Sunday, April 22, 2007

4 Great Tips To Spotting & Hiring a Marcomm Consultant

I came across a great article recently and wanted to present an excerpt. It talks about some of the crucial qualities marketing communications consultants should have:

Passion. If you have a burning passion for the advertising industry, that is a major plus. The consultant is going to need every ounce of that passion to get through the down days. When nothing seems to go right, when every client seems to be an ogre in disguise, when the simplest words become potential libel suits; that is when you dig deep. If there was no passion, this is the time the AE will look at you and say, “Boss, thank you, but no thank you.”, and proceeds to open his own “char kway teow” stall (a local culinary delight from Singapore).

Hunger. That is the drive needed to go for each and every project. Couple this with the passion and you have one incredible, committed consultant.

Is passion and hunger enough? I am passionately hungry for a piece of home-made pecan pie. You know, the crusty crust, the gooey pecan; just like mother used to make? Well, I have the passion for sure; and the hunger, you wouldn’t believe it. But no pecan pie for me. I have no idea how to make one!

Knowledge. A good consultant must have at least a rudimentary knowledge of marketing and marketing communications. This can be learnt - must be learnt. The role of the consultant is the liaison between the marketing/advertising agencies creative brains and the client’s needs. Without a basic understanding of marketing and marketing communications, there is no way that he/she is going to be able to understand the marketing brief. Worse, this is the person who is supposed to interpret it and then work with the creative team to execute it. Will you let a 10-year old bake your wedding cake? Why not let him coordinate your entire wedding?

The brains, the passion, the drive and the knowledge form the basics. But there is another element which is important:

People Skill
. Sounds harmless? Imagine managing demanding clients with egoistic “creative” minds and at the same time, trying to meet deadlines, budgets and a hundred other deliverables. The consultant has to be the consumate statesman, able to deal with various personalities and be comfortable in both friendly and hostile situations.

Many people do not realise that a consultant is also a project manager. Sure, the larger agencies have a “traffic” department, they have coordinators and so on. But in the end, the entire campaign, the client’s success and failure, depends on the consultant being able to ensure that all elements fall into place. Beware the consultant who thinks his job is finished when a clients signs the agreement, or the advertising agency recieves the purchase order. Nothing ever goes as planned, and it is the consultant who needs to be on top of it all to ensure that value is delivered to the client, and the bottom line of the agency is protected.

Finally, the one sure way to spot a good consultant is his great personality. He needs to be able to face the ups and downs, maintaining his positive outlook at all times. He is the bastion of calm when the agency panics. He steps up to the plate and deals with difficult clients. He goes to bat for the client and deal with internal red-tape to get a project completed.

This article was written by Vivienne Quek.
. I found it very enlightening and to be frank, resembling of how I operate my practice, if I do say so myself! Please let me know your thoughts, I am curious to know.
Mark Buzan is Principal and Chief Magnifier in Action Strategies, a full service Marketing Communications, Public Relations and Public Affairs Consultantcy. Make sure to contact him for advise on reaching audiences you may or may not have yet considered in your marketing communications and PR campaigns. Drop him a line if you are looking for help in developing an internet media relations campaign. You can view his website at www.actionstrategies.ca.

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