed to make a growth impact.

Control

Lastly, a good marketing/advertising consultant will monitor the success of their proposal and determine whether there is a need for additional tweaks. This is where the consultant exhibits their commitment to what has been proposed.

Consultants can be invaluable to a company’s future. In order to make the most of your consultant, you should be prepared to be honest and open about your company and available with your time, resources, and information. The good thing about inviting a consultant in is that you’ll receive a world of information, expertise, manpower, objectivity, and skills. The best thing about inviting a consultant is that they eventually leave (and you can take the credit)!

(C) Alder & Associates - Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations