The Do’s and Don’ts of Hiring Outsourced Marketing Consultants

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Hiring Outsourced Marketing Consultants

Nearly 94% of businesses outsource some or all of their marketing activities (SEM Rush). Are you grappling with marketing challenges that stretch your in-house resources thin? Perhaps it’s the struggle to keep up with the ever-evolving digital trends, the need for specialised skills for a targeted campaign, or simply the pressure to do more with less.

Outsourcing your marketing to trustworthy consultants offers a solution – a way to infuse expertise, creativity, and efficiency into your marketing efforts, cost-effectively.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Who Are Outsourced Marketing Consultants?

Outsourced marketing consultants are external experts hired to manage and enhance your company’s marketing efforts. They specialise in various areas such as digital marketing, social media, brand development, and advertising campaigns. These consultants offer fresh perspectives and data-driven insights, aiming to effectively connect your business with its target audience.

Their role? To alleviate the marketing burden from your team, allowing you to focus on other critical aspects of your business. For you, it means one less thing to worry about.

Warning Signs of Ineffective Outsourced Marketing Consultants

When entrusting your company’s marketing to an outsourced consultant, you need to be vigilant about the signs of ineffective performance. Not all partnerships yield the desired results, and early recognition of these warning signs can save your company from wasted investments and missed opportunities.

  • Poor Communication. A foundational element of any successful partnership is clear, regular, and transparent communication. If your outsourced marketing consultant is not consistently keeping you in the loop, providing regular updates, or is vague about their strategies and progress, it’s a red flag.
  • Mismatched Expectations and Deliverables. If there’s a persistent disconnect between what was promised and what is delivered, it’s a sign of concern. This might manifest as missed deadlines, underwhelming campaign performances, or deliverables that don’t match your specifications.
  • Insufficient Understanding. Marketing strategies must be tailored to fit your specific industry and target audience. If the marketing consultant shows a lack of understanding or fails to conduct appropriate research into these areas, their campaigns are unlikely to hit the mark. This could lead to irrelevant content, inappropriate messaging, or ineffective targeting.
  • Lack of Measurable Results. One of the primary reasons for outsourcing marketing is to achieve measurable results and a good return on investment (ROI). If your marketing partner is not providing clear metrics or if the numbers show little to no improvement in lead generation, sales, or brand engagement, it’s a sign that their strategies are not working.
  • Inflexibility. The marketing landscape is dynamic, with frequent shifts in trends, consumer behaviours, and technologies. A marketing consultant who is rigid and slow to adapt to these changes can hinder your company’s ability to stay competitive. Look for a partner who is proactive and responsive to the evolving market.
  • One-Size-Fits-All Approach. Beware of marketing consultants that apply the same strategies and tactics across all clients, regardless of their unique needs and goals. Customisation is key to effective marketing. A lack of personalised strategy suggests a superficial approach that is unlikely to get you the results you want.
  • Negative Feedback from Previous Clients. While some negative feedback is normal, a pattern of dissatisfaction from previous clients should not be ignored. It can provide insights into potential issues with the consultant’s service quality, reliability, or business practices.

How to Choose The Best Outsourced Marketing Consultants

Selecting an outsourced marketing consultant is akin to adding a pivotal player to your business team. It’s not just about costs or services; it’s about finding a partner who resonates with your business ethos and aspirations.

Picture this: a spectrum of consultants, each with their own flair and expertise. Some dazzle with bold promises; others impress with tailored strategies. Your goal? To pick the one who not only understands your needs but also fuels your digital ambitions and isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

Set Clear Goals

The foundation of a successful partnership is a clear understanding of your objectives. Are you looking to boost your brand’s presence, increase lead generation, or explore new markets? Detailing these goals helps you identify consultants who specialise in these specific areas.

  • Perform a thorough review of your current marketing strategies to identify what’s working and what isn’t.
  • Define specific, measurable objectives for your marketing campaigns, such as increasing website traffic by a certain percentage or achieving a specific number of leads.
  • Focus on the key marketing areas you want the outsourced consultant to enhance, such as social media presence, content marketing, or digital advertising.

Assess Their Expertise

A consultant’s expertise is a critical factor. You need someone with a track record of success in your industry. Their experience speaks to their ability to navigate similar challenges and understand your target audience.

