We are seeing many companies invest in senior level strategists in areas of innovation, brand, e-commerce, etc. This makes perfect sense as both large and small organizations need to compete in the current economic climate but do not want to add to full-time headcount. Bringing in a marketing consultant for 6 months allows you to move your company forward but not permanently increase overhead.
So if you find yourself in the position of needing some top notch talent to consult on your marketing needs, what should you be looking for? Interestingly, not a consultant, you need a marketing practitioner.
Marketing has changed so much in the past 5 years and the velocity of that change is increasing. It is moving so fast, a lot of marketers (not just consultants) find themselves in a place where their skills are irrelevant. Ultimately, since 2005 the big changes have happened inside corporate marketing departments, not at consulting firms. Therefore, you do not want to hire a consultant who has not seen any of these changes first hand. What you need is someone who has successfully moved the needle from inside a corporate structure. They will readily understand where your company is, what challenges you face and how best to overcome them. You want someone from outside your organization to bring in innovation and to take your company to a place it cannot go with the current team. Face facts: you cannot possibly be assured of success if you choose and individual or firm who has failed to execute something in the past 5 years or longer. So where are we drawing the line? Ultimately somewhere in 2005, if you are looking at bringing in an individual or firm, study their bios carefully. If they have done nothing but consulting since 2005 or longer, they are no longer relevant as an expert marketer. They have been removed from the corporation at a time when you cannot possibly appreciate all the change from the outside.
Fortunately this is good news, with consultants come oversized mark-ups, bring in an interim marketing executive to improve results while reducing cost.