Depending on what your business goals are, hiring a marketing consultant is typically a good choice, but how do you place a value on him or her? How involved will they be? The old adage, “you get what you pay for” is true, no matter if you’re buying a car, a pair of shoes, or hiring a marketing consultant to guide you through the choppy waters of digital marketing. But overspending and assuming you’ll be getting everything from soup to nuts, also isn’t advisable. So what do you do? It’s simple. Do the due diligence; Shop.
When you decided to go into business for yourself, you learned quickly that grasping those customers’ needs is never easy. Look, we’re talking about evolution here. Goals change, needs change, technologies change, marketing trends change.
In most cases, the strategy, research, and the “roll up your sleeves” level of work is often too much for one person to take on. By the time you believe you’ve gotten a handle on things, ten other important items may have passed you by. Even a “makeshift” marketing team with good intentions can do more harm than good, especially if the team is rudderless. Marketing has to be managed by someone who focuses exclusively on marketing, and has the background and experience to shift seamlessly with trends.
Strategy is critical. A marketing strategist directs, and marketing coordinator coordinates. In all honesty, the coordinator is someone you might already have in-house. In actuality, almost anyone who’s organized can schedule and keep track of clients and trends. But a marketing strategist is a totally different breed of professional. Ideally, you want a strategist, but can you afford to pay a full-time employee to fill this role? Generally, we’re talking about an individual with a salary well into six-figures, not including benefits, vacation time, and coffee breaks — the usual employee perks.
All the benefits of the latest strategies, marketing trends, experience, and focused direction can be teed up for you without paying a full-time employee’s salary + benefits. That said, ask a lot of questions. You’re shopping. This is an important “purchase.” Find out just how much you’re really getting for the consultancy fee. If it’s a one or two-person operation, find out how many clients they have. Obviously, you don’t want to be one of the two or three clients on their client list. But at the same time, you don’t want to be number 87 out of 100 either. Take care and find out just how much time, effort, and resources, they’ll be putting into you and your company’s needs.
Cost. Let’s get into it. After all, bottom line is what this is all about. After you’ve learned just what bang you’re getting for your buck, expect to pay a pro digital marketing consultant at an hourly rate from $150.00/hour to $300/hour. Now, before you throw yourself down a flight of stairs, let’s consider this; If a full- time employee handing your marketing is earning, say, $50 an hour for a forty-hour work week, that comes out to a $104K annual salary. Now, ask yourself, “just how much time is that full-timer actually putting into the marketing work? Is it justified?” Conversely, a consultant gives you 20 hours per month of focused strategy for a monthly cost of $3,000, and his work yields a $15,000/month sales increase. It’s suddenly worth it, right? A 5 to 1 is a very nice return on investment, and one your boss will remember.
Value is the key here. In the very simple example above, a digital marketing consultant at that rate on a monthly, twenty-hour basis, saves the company $68,000 annually compared to the cost of hiring a full-time director of marketing. Ok, that’s nice, but the profits can drastically outweigh the savings. Using the same example above, not only did the company save $68K in salary, but also generated an additional $180,000 in annual sales. That’s a net gain of nearly a quarter million Dollars!
Consider this, the marketing consultant focuses on one thing, and has the resources to constantly keep on top of marketing trends with a forward focus, whereas the employee hired to be a marketing strategist can often get sidetracked with internal company issues and the inevitable side tasks that take the focus away from marketing. Again, the master plan might be your marketing person handle marketing only, but in most cases, rarely do things go as planned. And in the current, multitask business universe, responsibilities get scattered.
Finally, some things to consider while shopping for a digital marketing consultant: Generally, there are two models for pricing. Most common, is the hourly rate. Now, these can vary greatly depending on who you’re hiring and where your business is located. The second model is based on a project-by-project basis — work hours anticipated for the project multiplied by the agreed-upon hourly rate. It’s best to consider what amount of work goes into a project before engaging with a consultant. If it’s a major project with a lot of man hours projected, you may be able to get them to reduce their hourly rate if a certain number of hours are guaranteed.
Everything is negotiable. There are no hard and fast rules. You may find a consultant that is the perfect fit, or it may take some time. You may spend more than you had hoped, or you might find a bargain. Seeing the value in hiring a consultant versus a full-time employee might ultimately be the most beneficial choice in taking your company where you want it to go.
CAE Marketing & Consulting boasts hand-picked digital marketing consultants, with no less than 10 years of professional digital marketing experience each. While each of their areas of expertise varies, they all have one thing in common they deliver results. Give us a try, see how we’re different.
Chief Marketing Strategist at CAE Marketing & Consulting, Inc.Carlos is a digital marketing consultant with 18 years of proven internet marketing experience, and a self-proclaimed “data nerd”. His digital marketing agency, CAE Marketing & Consulting focuses on SEO & PPC management, as well as conversion rate optimization. In his (very little) spare time, Carlos enjoys spending time with his family, driving fast around race tracks, and honing in his marksmanship skills with his veteran friends.
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