• John Walker

Why Hire a Marketing Consultant?

Last week a business owner asked me, “Why would I want to work with you? You don’t have any staff. How do you get stuff done?”

This is a fair question from a prospective marketing client. She envisioned hiring a traditional ad agency and she’s trying to figure out why a marketing consultant might make sense instead.

While J. Walker Marketing serves the same ultimate purpose of an ad agency- we both help clients raise awareness and acquire new customers- we function in very different ways. As a result, J. Walker Marketing, a marketing consultant, meets very different needs than an advertising agency.

Advertising agencies offer scale and capacity for large projects, but those services are costly and turn-around can be slow. In contrast, while a marketing consultant brings a much lower project capacity, there's a tight focus on strategy, senior-level experience is offered and costs are lower. It's scale versus agility, execution versus strategy.

Advertising agencies have large numbers of staff which enables them to execute many different types of marketing projects under one roof. They can offer clients design, copywriting, digital advertising and more. But this structure results in higher costs and slower turn around. Also, many agencies don’t focus on offering clients high-level marketing strategy, or if they do, the purpose of the strategy work is to pull through big production projects. Agencies can’t afford to be completely objective; they have too many mouths to feed. Or to put it bluntly, an agency will never tell a client to spend less money on marketing.

I worked at ad agencies for decades and they play a critical role in enabling big-spending clients to execute large marketing projects. But businesses face many marketing challenges that ad agencies can’t address very well. Here are some of those:

· Customer acquisition, but not via traditional advertising.

· Objective evaluation of past advertising efforts.

· Advice on internal staffing and marketing operations.

· Help hiring the right advertising agency.

· How to set an effective advertising budget.

· Fixing internal, operational marketing problems.

These are just a few of the scenarios that I help clients address every week. Or as I put it to the business owner who asked why she’d work with an individual like me, “I’m the one who might tell you to spend less on advertising.”

This post was written by John Walker, Principal at J. Walker Marketing, a marketing consultancy. Contact John directly to discuss your marketing challenges. John@JWalkerMktg.com.

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