  • Investigate their professional background, looking at the industries they’ve worked in and the types of clients they’ve served.
  • Request detailed case studies or examples of their work, specifically those that align with your industry or marketing needs.
  • Contact their previous clients for direct feedback, focusing on their satisfaction with the consultant’s performance and outcomes.

Evaluate Their Approach

An effective marketing consultant must have a strategy that meshes with your business’s goals. Their approach should not only address your current marketing challenges but also be flexible enough to adapt to future market shifts.

  • Schedule an in-depth discussion to understand their proposed strategy for your project and how it aligns with your objectives.
  • Enquire about their adaptability to market changes and technological advancements and how they stay updated with the latest marketing trends.
  • Evaluate their depth of understanding of your business model, industry nuances, and customer demographics.

Review Tools and Technology

The tools and technology employed by your consultant can significantly influence the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives. It’s important they have access to advanced and appropriate tools that can provide insightful data and efficient campaign management.

  • Ask for a detailed list of the tools and technologies they use, such as analytics platforms, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, and automation tools.
  • Request demonstrations showing how they’ve effectively used these tools for other clients and campaigns.
  • Ensure their technology stack is not only current but also compatible with any systems or platforms your business currently uses.

Assess Communication Style

Effective and consistent communication is vital for a harmonious and productive partnership. The consultant should maintain an open line of communication, keeping you informed and actively seeking your feedback.

  • Conduct initial meetings or calls to assess their communication style, responsiveness, and the clarity of their explanations.
  • Agree upon a regular schedule for updates, reports, and meetings to ensure ongoing, transparent communication.
  • Consider a trial project or a smaller initial engagement to observe how effectively you can collaborate and communicate.

Understand Their Pricing

Your marketing consultant’s pricing should align with your budget and the value you expect to receive. Look for pricing models that offer flexibility as your business needs and goals evolve, but understand that if you want premium services, you’ll need to pay premium rates. This isn’t the time to be stingy.

  • Conduct a market comparison to understand the standard rates for similar services.
  • Discuss and negotiate contract terms, focusing on aspects like payment schedules, scope of work, and scalability of services.
  • Ensure the contract includes clauses for regular performance reviews, allowing for adjustments based on results.

Seek References

Insights from past or current clients can be incredibly valuable. They offer a real-world perspective on the consultant’s reliability, quality of work, and impact on business outcomes.

  • Explore online reviews and client testimonials to gather a broad perspective on their reputation and client satisfaction.
  • Reach out directly to their past or current clients, asking specific questions about their experiences, particularly in areas that are critical to your business.
  • Pay attention to feedback regarding their customer service, the effectiveness of their strategies, and the ROI they delivered.

How to Retain Your Outsourced Marketing Consultants

Retaining your outsourced marketing consultants is about nurturing a relationship that’s built on mutual respect, understanding, and shared goals. It’s like tending to a garden; with the right care and attention, the partnership can flourish, yielding fruitful results for your business.

Cultivate Open Communication

Encourage an environment where constructive criticism is welcomed, and ideas can flow freely. This kind of communication builds trust and shows the consultants that they are a valued part of your business journey.

Foster Collaboration

Treat your outsourced consultants as an integral part of your team. Include them in relevant discussions, brainstorming sessions, and even company events if feasible. The more they feel integrated into your business culture and values, the stronger the partnership will become.

Collaborative efforts can lead to more cohesive and effective marketing strategies, as they bring their external expertise to blend with your internal knowledge.

Provide Constructive Feedback

Feedback is a two-way street. While it’s important to acknowledge good work, it’s equally vital to provide constructive feedback when expectations aren’t met. Approach these discussions with a focus on solutions and improvements rather than blame. This approach not only helps in fine-tuning strategies but also demonstrates your commitment to the partnership and its growth.

Promote Fair Financial Dealings

Ensuring that invoices are paid on time is fundamental, as delayed payments can strain the relationship and potentially dampen the consultant’s enthusiasm and dedication to your projects. Transparency in invoicing is equally important; any discrepancies or questions should be addressed promptly and clearly.

Moreover, as your partnership progresses and your business needs evolve, it’s wise to periodically review and, if needed, renegotiate the payment terms.

If you’re looking to harness the power of expert marketing without the high overheads, Shift ONE stands ready to assist. As a seasoned B2B digital marketing agency, we offer a wide range of strategies to meet your business goals.

Contact Shift ONE today for next-level outsourced marketing.

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