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When To Hire a Marketing Consultant: Tips from a Former Microsoft Marketer

Business is picking up for many Microsoft partners, and while that is great news, it means that marketing is going to go to the bottom of the list...again. No matter how intent you are on writing the blog posts or keeping the newsletter going, when you and the rest of your team get busy, those things don't get done.

If you don't have a dedicated marketing professional on your team, this may be a good time to engage one to keep your marketing going.  There is a robust community of marketing consulting companies serving the Microsoft channel. Do your homework to select a firm with a track record helping partners like you.

Barbara Pfeiffer, CEO of Nurture Marketing, has been helping Microsoft partners improve their marketing results for many years. Previously a member of the Microsoft marketing team, Pfeiffer developed and introduced the widely renowned "Marketing Essentials" program for the Microsoft channel.

Pfeiffer offers the following advice to partners as they evaluate marketing consultants:

  • Look for someone who has experience with the type of business you are doing, or your current business circumstances.

  • During the initial interview process, the prospective marketing consultant should ask more questions than provide answers. Only when they fully understand your business should they offer solutions.

  • Do you trust this person to represent your company in a sophisticated way?

  • If you want leads in 15 days and they say no problem, there will be one. You're hiring an expert -- if they parrot what you say, they want your business at any cost (including your success).

  • Look for a nurturing person. As a good listener, that should be someone that you like to work with that adds value and cares about your success.

Finally, Pfeiffer said, "You hire a marketing consultant because of their subject-matter expertise. Take their advice and resist changing their recommendations because what you're thinking seems right. Remember, only your market knows what it wants. A great marketing consultant has the experience and knowledge to understand how to reach and influence your potential customer base."

So many partners get caught up in the cycle of feast-or-famine marketing. When you are busy billing, you don't have time to market, and when things slow down, you panic. Intermittent marketing is not going to deliver the steady flow of leads that will help you build a stable business.
If you can't execute consistent marketing with the team you have, consider a marketing consultant to help.

Have you found a creative way to keep marketing alive in your organization? Comment below or tell me about it and let's share the knowledge.      

Posted by Barb Levisay on November 03, 2011