The Super Bowl is rapidly approaching, and as a native northeast Ohioan, I, along with many others, hope expectantly at the beginning of each football season –and then watching as regular losses come out of the Factory of Sadness. While the team might not be an overall NFL great, each draft pick brings along choices designed to help the Browns reach victory. The coaches and administrators look for players with the skills needed to further the team and the ability to put them into practice each game. They look at how each player’s abilities and traits fit into the established environment.
Certain abilities are needed to be a top pick in the draft — just as certain traits are needed to be a top choice among marketing consultants. If you’re hoping to enter the world of marketing and help organizations of all sizes grow, there are a few traits that you can develop and sharpen that will help you succeed. If you’re looking to hire a marketing consultant, finding one with these top characteristics and qualities will help you find a marketing consultant who can deliver and end up being your company’s best new teammate.
A Marketing Consultant Should Be…
A Skilled Communicator — Especially in Writing
While college degrees in marketing typically fall into the business department, many great marketing consultants — especially in the field of content marketing — come from journalism and other communications backgrounds. A marketing degree pulls in classes on specific marketing industries, researching the market, and understanding consumers; a journalism degree teaches you how to clearly and succinctly get a story or message across to a large group of people. From blog posts and press releases to social media accounts and e-mails, much of the communication done by a marketing consultant is written, whether they are writing a message with the target audience in mind or writing e-mails or reports for their clients. Someone with experience or education in both marketing and communications will help you find a message that will resonate with your target audience.
A marketing consultant should be able to understand what you and your target audience members are looking for, which means pulling in interviewing and verbal communication skills. Good marketing consultants can ask questions that get to the point and draw out information. They are good listeners who can understand the meaning behind the client’s words.
In addition, marketing consultants should be good editors, with the ability to peel away everything that sounds good but doesn’t further or enhance the message. This goes for written communication and campaigns as much as it does for video, e-mail, and print design.
A Passionate Brand Champion
Across the board, marketers are promoters, whether they are hired-in marketing managers or professional, project-only marketing consultants. They understand what makes your project, product, or service unique, and are enthusiastic about finding the best way to share your brand with people who would be interested in what you offer. They wake up thinking about ideas, often carry notebooks to jot down passing thoughts, and find inspiration in the most unexpected places.
While they are teammate that wants to further your brand, they are also your biggest cheerleaders, wanting your company to succeed and grow.
An Innovative, Out-Of-The Box Thinker Who Can Implement Ideas
Good marketing consultants are early adopters of new technology and platforms, and look for new ways to use the tools so that they can help your business grow. This means they can present you with a unique campaign idea — and can make it happen. This can include slogans, logos, and other business development tools, or can be campaigns to improve search engine rankings, print and Web advertising, and social media engagement ideas. They are willing to take chances to get you outstanding results.
A Likeable Leader Who Loves People
Marketing consultants will work with a wide network of people, from clients and their own customers to partners, other consultants,and industry influencers. As a result, a marketing consultant should be likeable and should also like other people. They should be someone who people feel comfortable around.
Marketing consultants tend to be leaders, and one study found that, across a variety of industries in North America and Europe, people would prefer to work with a competent, likeable person.
The researchers “also found that if a person was strongly disliked, it was irrelevant how competent he or she was, they would prefer not to work with that person,” wrote Ray Williams for Psychology Today, naming a few characteristics of likeable people:
- The ability to focus on the other person
- The ability to admit you’ve made a mistake
“Expanding our concept of leadership to require that leaders possess greater social skills and practice them in organizations that embrace trust, honesty, compassion, generosity, empathy, kindness and genuine concern for the welfare of others would be a welcome change,” Williams said.
Marketing consultants who genuinely care for others find it’s easier to understand what the target audience members prefer, what ticks them off, and what social media they are checking. It means knowing when their target audiences check their e-mails, what they are passionate about, and the words and images that make the biggest impact in their lives. This means marketing consultants are also team players, willing and able to work with different departments and other professionals to accomplish your company’s goals, able to implement others’ ideas that will enhance and give depth to the vision.
An Inquisitive Analyst Who Wants to Learn More
- To determine if a campaign has been successful, a marketing consultant needs to be able to look at and assess results. Successful marketing campaigns aren’t always determined by the number of dollars that were brought into the company.
- A variety of marketing metrics or key performance indicators can show that a campaign may have been wildly successful at reaching its goals without raising even a penny.
