(As part of Business Management week we welcomed Jaeson Middleton who runs his own Marketing Consultancy business. In his revealing blog Jaeson shares with us the highs and lows of being a Marketing Consultant.
Whenever I am asked to write something for a blog or a website, I always wonder if I have anything of interest to say, thankfully I usually manage to produce something, so let’s hope I manage with this. I have run my Marketing and Strategy consulting business for 5 years, most of that time it is just me providing help and advice for a range of large and small clients in many different sectors. On a daily basis I have to wear many hats to run the business. One day I am Sales Manager, the next Marketing Manager, the next a Consultant and then I may need to be an Accountant, I am always an IT specialist and today I am writer. I remember when I took my business degree there were subjects I liked less than others, but it’s amazing how often I have had to call upon the skills I learnt in those classes in running my business.
The Biggest Challenge? The hardest thing I do remains that of creating a good flow of clients, when I am working with a client I find it hard to prospect for new ones, oddly at times when I am really busy and have people working with me the easier that problem is!
The Best Part? Most of the time I own my time, meaning I can take the children to school or find some flex time to go to the gym, it takes discipline to make sure you get through the work, but overall I am able to enjoy a good work life balance.
The Biggest Change? Even in the last 5 years the biggest change is the technical skills I need to have both for running the business and to help my clients. The digital world has impacted everything, economics, supply chains, sales and most of all marketing.
It’s interesting when I first started my business, many clients would come to me and say “I need to rewrite my brochure”, but what I often found was that they needed help in finding the real value of the product or service they offered. Then how to present it, and indeed themselves or even what they were trying to achieve. So I will work on understanding their value proposition and objectives first. Once that has been achieved it is much easier to help them produce great marketing communications (of which a brochure will sometimes be the end result).
Consistently the underlying importance in helping a company of any size is to ensure that they understand their customers, they understand themselves and then how to bring value to those customers. With that in place it’s possible to help them achieve their aims. Sometimes that is about a new website, Facebook page or Twitter Campaign. At other times it is a simple presentation or a new Customer Relationship Management System.
My Favourite Project? One of my clients asked me to tell them what the future would look like and help them to consider how to respond. We started with a complete blank sheet of paper and built a detailed report based on interviews and research. It was both challenging and fascinating. Even better that the client loved the output and we have worked together on many aspects of the report since!
The critical thing for any Consultant is to listen properly and apply your knowledge to the clients’ real problem, not the one you want to fix! When I get to do that it really is one of the best roles you can have.
Jaeson Middleton runs Novarin Ltd a specialist Marketing and Strategy Consultancy check out his blog www.novarin.co.uk