Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Catherine Park from Zoho. Her opinions are her own.
For a business to be successful, due to the current state of global market, it has to be able to adapt quickly. Markets are oversaturated and very dynamic. Businesses around the globe are always inventing new solutions that will ensure stable growth and increased revenue. Managers are becoming more important, ensuring that everything is handled well from the inside.
On the other hand, there is also very important work to be done. The part of your business that manufactures products or provides services is working very well. Human Resources has done a great job and you’ve ended up with great staff. But, your company has to make a living by selling its products or services, and you need to get people interested in what you have to offer.
That’s where marketing experts come into play. Their main objective is to design a strategy that will make your products and services alluring to prospective customers.
A marketing expert will have a look at your business objectives and then assess how your public presence is currently set up. You will also be able to find out if your brand’s message is well-aligned with business objectives. A true expert will check your public website and potentially recommend better optimization. And, in the end, you will get a report where you can clearly see various metrics and and all possible areas that need improvement.
As you can see, the company can prosper by signing a contract with a good marketing consultant. Keep in mind that marketing experts will help you put a strategic marketing plan together and they’ll be there for you only during the initial stages of the implementation process. All other aspects of the marketing strategy will need to be handled by your own staff.
If you don’t have the necessary assets, hiring a marketing agency will ensure that all marketing strategies can be handled externally.
What remains are the questions about selection criteria. This is why we have compiled this list of what you should take into consideration when hiring a marketing expert.
1. Check their client portfolio
This should be your priority. Marketing is tough and challenging and it’s not something someone can walk into right after college. You should get the best option for the budget you’ve planned. A strategist who has a lot of experience will be able to design a solid marketing campaign and offer suggestions based on what works.
True marketing experts will have the skills to identify what your company really needs and to understand the message you want to convey to your prospects. The more companies they have worked for, the greater the chances that they have been tried and tested in a variety of situations. This knowledge is a very powerful tool that you want to have in your arsenal before you start to conquer the market.
With Internet access, anyone can become a “marketing expert” in just a couple of days. Don’t let that pumped up professional vocabulary sway you into making the wrong decision. Take your time and give all of their clients testimonials a thorough read. Better yet, try to speak to a few previous clients personally.
You want to focus on measurable statistics and what types of businesses they’ve designed a strategy for. If you don’t want to hire a marketing consultant for a longer period of time, it might be a good idea to outsource the marketing project and hire a team of experts to do this job for you.
2. Check them out on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has become a powerful tool anyone can use to reach out to their peers and prospective customers. It has become very popular in business-to-business selling and recruitment. There is no better way to check if they are competent than checking if they are able to market and sell their own services.
Another thing that’s great about LinkedIn are recommendations. These are not editable, like the ones you might read on websites. LinkedIn Recommendations are genuine and are actually attributed to the owner of a certain profile. They are written by experts in the field and can provide valuable information about the people you are interested in hiring.
3. Make sure they are proficient in digital marketing
You have to be aware of the current trends. The market is not the same as it was several years ago. Businesses are no longer chasing their customers down, but instead, they are designing strategies to attract them and engage them in their products and services. The digital era provides an abundance of opportunities for your business. Many of those can be used to expand and grow your business.
The team of marketing experts you are looking for should have the right knowledge. They should be able to understand social media marketing, PPC and SEO. The wider the skill set, the greater the chances that they will be able to design a unique marketing strategy for your specific business needs that will work well with all of your objectives.
A good digital marketing expert knows that mobile marketing has become the most important marketing factor. It has a great impact on how your website will be designed, what content you will be relying on, what is the desired user experience and in what ways your services and products will be promoted.
4. If they offer a free consulting gig, say yes!
It is important to understand that you should not be looking only for a skill set. The bond between you and the marketing expert should be more like a partnership. If you come by an agency or an expert that wants to provide a free consulting session, go for it. This is the best way to see and feel the relationship between you.
There is a big chance that there will be some differences when it comes to how you want to get things done. But, if you are speaking to an expert, they should hopefully have knowledgeable arguments and previous case studies to back up their suggestions.
During your free consulting session, you will find out if they have complete insight into your business philosophy and if they get the idea behind your products or services. And, what’s more important, you will hear how they think and what their approach to marketing is before you regret signing a contract.
5. Check out their website
This is a great way to check out any marketing expert or agency. We live in the internet era. In case some of the so called “experts” don’t have a website, you should take our advice and skip them. On the other hand, not all marketing experts and agencies that have a website are necessarily good ones.
Take your time to browse through their site. See what type of content they are using and what effect it has on you. You should be able to find content that explains how they address specific issues and problems related to marketing. There should also be a list of benefits they are offering prospective customers.
And, in the end, do you feel compelled to take action and contact them to find out more about their services? If they are able to market and sell their own services, there is a good chance they will be able to successfully market and sell yours.
These are some of the crucial things you should check out before you engage a marketing expert. Feel free to go online and skim through related articles. It is important to know your hows and whys before you make any final decisions. After all, this decision will have a huge impact on the future of your business, so don’t rush it.