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You’ve already done the hard work of coming up with your ideal marketing team and pinpointing the perfect fit for your business. And that’s good. Because now you must narrow down your field of search to find the best consultant for your company. It’s not easy, but there are several key questions you can ask to make sure you’re making the best hire. Let’s take a look at some of the most 8 important questions to ask a marketing consultant before hiring one.
What will my consultant do for me?
First and foremost, you need to find out what your consultant will do for you. It’s important to know what services they specialise in so you can make sure they’re the right fit for your business.
Try to get a feel for what you can expect your consultant to do for you and their value proposition. Start this conversation by asking, “What are some of the key services you offer your customers?” You can also research firms in your area to compare pricing and quality to see if there are any firms you’d like to work with that you can’t because they don’t fit your budget.
How will my consultant be paid?
This is one of the most important questions to ask a marketing consultant because it will determine how you’re billed. You’ll have to decide whether you want a cash-flow schedule, a billable hour model, or something in between. If you want a consultant who takes a percentage, you’ll also have to decide if you want them to earn the entire fee up front or receive a smaller up-front fee followed by an agreed-upon monthly amount. If you want them to bill an hour, you’ll also have to decide if you want them to bill by the hour, by the task, or by the project.
What is the length of the contract?
This will determine your commitment to your firm. For example, if you have a short-term contract, you can easily make changes to your business and then hire a new consultant for the next season. You have a long-term contract, you may have locked yourself into a firm that you don’t want to be locked into.
Ideally, you want a firm with a contract of no more than one year. On the other hand, with a longer-term contract, be sure to negotiate a termination clause that gives you the option to terminate the contract early if you must.
Is there a trial period?
Some firms will offer a free trial period before charging you. Others will give you a trial period that runs for a certain number of services. This can help you determine whether the firm is right for you or not. You may also want to offer a trial period to your consultants to get a better feel for their work and how they work, before they are hired long-term.
Is there a fixed-cost option?
Some firms will offer a fixed-price option. This can work well if your budget is very strict or if you’re just getting started with marketing. It also comes in handy if you don’t know how much it takes to hire a consultant and you don’t want to make a mistake. A fixed-price option can help you save money and avoid hiring the wrong person.
Should I go with a full-service firm or a more nimble partner?
This is a question of your own style. Some businesses will work best with a larger firm who offers a full range of services. Other businesses with a small team may work best with a partner who specialises in marketing. Not sure? Then you may want to recruit a consultant to get a feel for both styles before making a final decision. Doing this may also help you decide if you want a consultant to work with you on a long-term basis or if you prefer working with other consultants.
Be sure to ask about any additional requirements or expenses you may have to meet before hiring a consultant. Some firms have a minimum amount of work that must be completed before the consultant will invoice you. Some will require that you have a certain amount of email subscribers before they’ll work with you. And others may require that you pay them to get their certification or membership in an industry group before they’ll work with you. These can add up to a lot of money for very little value.
What does my consultant know about my business?
This is a question of your own business. If your product or service is very specialised, you may want to hire a consultant who specialises in that area. It might be better to hire a consultant who specialises in the type of business you’re marketing. For example, if you make custom clothing, you may want to hire a consultant who specialises in fashion marketing. This is also a question of your own business.
You may have a product or service that appeals to both B2B and B2C clients. Aside from that, you may also have a specific niche where one marketing approach is more effective than the other.
Concluding Questions to Ask a Marketing Consultant
To succeed with marketing, you must have a plan. The plan should include hiring the best possible marketing team. Hiring the best possible marketing team includes a marketing consultant. So make sure you hire the best one you can find!