Meeting with your marketing consultant can be fun and insightful. This is the session where creative ideas are shared. However, this is not the case with most initial meetings or consultations. Usually, the first meeting focuses more on understanding the nature of the business, forging a professional working relationship, and exploring strategies. Given the importance of what is being discussed, you should take some time to prepare for it so as to get the best out of your agency. Here are some of the areas that you need to focus on in your marketing consultation preparation.
• Think about what your business or brand stands for
You need to spend time reflecting on the vision, mission, and values of your brand. It is important to articulate your vision to your marketers. You may have already developed some of these important aspects of your brand, but you may need some copies of sales literature like mission statements, about us pages, and other similar information to help your marketing consultant understand your brand.
• Define distinctive aspect of your brand
This is important because it will explain what differentiates you from your competitors. So, spend the time to jot down unique features and the value proposition, or the aspects of your business that make clients choose you over the competition. This can appear simple and straightforward, but most business people find it hard to identify the few unique aspects of their business or product. The usual response is usually something like: “We offer quality products, and we have been in business for more than 20 years”.
Apart from understanding how you are better than your competitors, it is equally important to understand areas where your competitors are better than you. Naturally, it is easier to identify areas where your competitors fail than pinpoint where they are doing better. Nonetheless, it is important to identify their strengths.
• Have an idea of your different customers
Do you have different buyer personas for your products or demographic information that you are using to segment customers? What kind of customers does your business serve? If you already know this, you can compile it into a comprehensive document for your consultant. If you are new in business, or if you haven’t developed the buyer personas, you can brainstorm some basic characteristics of the people or businesses who buy from you.
• Define marketing goals
A majority marketing agencies would like to know the number one priority for your business in the current year, or what was the main reason for engaging them. You may think along these lines, plus any other business goal that you have in mind. This will be helpful in designing the main strategy. Hopefully, the consultant will also help you identify some of the goals that can be achieved and the ones that are not reasonable for you to follow through. However, goal setting is not a marketing function, the marketer can only help shape some of your goals to ensure that both of you are on the same page.
If you cannot envision what success looks like to you, then it is difficult to come up well-defined goals. It is not possible to pin goals to something you have not envisioned.
• What is the expected timeframe?
This can be linked to goal setting above. When you have an idea of when you expect to achieve certain results, you will help the agency to work out strategies that get you results within the set timeframe. Part of the marketer’s job is to set the timeframe. So, in some cases, you may have to adjust the timeframe to something agreeable on both ends.
For instance, if you have a new brand that you have recently launched and you are asking your marketer to increase sales threefold within a month, then your marketer may discuss with you how possible it is to deliver on this goal within the timeframe. In this case, you need to adjust to a reasonable timeframe.
• Consider the metrics you use
You should have an idea of what aspects of your business that are measurable and how to measure them. Or simply, what statistics do you generate through various marketing channels? Data will help the consultant understand where your business stands at the moment. So, if you are comfortable sharing the statistics about your business such as sales trends, advertising data, projections, web and social media reports, and other figures, you may get more help from your marketing consulting agency.
• Brainstorm ideas or write down what are you currently doing
Sometimes, you may have creative ideas on how you intend to achieve your goals but you lack the time or the right personnel to get it done. So go prepared with pre-thought out list of ideas. This will reduce the time you take to come up ideas during your meeting. Besides this, you may need to share some of the strategies you are currently using.
Often, you may find that what you are currently doing is not effective, or it is harmful to your business. So, when you speak openly about this, your marketer can figure out how to help you out.
• Consider your involvement in the process
You should know in advance what you need to control in the campaign, or how much time you want to put into the process. This could include asking for approval of documents before being published and arranging for weekly progress meeting with the marketing agency. On top of this, you should also determine who among your team will be the main contact person.
• Take into consideration the budget
Be realistic when discussing your ideas and goals with the agency team. You need to have a good sense of how much you are willing to invest in the project. While dreaming big is an integral part of growing a business, your marketing tactics need to be grounded in reality.
The above points should get you on the right track towards a high level of preparedness. Preparation for a marketing consultation ensures that you get the most from your marketing agency. It will also save you the time you would have spent on several meetings. Remember to ask your agency what you could bring to the meeting that will help to move things forward.
With over 15 years of marketing experience I have helped over 1,000 businesses amplify their customer base. I have spent the man hours to make sure every one of my clients have had a positive experience. I take the time to sit and get to know every company I work with on a personal level. I started this company to put qualified leads in front of the companies who are looking for them. The Website Marketing Company headquarters in Orlando, FL. 32803 services clients across the country.
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