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Marketing Consulting Business Guide: Online Marketing, Strategy & Brand Building


In an increasingly competitive business environment, marketing has become the most important function for a majority of businesses. Market strategizing and brand building have become critical to the long-term survival of businesses in an environment where the customer is flooded with choices. Marketing consulting firms have an important role to play in this entire exercise. They bring specialization, objectivity, and professionalism, adding significant value to a corporate marketing strategy.

The immense popularity of the Internet has created new online marketing opportunities for businesses. Search Engine Optimization and Web site promotion can help to market a business at a very low cost. However, this is a technical area and usually requires the services of professional SEO marketers to develop a successful online marketing strategy for the business. Hiring of marketing consulting services is a worthwhile investment for almost any business. Professional marketing consultants are deeply involved in the field and are updated with the latest marketing techniques and methodologies that work.

Benefits

Developing or Improving the Marketing Strategy

A professional marketing consultancy can help to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy for the business. It can incorporate new marketing approaches such as online marketing and social media networking, along with traditional advertising and promotion. If the business already has an elaborate marketing strategy in place, the consulting firm can improvise in the areas of concern and provide valuable inputs to adapt the strategy in accordance with the new techniques as well as the marketing behavior of competitors.

Improving Marketing Efficiencies

One of the key goals of a marketing consulting firm is to suggest ways to achieve maximum targeted marketing exposure for the business at the minimum cost. An experienced consulting firm can advise an appropriate media mix and suggest improvements in the current brand positioning of the company. It can also help to negotiate cheaper advertising and marketing rates with various paid media channels to bring down overall marketing costs.

Building an Online Strategy

Many marketing consultancy firms offer specialized online marketing and SEO services for businesses. This is an emerging area of marketing that can yield high exposure for the business at very affordable costs. However, it requires a focused online marketing strategy to ensure that the business can reach out to the target markets and achieve a positive response from potential customers. Internet research firm iProspect says that nearly 40 percent of all Internet users believe companies with top-ranking search results on the Internet are the leaders in their respective field.

Brand Positioning

To extend the life cycle of any brand, it is very important to understand the pulse of the markets and perceive the changing tastes and preferences of the new generation of consumers. A marketing consulting firm can provide research data and advise whether the brand positioning needs to be altered or reinvented to maintain its market domination across many different generations.  

Pitfalls

Lack of Understanding of Brand Ethos

A professional marketing consultant is an outsider with little or no idea about the company’s history, culture, and the core values that the brand represents. Therefore, in some cases there may be a risk of brand image distortion or a failure of marketing strategy when brand loyalists fail to identify with a new marketing campaign.

Faulty Product Positioning

Many companies hire marketing consulting services to support the launch of a new product in the market. The company may tend to ignore the advice of its in-house product development team and marketing managers who understand the product intimately, and go by the suggestions of the professional marketer. Sometimes this may lead to wrong product positioning, and the entire marketing strategy may boomerang, resulting in the failure of a potentially good product.

Ignoring Core Customers

Marketing consultants are sometimes excessively enthusiastic about breaking into new markets and may choose unconventional or risky methods of advertising and brand promotion. This may result in disenchantment of the brand’s core customers who are already predisposed towards the product and derive value from its existing brand image.

Unethical Marketing Practices

A marketing consulting firm may not necessarily understand the corporate ethics and values of a client. They may resort to unfair or unethical marketing practices on the ground, or suggest advertising strategies that may be offensive to many potential customers.

Pricing

The costs of hiring a marketing consultant can vary widely, depending on the reputation of the marketer and the scale of the proposed marketing campaign. Some consultants work on a fixed-fee basis, while others may charge a percentage of the total marketing expenditure incurred during a campaign. The business organization must perform an objective cost-benefit analysis before taking a decision on hiring a marketing consultant firm.

Marketing consulting services have been in high demand in recent decades due to various reasons. An increasingly globalized economy, excessive competition, and the information boom have contributed to this demand. However, a business must carefully evaluate the pros and cons of hiring an outside marketing consultant firm before taking a final decision on its marketing and brand building strategy.

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