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Frequently asked questions about a marketing consultant



Common questions about a marketing consultant


What is a marketing consultant?


A marketing consultant is an experienced professional with a background and expertise in all aspects of marketing.   They usually work on a freelance basis and will have several clients.


Why would a business use a marketing consultant?


A marketing consultant brings expertise and impartiality.  They should understand all areas of marketing.   Therefore they should be able to analyse, assess and make recommendations for most elements of your marketing but with a strategic and commercial hat on whilst championing the customer too.


A marketing consultant should be able to get to the crux of your business challenges quickly.  They will make objective recommendations, unlike an employee who will more involved in the day to day and could be too connected to look at things from the outside in and have of course have a vested interest.


What is the job description for a marketing consultant?


A job description varies enormously and will be tailored to the client requirements.  Some marketing consultants work purely on strategy whilst others will be able to support with strategy and implementation.  There is no right or wrong job description.  It is worth asking to understand the areas that they can support you with, as well as the areas they can’t.


What should I expect from a marketing consultant?


A marketing consultant should be able to get up to speed quickly on your business.  They should ask lots and lots of questions and will ask for information from you.  


What should I look for in a good marketing consultant?


A marketing consultant should have at least 10 - 15 years of experience in marketing.


Look for awards, accreditations and articles they’ve had published.  For example, I have a diploma in promotional marketing awarded by the Institute of Promotional Marketing.  I've also had over a dozen articles published on marketing strategy and digital marketing.   


Check to see if they have written client case studies to give you a better flavour of their work and look for recent testimonials. From these you can also get a better understanding of their working practices.  Linked In is always a good source form for further research. If you still have questions or concerns, you could ask for more references.

How involved do I need to be?

The briefing and onboarding process are vital.  A marketing consultant should know exactly what questions to ask and request a large amount of data from you.  Without this, they will be working blind and making assumptions.  Data is integral to formulating a marketing strategy, coupled with customer insight.

Once the induction period is completed, the marketing consultant will decide how involved you need to be.  This can vary from client to client and it also depends how much input you want to have, how much time you can dedicate and how responsive you can be and your budget.  

What will the outputs or deliverables be?

This needs to be agreed at the start of the project between you and the marketing consultant.  All marketing consultants will have a slightly different approach.  At Sharp Thinking we normally have at least 2 presentations and there will also be at least half a dozen supporting documents.

Common questions about marketing

What is a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy is your vision of your business which sets out what your company is about and what you hope to achieve.


Do I need a marketing strategy?


Ideally, all businesses need a marketing strategy.  A marketing strategy is essential before you invest heavily in a new product or service.  It should be done as part of the business planning process.


What is the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan?


A marketing strategy is your company blueprint, your game plan which articulates what you are about, who you are going to target, whilst the plan sets out how you will get there.


Do I need a marketing strategy or marketing plan?


Ideally, both as they address different things.  You should always start with a marketing strategy before moving on to a plan.


How long does it take to create a marketing strategy or plan?


This varies from client to client and project to project and can vary from 1 week to 3 months.  A marketing strategy usually takes several weeks, whilst a marketing plan could take a week to turn around.  It really depends on the scope and complexity and whether market and customer research is required.


How do you measure marketing?


Measurement is a key part of our expertise as marketing consultants.  We always make recommendations on how to measure your marketing as well as draft KPIs for your business.   This is normally one of the most common questions clients have when approaching Sharp Thinking as so often marketing isn't measured sufficiently leaving clients confused to its effectiveness.


This will be done in lots of different ways and will differ depending on your objectives.  


What services does Sharp Thinking provide?


Sharp Thinking provides all elements of marketing planning.  This includes marketing reviews of your business, developing marketing strategy and marketing plans. In addition to this Sharp Thinking can help with brand strategy, proposition development and messaging.


Who works at Sharp Thinking?


I am the founder and sole employee.  I use senior trusted freelancers to support projects as and when required but would always lead a project and be your point of contact.


What type of businesses work with Sharp Thinking?


A real mix.  Predominately well-established small to medium-sized businesses.  Many are family run businesses. They may have ambitious growth plans, the need to diversify, but realise they won’t get to where they need to be without external marketing planning expertise.  Clients work across a vast range of sectors from healthcare, retail, construction, packaging, professional services, print and corporate gifting.


How much does it cost to work with Sharp Thinking?


Prices vary depending on your requirements.  Sharp Thinking works with clients on a retainer and project basis.  Sharp Thinking provides a fee proposal with a detailed breakdown of costs for all clients.  Full transparency is important to us.   Timesheets are sent on a monthly basis for all clients that we have retainers in place for.


What experience does Sharp Thinking have?


As the founder of Sharp Thinking, I have over 20 years of marketing experience. 


I have worked both in-house having set up and led marketing within businesses, as well as advised and directed in an agency capacity.  I have worked in the marketing department at British Airways and Vodafone as well as in big London advertising agencies managing global campaigns for the likes of O2, Shell and American Express.


I've also been a business mentor for the Kent Foundation helping young entrepreneurs with their business challenges.


Can you advise on my website?


Yes, I always undertake a website review as part of the marketing review.  Your website is the most important retail estate and needs to represent your business in the right way and be fully optimised.  Have a read on our blog 10 essential tips for a high converting website.


Can you implement marketing too?


We would always try to support your business but our core focus and scope is marketing planning.  If we can’t help or feel we are not the right people to lead in a particular discipline, then we would put you in contact with trusted partners and or tap into our marketing networks.  We can help recruit and brief external agencies and freelancers too.


Can you help with my messaging?


Yes, messaging is an integral part of the marketing process and needs to be aligned with the strategy.  We use a messaging framework ensuring we based everything around your propositions and unique selling point.  We then start to collate proof points and translate features into benefits.


Do you do social media too?


Yes, we advise on social media strategy but we don't implement and do the day to day social media management.  Of course, we understand the guiding principles and how to execute successful social media to support your business.  Should you want to recruit a social media manager in-house then we can help you do this, or we would help you recruit a freelancer too to work with you monthly.

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