Hiring A Marketing Consultant During Coronavirus Uncertainties
Because of economic uncertainties, countless organizations made tough decisions in 2020. Marketing departments were caught in the crunch. If you are a marketing leader, who downsized your team to remain resilient, business recovery may mean filling gaps with a marketing consultant to maintain low overhead as coronavirus uncertainties continue.
Hiring a Marketing Consultant “Looks” Different
Pre-Covid-19, you wouldn’t think twice about sizing up a prospective marketing consultant informally at a Starbucks or formally at your office. Today, you may be reluctant to meet at the local coffee shop. And your co-workers may be reluctant to have non-employees in their workspaces. Your office may even make a formal statement asking employees to avoid bringing non-employees into the workspace. While we’re all becoming comfortable with connecting via screens for meetings, interviewing via screens feels awkward: making natural eye contact is difficult, reading body language is impossible and backgrounds are distracting.
Choose a Marketing Consultant Trusted by You
To avoid the challenge of hiring someone new to you, run through your mental rolodex of marketing consultants whom you’ve worked with at either your present company or previous companies. As you see each marketing consultant in your mind’s eye, ask yourself:
• Did the consultant’s work product meet my expectations?
• Did the consultant’s work product achieve my goals?
• Did the consultant hit my deadlines?
• Did the consultant keep me up to speed on a regular basis?
• Was the consultant a quick learner?
• Was the consultant professional, respectful and responsive to me and my team members?
• Was the consultant autonomous (made reasonable use of my time) or did they need hand holding (used up too much of my time)?
• Did I derive more value from the consultant than I expected?
• Would the consultant be a good fit for this project?
• Could I work with the consultant again?
Choose a Marketing Consultant Trusted by Your Network
If you haven’t hired or worked with a marketing consultant, turn to your network for referrals. You can ask them the same questions (see previous section) about consultants they recommend.
We don’t know how long the coronavirus will impact our lives. So, when you set out to hire a marketing consultant, you may not know if you need the consultant for a one-off, short-term project or ongoing projects. Consider the following.
• Does the person have years of experience working from home (WFH) or months of experience? If they’ve had years of experience WFM—and they have provided marketing services for numerous clients—then you can rest assure that they are motivated and productive in the WFH environment.
• Do they have a dedicated office in their home? Infers a long-term business.
• Do they have their own laptop, printer, Zoom/Google Meeting/Microsoft Team account? Indicates self-sufficiency.
• Do they regularly back up their laptop? Indicates responsibility.
• Are they a generalist or a specialist? You can leverage the generalist’s skills sets for multiple projects; for example, strategy development, tactical implementation, content writing, briefing/managing creatives, webinars and project management—versus events only.
Also consider time. Your time. Your time is valuable.
Every time you hire a marketing consultant, you invest your time in them. You invest time to transfer knowledge to them about your products, services, target customers, industries and your company’s processes. Consider your investment when you choose a marketing consultant—is the person self-employed by choice or is the person freelancing while looking for a full-time job? The self-employed marketing professional will be available to help you today, tomorrow and down the road. That’s a beneficial investment.
The Extra Insight: Make sure the marketing consultant has a website. Here’s why. A website tells you the marketing consultant is self-employed for the long run. Number of years as a consultant indicates they are stable. Number of clients indicates they are successful. Long stints with clients indicate satisfied clients. Repeat clients indicates very satisfied clients.
Photo credit: istock
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