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Inside the Perilous World of Strategic Marketing Consulting

GettyImages-86170398_1Blinding snow, dangerous cliffs, and air so cold and thin that it was nearly impossible to breathe. Those were the conditions in which Rob Hall, an experienced Australian mountain climber, led a group of pinnacle-seeking thrill junkies through the Death Zone of Mount Everest back in May 1996. Like Mr. Hall, strategic marketing consultants serve as guides as well. While flirting with death isn’t in our job description, there are a number of key parallels to be drawn. We lead growth-minded, committed executive teams and their companies towards their lead generation and revenue goals. Without our assistance, the path to the summit is often too confusing to navigate alone. Companies – lacking critical knowledge of the terrain – waste their limited budgets, grow weary and, more often than not, retreat back to their base camp of flat growth.

I’m guessing you wouldn’t want an inexperienced, junior-level guide taking you up the side of Mount Everest. Similarly, you shouldn’t rely on marketing neophytes or members of your executive team lacking in formal marketing experience to plan and steer your company’s marketing journey. There seems to be a temptation – either due to budget constraints or lack of knowledge – to trek without a strategic marketer’s wisdom. The consequences are fortunately not deadly, but can still be dangerous to a company’s vitality. So before you embark on a growth journey, think about whether you need an experienced guide. Here’s some insight into the magnetic and riveting actions strategic marketing consultants take every day to help ensure our clients reach their summits:

Strategic marketing consulting can bring you a compelling message.

When a strategic marketing consultant reads communications that position a company as “the leading firm” or anything similar, our eyes roll. Messages like this are boastful and often don’t matter one lick to your company’s most important customers. Identifying attributes that are considered customer purchase “makers or breakers” is a key step towards developing a compelling value proposition. This stage is considered Base Camp 1 and strategic marketers can lead the way.

We can create your marketing plan.

Most mid-sized B2B companies have limited resources, and it’s critical not to waste them by practicing shotgun-style marketing. Professionals in strategic marketing consulting roles will look at external opportunities and threats, including the actions and messages of your key competitors, and develop a plan that consistently touches your target audience(s) with relevant and engaging communications. This plan will serve as a big picture guide as well as detail how and when it will be implemented. With your marketing plan in place, your company would arrive at Base Camp 2 and feel stronger than ever.

We can structure the marketing department.

Growth-minded companies need to have a marketing department (which means more than one person). The structure of a marketing department depends upon a company’s goals, budget, preferences for in-house and/or outsourced support, and what’s in its marketing plan. Marketing has become a discipline of specialists. Your company needs to tap the power and knowledge of highly skilled professionals who are the top of their games. Strategic marketing consultants usually have vendor networks that their clients can draw upon to round-out the experience and expertise needed in their marketing departments. At this point in the trek, your company would be gaining strength from the bolstered team and ready to tackle the unknown.

We infuse best practices.

Once-and-done marketing tactics like direct mail and advertising are fading fast. Strategic marketing consultants typically encourage clients to adopt inbound marketing methodologies, which includes investing in evergreen content, social media networks, landing pages, marketing automation platforms, CRMs, and search engine-friendly websites. Companies need to be mindful of dangerous conditions lurking – like marketing-savvy competitors – and the importance of getting to the summit as fast as possible.  Modern marketing best practices will accelerate your climb.

It can mentor your marketing coordinators and managers.

In my last blog post, “Why Marketing Coordinators Deserve Unlimited Therapy and Stiff Martinis,” I stressed the need to give junior-level, in-house marketers training and guidance. Strategic marketing consultants can provide this type of support which helps to ensure your in-house marketing professionals continue with your company’s climb.

It can help you measure results and muggest course corrections.

A company’s marketing plan is a great starting point for a successful journey towards growth. Strategic marketing consultants understand, however, that marketing is an iterative process and plans need to constantly be updated based upon results. Modern marketing techniques and technologies provide real-time measurements and offer flexible reporting. Strategic marketing consultants know how to extract and use this information for their clients’ benefit, preventing companies from veering too far off course before making course corrections to campaigns and programs. With consistent marketing measurements, your company should reach the summit using the least amount of resources.

“Hair-raising” might be a stretch when describing the everyday world of strategic marketing consulting. Personally I find it exciting, but will let you be the judge. But there’s no debating that our responsibility for company growth is a big one. I revel in helping clients bridge the gap between their base camps and summits. Every step forward is exhilarating!

Is your company ready to take the climb?

 

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