Being a Marketing Consultant is like living every day in the Tom Cruise movie: "Live, Die, Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow". First, you get very good at seeing the problems coming and executing tactically, then you become better at strategy and cut through all the unnecessary steps to reach your goal of increasing revenue quickly.
Maybe it is just me, but I really think Marketing Consultants are a different breed. Having worked at the same company, Proxim, for five years and now at the opposite end of the spectrum, I often consult for three to six months at a time for tech companies, I notice a lot of differences in how I have to prioritize and communicate with clients.
There are pluses and minuses for being a marketing consultant from the employee's point of view. As consultants we get paid more per hour, work less hours, and don't have to deal with office politics. We care about one thing and one thing only, increasing revenue for clients quickly. To do that, we have to sharpen our skills on our own dime and time. We get paid for results and we get asked back only when we produce them. Below I break it down for you in greater detail.
Here is the Truth about Marketing Consultants:
1) Marketing Consultants are a great value
Yes you pay more per hour, but because we tend to just do the work and get it done quickly and because we have so much experience, we often end up being a much better value than full-time employees. No wasted time at the water cooler, paying for vacations, or holiday parties.
2) Marketing Consultants don't require emotional support
We aren't emotionally invested. We can take criticism. Frankly we don't even want to be that involved. We tend to have busy lives outside of work and that's why we do consulting, so we can work less hours and still take care of our kids or travel or whatever. The last thing we want to engage in is emotional drama at work.
3) Marketing Consultants take the time to know the latest tricks
We have to know a lot, or you wouldn't hire us. Sometimes you just need an extra pair of hands. We have spent the time and money between gigs sharpening the saw and tend to be some of the strongest talent out there. If we weren't, you wouldn't hire us.
4) Marketing Consultants pick up winning tips from our clients
We have tried different strategies and have seen a lot of different strategies win and lose, so we can propose a winner from the start; No mad experimenting or time wasted on losing strategies. We often work for the best and the brightest and pick up their tricks along the way.
5) Marketing Consultants aren't afraid to tell you when you are all wet
We don't plan on being around that long and we know if we want to be asked back we need to deliver strong results, so we aren't going to waste our one and only shot doing something we already know isn't going to work. We don't sugar coat it. We will do whatever you want, but we will give you an honest opinion about what we are seeing work and fail as well.
6) Marketing Consultants play to win, not grow our team
There is no upside for a marketing consultant to ever steer you in a direction that won't bring you more business. We are only there to make you win. No hidden agendas with Marketing Consultants. We aren't trying to grow our team, we are trying to increase revenue for you as quickly as possible.
7) Marketing Consultants are hired guns and we like it that way
We have other agendas in life, but we love to work, some of the time. We want to work off and on so we can travel around the world or have time to exercise AND take care of our kids. We love to take on new challenges. Whatever our reasons for not wanting to commit to an organization long-term, you can be sure we want you to win and we aren't after your job.
8) Marketing Consultants have no political agenda
Since we plan to leave, we don't waste a lot of time on office politics. Yes, we are happy and friendly every day, but we don't want to climb your corporate ladder.
9) What It Takes to be a Marketing Consultant
There are definite downsides to being a marketing consultant, it's not all zumba and picking up your own kids. Here's what it takes:
- You have to be good at marketing strategy and tactics for growing revenue.
- You have to be a strong generalist with solid analytical skills.
- You have to understand a lot of different technologies.
- You have to be solid at messaging and writing and be decent at graphics and web design.
- You have to master the latest and greatest inbound marketing techniques such as blogging, SEO, social media, campaign creation, as well as traditional outbound methods like PR, Events, and email blasting to lists
- You have to be comfortable with many different marketing automation platforms, CRMs, and other software.
- You have to get used to working crazy hours sometimes for your clients to meet their deadlines at a moment's notice.
- You have to do your own IT work and plan your own retirement.
- You have to understand the organizational structure and which resources are best for what.
- You need a solid network of family and friends outside your work since your coworkers are a revolving door.
All in all, consulting poses it's own set of challenges and rewards, but it is helpful for clients to understand the perspective of the marketing consultant.
Laurie is Principal at Bay Area Inbound, a marketing consulting agency that specializes in digital marketing to quickly increase revenue for technology companies. Contact: Laurie@BayAreaInbound.com or call 510-543-7593.
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