How to Hire the Right Marketing Consultant

Hiring a marketing consultant is more complex than you might imagine. Different types of marketers fit different types of businesses. Hire the right kind of marketing pro, and you’ll {hopefully} be thrilled with the experience. Hire the wrong kind for you or your business, and you could find yourself frustrated with the experience and uncertain of where to go next.  

By understanding these four types of marketing professionals, you’ll be able to hire the right marketing consultant for you -- the person who not only fits your business, but fits you, too.

A branding strategist

A branding strategist will help you define who you are as a business. A brand is much more than a logo. A complete brand strategy will include several components that, together, define what you do, what sets you apart from your competition, how your customers benefit from working with you, and what your brand’s voice or personality is.

Your brand strategy informs everything you do as a business -- marketing, sales, business strategy, product or service development, customer experience. It’s in the words and the visuals that represent your brand to your audience.

The components of of your brand -- as the world sees it -- will be created by you, a copywriter, a designer, a web developer, and potentially even more people. If you don’t first start with a branding strategist, you’ll find that the components these people create will be like beautiful puzzle pieces...that each belong to separate puzzles. A brand strategist ensures that all those pieces are created from the same whole.

Who should hire a brand strategist?

Brand strategists can be helpful to businesses at any stage -- from pre-launch to established. Pre-launch, it’s wise to engage a brand strategist to ensure that you present a consistent brand to your target audience from the beginning. If you’re an established brand, it’s a good idea to engage a brand strategist when you need to update your brand.

Want to know more about hiring a brand strategist? 
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A content marketer

First things first: What is content?

Content is all the stuff you put out into the world to explain what you do, why you do it, and why people need it. It’s blog posts, social media posts, video, website copy, downloadable resources...you get the idea. Content attracts people to your business and shows them why you’re worth hiring.

What will a content marketer do for you?

Here are some examples of what a content marketer can do for you. This is by no means an exhaustive list. 

Create a multi-channel marketing strategy for you.
A content marketer will build a plan for getting your content out across multiple channels -- social media, website, blog, email, etc. These channels can also include events like webinars or even in-person events. And a smart content marketer will decide which social media channels are most important to your business and your audience, rather than trying to do everything all at once.

Create a content plan.
Your content marketer will create a plan for producing all the right types of content to help get your business seen by the right people. That could include any or all of the examples of content described above -- videos, downloadable resources like ebooks or checklists, blog posts, and more. Bonus points for content marketers who create a plan that’s balanced across the different stages of your customer lifecycle and, if applicable, across the different products or services you offer.

Launch and manage your blog.
A content marketer will brainstorm topics to cover on your blog, create a multi-month blog production calendar, get those posts written, publish them, optimize them for search, and amplify them across the right channels (that’s part of that multi-channel approach discussed above).

Who should hire a content marketer?

If you’re focused on building your email list or your pipeline, you need a content marketer. A content marketer will create the content that attracts people to your business and keeps your business top of mind to them until they’re ready to become a customer, purchase again, or purchase even more from you.

Content marketers are especially important to businesses that depend on the size of their email lists to grow, that have longer sales lifecycles, are dependent on repeat business {like online retailers}, or are selling high-investment services that are not going to be purchased after one interaction (those last two often overlap but not always).

Want to know more about hiring a content marketer?
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A growth hacker

“A growth hacker is not a replacement for a marketer. A growth hacker is not better than marketer. A growth hacker is just different than a marketer.” So says Neil Patel in his Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking. It’s a good starting point.

Growth hacking is more than a buzzword. Basically, a growth hacker is defined by a relentless focus on exponentially growing the business in any way possible. Growth hackers are creative, analytical, innovative, and capable of doing a lot with {very} limited budgets or people.

While a marketer might simultaneously focus on growing the brand, building the audience or your list, and filling the pipeline, a growth hacker is solely focused on getting more customers and doing more business. A growth hacker is going to have some traditional marketing tools in the toolkit. And a growth hacker will look at every aspect of the business -- including product, business development, and customer experience.

Growth hackers rely heavily on analytics as well as qualitative research. They apply creativity, curiosity, persistence, and ingenuity to acquire new customers and grow their businesses.

The essence of the differences between marketer and growth hacker, thanks to Shout Me Loud, can be boiled down in these mantras:

Growth Hacker – ‘Growth first, Budget second’
Marketer – ‘Growth depends on the budget you spare’

Who should hire a growth hacker?

Startups that have very aggressive goals to grow rapidly and exponentially should consider hiring a growth hacker, a growth hacker and a marketer, or a growth hacker and then a marketer. Growth hackers are especially important for early-stage startups. Right now, you need to add customers faster than a traditional marketer alone would do. You’ll be ready to focus more on building the brand and the audience share, with a marketer, later.

Want to know more about hiring a growth hacker?
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A marketing coach 

You’ve heard of a life coach. You’ve heard of a business coach. There are executive coaches and leadership coaches. But have you ever considered a marketing coach?

A life coach helps clients to grow personally by overcoming obstacles and achieving goals that matter to them. A business coach does something similar, but with the growth of the business in mind. So...surprise...a marketing coach helps remove obstacles from your marketing, define your marketing-related goals, and empower you to meet them.

My marketing coaching can sometimes seem like a hybrid between coaching and consulting. It’s driven by what’s important to each client. I might guide you through a set of questions to help you understand who you are as a brand -- what your promise is to your customers, what your brand voice is, and beyond. I might work hands-on with you to clarify how you’ll know your marketing is successful. I’ll help you separate what’s imperative to marketing your business, and what you can grow into.

Bottom line: Through marketing coaching, I help you accomplish what fits your vision of your business and the marketing that will help your business thrive.

Who should hire a marketing coach?

You want to master your own marketing. You’re ready to do it yourself, if only someone would help you understand where to start and how to make the most out of your time and money. You might want this approach because you’re a solopreneur just starting out, or an entrepreneur with a very limited budget. A marketing coach tends to be best suited to people who are in business for themselves -- whether artists, coaches, consultants, or entrepreneurs with big dreams. 

Want to know more about hiring a marketing coach?

Well, there seems to be a shortage of helpful advice out there about what marketing coaches do, how to hire them, or why. I guess you’ll just have to keep coming back here to learn more! Or reach out to me to learn about my marketing coaching practice.

There now...do you feel informed + empowered + ready to hire your dream marketing pro to take your business to the next level or grow your audience even further? I hope so! And if not, that's ok, too. Keep on coming back here to learn more. Or give me a shout. I can help you figure out what the best option will be for you.