- Brand awareness shows how many people heard about your brand across multiple channels and platforms.
- Online conversions show the impact your marketing efforts are having on different online activities from completing a sale to subscribing to an e-newsletter to visiting your Web site, among others.
- Stats about your first visit show what people think of your site; returning visit numbers show how many people came back for subsequent visits.
- SEO metrics include measuring the impact of your keywords, click-through-rates, and search * Social media metrics give you a better picture of the effectiveness of your accounts, measuring everything from interactions and organic views to leads and social visits.
- E-mail metrics will gauge the click-through rates for your links, the number of people opening or sharing your e-mails, and the overall engagement.
These are just a few statistics a good marketing consultant should understand and be able to calculate. Not each will apply to every campaign, but for the ones that will, the numbers will help a marketing consultant determine the next steps.
This also means that marketing consultants should be able to think strategically to improve low-performing metrics and indicators that will meet the designated goals for those measurements and the company as a whole.
A Patient, Persistent Professional
With vastly different projects for clients across a variety of industries, marketing consultants should be professional, able to stay on top of each client’s needs.
- They should be organized, attending meetings, providing reports, and giving each client updates on their campaign’s schedule success. They should understand the importance of creating and following a marketing plan and the positive implications it can have on your overall success.
- They should be focused, which means that when they are with your company, they are focused on your needs. They understand your priorities and make them their priorities, as well.
- They should be orderly, able to follow the steps needed to get a job done. This means that they will seek approval and authorization before moving ahead with certain projects — and won’t take the step without your approval.
- They are detail-oriented, paying attention to all of the aspects of their business while running and leading your campaigns and other marketing projects. While it may seem like they are nit-picking or seeking excessive information, know that they are doing it because it will enhance your end results. They want to make sure all the bases are covered — for you and for them.
- They are skilled project managers who can pull together graphic and Web designers, copywriters, and photographers to meet deadlines and stay within a budget. They can coordinate meetings and work to make sure each piece of the moving campaign part is met.
- They are proactive and confident that they can implement the program. Marketing consultants are also transparent — if something is vastly outside of their skill set, they are willing to either learn the skill or refer to a specialist in that area.
- They are motivated self-starters. A marketing consultant usually has a great deal of autonomy. Whether they run their own business or work for a marketing agency, marketing consultants want to produce results and know the work that goes into getting those results. They are willing to work long, odd hours to get the job done.
A marketing consultant understands that results don’t come overnight. For example, it can take three to six months to build a blog that increases Web site traffic. It takes more than one point of contact to convert a prospect into a customer, and brand awareness isn’t something that comes as soon as you create a Facebook page. They are willing to put in the work and understand that they are laying a solid foundation that will help your company in the long run.
This means they are persistent, too. They might not have achieved the desired results in the first month — but they aren’t necessarily going to scrap the campaign. They will make modifications and adjustments to help see your investment flourish. This adaptability means that a good marketing consultant is flexible and decisive.
A Willingness to Learn, Grow, and Teach
With so many changes and updates, marketing consultants need to be willing to research and learn how to use new technology. An update to Google’s search engine algorithm? They understand the implications for your business and how to make the best use of the update. A new, promising social media network? They can integrate the network into your marketing plan. New technology for 2017 includes voice recognition in computing, artificial intelligence, smart home technology, new transportation options, like drones and self-driving vehicles, and virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, Tune notes.
“Marketers already know that they only constant today is change,” they write. “The pace is accelerating, and the places we need to now reach out to current and potential customers are changing – as are the ways we’’re connecting with them.”
They thrive on staying up-to date with new opportunities and look for ways to apply the technology in a way that positions your company as an innovator and leader.
A good marketing consultant is inquisitive and open to stepping outside of a specific specialty or comfort zone to understand and learn how to use a tool that might benefit your company and target audience. The adaptability that leads to mid-campaign shifts means that a marketing consultant can quickly get up-to-speed on new technology.
In addition, a good marketing consultant should be able to teach their skills. As they work on your campaign, they should explain to you the why and how of the steps they are taking. They also should be able to teach your target audience about your company and product.
Are you marketing consultant? What do you think are the most important traits — and what would you add to the list? I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you’re looking for a marketing consultant, why don’t you start with Business Marketing Engine? You’ll get a free consultation, yes, but more importantly, you’ll get a team of professionals dedicated to helping grow your business.