I think, but correct me if I’m wrong, that businesses find hiring a marketing consultant difficult.
I’m wondering if it’s a bit like hiring a nanny.
As the founder of your company, you’ve done all the hard work of giving birth to this amazing, living, breathing thing. You’ve spent a couple of years watching its every move, teaching it to eat, walk, speak, use a toilet (getting carried away with the analogy now). You’ve monitored it like a mother hen.
The day comes when you can’t maintain that level of focus. You’ve got to get some other projects off the ground. You need more time in your day to look after your clients, or manage your staff. You aren’t available all the time to give your baby the focus it needs. So, you start looking around for a nanny (slash marketing consultant).
There are plenty of great candidate. They all bring different benefits. Some of them are brimming with ideas. Some have years and years of experience. Some are ultra-reliable – they’d never accidentally leave your cherished offspring at the park.
You choose your favourite, agree your terms and give yourself a pat on the back. Now you are free to concentrate on your other projects, knowing that your progeny is in safe hands.
Then, comes the hard part. Adapting to the presence of a new person.
The nanny moves into your house and your privacy is compromised. He or she needs to know all the ins and outs of how you’ve been nurturing your little darling. You might have to admit where you’ve made a bad decision or taken a wrong turn. You have to disclose just how hair-raisingly messy your airing cupboard is. You have to share your evenings and your bathroom with this virtual stranger.
Maybe not the sharing of bathrooms, but in many ways, this is the exact same journey. Getting a marketing consultant on board is a really exciting step. You know that you will have a second opinion, someone to shoulder the weight of remembering to do everything, another person to look after all the marketing micro-decisions that have to happen on a daily basis. Someone to keep your marketing projects on track.
The downside? You’ve got an expert looking over your shoulder. You are going to have to admit that your mailing list is in a shocking mess and your WordPress site hasn’t been updated since 2012.
Let me tell you something I KNOW to be true.
I can’t speak for nannies here, but as a (sort of) marketing consultant I can promise you that the person you hire to help you with your marketing does not CARE if stuff is in a muddle or a mess.
In fact, they hope that it is. Because, just like Mary Poppins, your mess will give them the chance to snap their fingers (or, more likely, send 45 emails and make 13 phone calls) to get everything into good order for you. If things are shambolic and outdated behind the scenes, it will give your consultant more to get their teeth into. They can make a bigger difference to your business.
And, there is one piece of advice that I can give you that will make bringing this new ‘family member’ on board a bit easier all around.
Treat your marketing consultant as you would a new team member.
- Behave as if you have made a new hire. Introduce him or her to everyone. Open the door for them to develop their own relationships with the rest of the firm so that you aren’t acting like a gatekeeper to EVERYTHING.
- Tell the consultant all you can about your business, your objectives, your team, your plans for the future, your product or service, your partners and your past marketing. Giving them all of this information will help them to get up to speed as quickly as possible, and allow them to avoid repeating the mistakes that you’ve already made.
- Tell them how you prefer to communicate. If you are an email person, make that clear. If you hate getting loads of emails, set up a weekly meeting on a Monday to go through the questions for the upcoming week. Stay in touch as much as possible.
- Keep them updated. If new things are going on, you are going to an event, you’ve changed your plans or have exciting developments coming on line, remember to keep them informed, with plenty of notice. It’ll make their life easier and allow them to support you better.
- Keep your boundaries and allow them to maintain theirs. Don’t phone them at odd hours, unless it’s an emergency. Don’t expect them to work at weekends or late at night unless it’s their suggestion.
- Take their advice. You’ve hired this person as an expert, so trust that on some issues they are going to know better than you, even if no one knows your business better than you.
Get these things right and you could soon have an incredible source of support, an expert inside your business and an extra pair of hands when things get busy.
I’d love to show you how much easier your life could be when you bring someone in to help with your marketing. If you are starting to admit that it’s time to hire someone to help you look after your precious first born, find out more about how we could help here.