Choosing the Right Marketing Technology Consultant
May 09, 2019 Emily Brungard
Whether or not you view marketing technology as good fortune or a massive burden, there’s no denying that it has undoubtedly shifted the landscape for businesses. But understanding the complicated digital ecosystem is a full-time job. That’s why so many incredible professionals have taken up the mantle of becoming a marketing technology consultant to help businesses take advantage of the unique opportunities of the future.
Innovative marketing technology is everywhere, but what happens when processes and a dynamic understanding of the landscape are lacking?
You end up with a big investment that goes to waste if it’s not managed with care.
Before You Start
There are a few steps you can take before you ever spend a dime on a marketing technology consultant. These are some precautionary measures you should implement that will save you some time and money down the line. If you want to get the most out of your martech consultancy, here’s some advice.
1. Make A Decent Plan
In every business, there is valuable information, company knowledge and a deeper understanding of what has really been going on behind the scenes. These are things that a martech consultant should be aware of so that they are able to do their job properly and successfully.
What tech you currently use? We’re talking about software, hardware, applications, networks (all of the works)
What data do you collect and where?
A general understanding of the workflow process and
Inside look at the back end and any maintenance or upkeep routines
2. Be Honest and Transparent
The relationship you build with a martech consultant is nothing without transparency. There are so many companies out there that spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants, and never get the results they are looking for. Why? Because they weren’t open with their consultant about integral and important details that can make or break their success.
Martech consultants won’t have the tools prepared or a strategy fully fleshed out if you’re holding back on valuable information. If there are improvements that can be made, they need to be made. Working with a consultant is about swallowing your pride and being honest with yourself about where you can improve. Discuss the full scope of the project and any doubts you may be having.
Map out and talk with your team about your ideal consultant, your ideal partnership.
Anyone that may be affected by workflow or process changes should be in the loop if you want a smooth transition with any major changes that may be occurring.
3. Remember: Change is Good
One of the most difficult components of martech consulting is getting clients to understand and accept change. Even small changes can be like moving a mountain. Change makes people uncomfortable, but if there are aspects of your business a consultant is there to diagnose and fix. This is especially true when it comes to technology solutions.
Learning to adopt change should really be tip number one. It’s an integral part of success. Trying to hold your ground and refusing to move forward when it comes to digital solutions will only allow your competition to swiftly move past you — especially when it comes to marketing. While everyone else is taking care of these technology opportunities, it’s your responsibility to either stay with the competition — or be an innovator yourself.
Choosing Your Martech Consultant
Now that you have made some notes, talked to your team and prepared yourself mentally for the changes that may occur — it’s time to pick your consultant.
Traditionally it’s recommended that you screen potential partnerships with a phone or video conference (or if possible — in-person). Today there are other options available. Depending on what you’re looking for, it’s possible to seek out an agency for your martech consulting. Their methods most likely involve a phone or in-person meetup.
But most talent lies in the freelance pool. But where do you find these freelance marketing gurus? Online marketplaces house on-demand experts that you can pick and choose as extensions of your team. Depending on the scope of what you are looking for, there are some tips we can give you to help guide you through this process.
Matching your needs is rule number one. Does the consultant’s technical understanding align with what you are in search of? Look at their education, portfolio and work history. Have they worked with a company like yours before?
Be certain that they have a robust understanding of software, hardware, or operating systems that your company currently implements — or plans to use in the future.
Do they communicate effectively? Or at the very least, is their style compatible with yours? Communication is a huge factor in anything marketing-related. Because there is likely loads of information they are throwing at you, or vice-versa, it’s crucial that everyone is on the same page and understands what changes are being made and how they affect business.
Understand their workload because you are certainly not their only client. Setting realistic expectations is a necessary precursor to any successful partnership. This is especially true for working with freelancers.
Having unrealistic timelines or turnarounds isn’t fair to either the consultant or your company’s potential success. Make sure that your consultant can finish their project within the agreed-upon timeline — again, communication is key.
Clearly outline the consultant’s responsibilities before work begins. Ask them to submit a work plan or scope of work so that there are no gray areas when it comes to their responsibilities within the project.
Be aware of the results their changes will have. Preparing for the future means that you will need to either fully understand the repercussions of their changes or predict them.
You get what you pay for, usually. We’ve all heard the story of how someone found “this great freelancer on (insert freelancer marketplace that underpays their workers).” Sure, it’s possible to get excellent work from someone making $10/hr, but is it likely? Professional freelancers charge more because they have the training, portfolio, credentials, and proof of their impact within organizations. You’re far better off paying more up front and having your expectations exceeded than hoping for the best, only to be disappointed, behind on your project deadline, and shelling out additional money for someone who would have been a much better fit all along.
Take Advantage of Expertise
We are in incredible times. With so many innovative marketing technologies and tools at our disposal, it’s difficult to imagine all of the possibilities that tech affords us. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. There are experts in every field and sometimes it just takes a leap in the right direction to change a company’s trajectory.