When a marketing consultant can really help

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Can you combine wisdom with adventure, and if you do, create a much more effective approach to construction marketing?

I think so. The challenge is to take two very different approaches to viewing the world (and business) and — in respecting each other — see opportunities that may be less apparent, but are not necessarily greater in risk.

This is where a competent external consultant can really help.

The “outsider” views your business from a different set of eyes, and from the perspective of long experience. Sometimes the answers are glaringly obvious. Perhaps you are missing a unique selling proposition/advantage right under your nose. Maybe you have some bureaucratic blocks and processes that might have served a purpose some time ago, but now create barriers to client engagement. Possibly you need a simple but solid updating of your marketing technology. (A new, effective website with a great call-to-action and simple social media enhancements can often do wonders.)

There are three problems, however, when you think about engaging a consultant.

First, the consultant doesn’t really get it — or is selling you something that isn’t really right for your business. (After all, you should know your business better than anyone, and even if the consultant is independent, the outsider may just not really understand the whole story.)

Second, and ironically, the problem can be caused by your belief in the first observation. You simply don’t follow through or do what the consultant suggests, or you half-implement, resulting in an incomplete solution and possibly a problem not corrected.

Third, the consultant may in fact be selling you on services to trap you into an ongoing dependency — you don’t quite get the answers you need, or you need to pay for “more” to get any results, and they don’t happen.

Here are some suggestions on how to achieve the best results:

  • Consultants recommended by non-competitive peers obviously can be the best bet. You may discover these especially talented individuals through relevant trade associations at regional or national conferences, and through your networking/participation in the trade group.
  • However, I think an “off the wall” consultant that you discover perhaps through web search can be effective, if you set parameters for the work. (I would however be wary of a consultant to tries to make inbound sales calls on you — unless you are looking for outbound selling model.)
  • Remember the 80/20 rule. Often you’ll gain the highest value at the earliest stage of the process; the consultant will see the obvious problems and suggest simple and quick solutions. As time progresses, and the assignment continues, the billing hours will increase, but you won’t gain as much value for the extra time. At some point, you’ll capture most of the consultant’s world view/model and should either be able to do the rest yourself, or obtain less-expensive support services to complete the necessary tasks.

If you wish, I can provide some insights/consulting support. And, yes, I’ll adhere to the ideas outlined in this post. You can reach me by email at buckshon@constructionmarketingideas.com or through this link.

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