If you operate a real estate or professional services business and you’re here, reading this, then you might already be considering hiring a marketing consultant.
This article will explain why that’s a good idea, but if you’re in a hurry, you can simply get in touch to talk specifically about your business.
That’s essentially what a marketing consultant does – we get into the specifics of your business, highlight areas for improvement, and implement action plans to achieve your commercial objectives.
We work with you to understand the value of your experience, connections and expertise, and make that work practically alongside your marketing budget and the tools available to you. All to drive an increase in revenue.
What is a marketing consultant?
A marketing consultant is a difference maker.
They are usually professional marketers who have experience working in all manner of marketing departments from start-ups to multinationals, managing budgets, fixing problems and – for those with real estate, finance and professional services experience – feeding sales teams with high-quality enquiries.
You can bring a marketing consultant into your business on a short-term contract or a long-term partnership. Chances are that if you’re thinking about hiring a marketing consultant, then you already have an idea of how you’ll use and instruct one, but most experienced marketing consultants will always want to get a good feel for your business themselves too.
What does a marketing consultant do?
Typically, a marketing consultant will guide your marketing activity, helping to create or alter your marketing strategy and plans.
This covers essential business-critical activities such as:
- Evaluating your audience and target market
- Helping you decide on the most effective messaging and positioning
- Amplifying and promoting that message via the most effective marketing channels including your website, SEO, paid advertising, social media, events and PR
- Planning and managing your budget to achieve your commercial goals
- Creating supporting sales assets and processes to transition newly acquired enquiries into customers
- Implementing a CRM system and/or process to nurture your enquiries and ensure they are effectively re-captured in the future
Why hire a marketing consultant?
Most companies hire marketing consultants because they want to make more money – or waste less money. They either want to be more effective at generating leads with the same amount of marketing budget, or they want to grow, expand and spend more, to make more.
That said, there are lots of more specific trigger problems that prompt business owners and CEOs to reach out for help – particularly at times when there is wider market turmoil or when marketing budgets are limited.
We’ve encountered all sorts of initial asks over the years. Some of the most common reasons to hire a marketing consultant are:
- You’re not getting enough enquiries
- You don’t know enough about marketing to improve what you’re currently doing
- You don’t do any marketing, but know that you should
- Your marketing team needs help
- You want to level up but don’t have the time
- Your competitors are beating you to it
Do you need a marketing consultant that specialises in your sector and region?
Most probably. Particularly when it comes to things like real estate, finance and professional services.
Ask yourself whether you could take sales professionals from any sector. If the answer is yes, then you could probably make do with a generic marketing consultant.
But if you prefer to hire people with direct experience in your sector or target market, then the same probably applies to your marketing consultant.
Usually, it is markets such as real estate and investment that seek industry specialist marketing consultants. We know we see our clients’ shoulders relax when we can talk about developer payment plans, capital appreciation forecasts and regional nuances in our introductory meetings.
And while we’re talking about our own experiences in real estate, investment and finance marketing, let us tell you this…
It always surprises us that we see polarised attitudes towards marketing and marketing consultants within real estate. The vast majority of the time, companies tend to fall into two camps: those who love and value marketing, and those who simply do it because they think they need to.
The former group is larger and tends to seek us out when they want to expand. We know that some of the biggest real estate companies in the world become, and stay, the biggest due to their marketing efforts – not necessarily their real estate expertise.
Conversely, although we don’t see as many real estate companies who don’t believe in marketing as we do in the financial services sector for example, it’s always surprising when we do.
These companies tend to seek us out via a recommendation, when they don’t know where to start, or when they feel like they have been in a rut for too long. With this type of corporate firm, we always start off by explaining that marketing isn’t anything but an investment – something they are very familiar with.
For all businesses, whether real estate, investment, finance or professional services, the more importance you place on your marketing, the bigger the benefit you get from it.
What’s the difference between a marketing consultant and a marketing agency?
It’s not simply a matter of scale. Some boutique consultancies are headed by many former corporate marketing heads and have networks of specialist freelancers, employees and contractors to draw upon.
Some agencies have a staff of one.
We’d say the difference between a marketing consultant and a marketing agency is that a consultant won’t just sell you a service because it’s what you think you need.
Sure, they can often help to provide the services that you do need, but they won’t sell you a website if you don’t need one. They won’t charge you for Facebook Ads if they’re not going to work for your business. A consultant advises you on what you need and why, because sometimes you don’t know best.
How does a marketing consultant work?
We can’t speak for everyone, but at Sumner & Co. our process goes a little like this:
1. Initial consultation – it’s free!
We go through your business objectives, challenges, existing marketing and the problems you face. We’ll gain an understanding of your current position and offer advice on the direction you should take going forward.
2. Your goals and budgets
You tell us what you’ve got to work with and we’ll suggest the best possible activity mix and course of action to achieve your commercial objectives. Even if you don’t have a big budget – there are things you can do to succeed.
3. Your marketing plan
Once everybody agrees on costs and objectives, we’ll flesh out a more detailed marketing plan. This will give you a clear idea of direction, strategy, activities and timings. From there, it’s simply a case of getting started.
4. Execution and consistency
We can execute your marketing plan by utilising our in-house team, working alongside your existing team, working with external agencies – or a combination of each. We execute your marketing plan consistently, doing what we know works.
5. Analyse and optimise
Everything we do is driven by data and ROI. You’ll see where your budget is being spent and where the best results are coming from. We continuously monitor, analyse and optimise each channel so that we’re always improving.
6. Establish benchmarks
Once your marketing activity is established and we have solid data to work with, we’ll provide you with performance benchmarks for things like cost per enquiry. This allows you to properly plan your future marketing around what works, and you’ll know exactly what and where you need to focus to get results.
Interested in finding out more?
Why not take that first step? If you’re a real estate, finance or professional services firm and you think you might need some help, get in touch and arrange a consultation – it’s completely free of charge.
Even if you don’t work with us – we promise it’ll be a useful chat and you’ll get some solid actionable advice.