Why work with an independent marketing consultant?

Why should you consider working with an independent marketing consultant (instead of using an agency or trying to hire for an internal solution)?

1) The person you speak to is also the person who you will be working with. In the case of Aurantus you get direct access to 30 years of experience.
2) Personalised approach, instead of selling you an agency first, you will be given a tailor-made solution.
3) No agency or admin costs, nor any other overheads you need to pay for.
4) If additional services or expertise are needed, these will be sourced without any (agency or network) preference.
5) No need to bring someone up to speed about the rest or the organisation. Your independent consultant will get straight to work on what you require.

Unlocking global success: Navigating the challenge of local relevance

Aa part of our association with Kremer & Company, Robert has written an article on how to achieve global success, through successfully navigating the challenges of local relevance

The surprising role of an external marketing or business consultant

Being a marketing or business consultant means connecting with clients (or potential ones) and figuring out how you can add value. Sometimes, they've got projects which need delivering, but lack the expertise or know-how. Most of the time, though, things have gone haywire, and they need your help to unravel what, why, where, and how to fix it.

Here's the crazy part: more often than not, when you present your initial observations and recommendations, their response is like, "Yeah, we already knew about that specific problem and that it needs fixing." But when you dig deeper and ask why they haven't addressed it earlier, it's usually because the day-to-day grind takes over. Deep down (or maybe not even that deep), they know they should hit the brakes and deal with those issues.

If anything, the role of a marketing or business consultant is to give the company a nudge, make them pause, look at themselves in the mirror, apply some common sense, and prioritise tackling the things they already know they should have dealt with ages ago. It may seem obvious, but the truth is we all struggle with actually doing it. Sometimes, we need someone to validate, motivate, and assist us in getting started.

Association with Kremer & Company

Aurantus is now associated with Kremer & Company, a think-tank consultancy helping organisations transform their markets with impactful systemic strategies. They bring the synergy between brand power, reputation management and social impact, to mobilise stakeholders and help transformative businesses connect with people and society. 

It’s all ‘just’ marketing, stupid!

Companies, quite often SME's, and in particular start / scale-up's who want to grow fast, seem to want to hire growth marketeers (for instance chief growth officer’s), next to, or even instead of marketing ‘generalists’.

The risk is, that this can lead to fast, yet unsustainable growth, sometimes even at high(er) costs.

Yes, it can make sense to have specialists focussed on, for instance, business development, if you don’t want to run the risk of disturbing day-to-day, but there is something inherently dangerous if you separate ‘marketing’, from ‘growth’, or even separate from ‘brand’, ‘strategy’, and ‘digital’ (to consider ‘digital marketing’  separate of different from ‘marketing’ is very early noughties….).

What it often comes down to, is a lack of strategy to anchor everything in, or even an (alleged) difficulty to find the right people, for instance a well versed (fractional) CMO’s.

Being too close to your product, brand or industry can make you go blind!

We all do it, but especially for a marketeer it’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

You’re working (full time) on your product launch or brand marketing campaign, you attend industry events and read all the right publications.

Problem is, this can result in either being product focussed, repetitive, or self-serving.

It’s therefore vitally important to constantly ask questions like ‘why should people care?’, or even ‘so what?’ Even better, go out there and see what happens in the real world. Visit (online) stores, read forums / reviews, engage what your customers ask online or in customer services emails. Best of all, conduct regular research under your existing, lapsed, and potentially new customers.

A good way to get started is to make sure alarm bells go off and you speak up every time you hear ‘we’ve always done it like this’, ‘last time it worked, so it should work again’, ‘everyone is doing it’, ‘it is the industry standard’, ‘it has got some great features’ etc.

You have to stand up for what makes your customers give a shit….

Don’t believe the hype, don’t listen to insiders!

The biggest mistake marketers can make is to listen what people, other than the intended audience, think of your advertising creative.

Especially the opinion of your colleagues, peers, and industry insiders shouldn’t matter, on the contrary, as most of us are blinded by our own knowledge, preferences, and opinions.

Yes, you can and should make sure the (proposed) creative is in line with the brief, but whether or not it resonates (in the right way) with your target audience(s) is only something you can test.

You should also be careful with ‘only’ doing (quantitative) A/B testing, as it doesn’t give you the qualitative insight why something works, or doesn’t….

Especially if you work with significant budgets and / or also plan to use offline channels, you should test beforehand.

This should be part of your campaign planning, timelines, and budgets! 

Do you know why your ROAS is going down the drain?

This happens probably to a lot of us; paid campaigns which ‘suddenly’ stop performing, resulting in a worsening ROAS.

Especially with start or scale-up’s, who have had early success - and who might have based their growth plans on that success - can experience that what worked in the past, has become a lot harder, and therefore a lot more expensive.

The first thing which than usually happens is that the newly brought in marketing team or agency is being questioned, because when you were doing it, you had success, correct?

It might indeed be that mistakes have been made, and / or the (new) people / agency are less knowledgeable.

However, before you draw that, or any other conclusion, you should ask yourself:

- Do I know why the original campaign had success, and if so, is that still relevant?
- Have any changes been made to the campaign, if so, why?
- Do you know the size of the target audience, and if so, have you exhausted it? 
- Could this be a case of fatigue (either of the creative or within the target audience).
- Have changes been made to your acquisition channels; pricing, segmentation, (re) targeting, data capture, regulatory etc.?
- Is your customer journey / funnel / conversion / onboarding broken?
- Is your target audience still on those channels or have they moved somewhere else?
- Have you been overtaken by the competition in any way, shape or form?

I know all of this seems common sense, but you will be surprised how often these questions do NOT get asked.
Instead of keeping a cool head, panic sets in, and either blame is being dished out, arbitrary changes are made, or companies throw even more money at it, in the hope they can spend their way out of the situation.

Sounds familiar?

Key to receiving a successful response to brief

Whether you’re writing a brief for a launch, campaign, creative, or marketing project, there are 3 basic principles, key to receiving a successful response to brief from your agency or consultant.

1) Avoid being descriptive about the solution. You’re paying the experts, or at least someone for having an alternative solution / idea, so better make sure that’s what you’re getting! 
Do provide a clear framework and set of guidelines but keep these as open as possible. You want to be (pleasantly) surprised, not more of the same.
2) Provide as much as context possible. Don’t assume the agency or consultant have the same knowledge as you! Most people are so engrossed in their company / brand / product, they don’t have a realistic perception anymore of what is common knowledge. Make therefore sure you level the playing field as quickly as possible. This saves the team / person providing the response a lot of time, and therefore money. Often you can ask others in your organisation help gathering information.
3) Ask a playback of the brief. Before the agency or consultant get to work in earnest, ask them first to provide you with their interpretation of the brief. What is it they think you’ve asked them? Do they understand what you’re expecting or hoping? This will prevent unpleasant surprise and might save a lot of time in the future. Ultimately, a brief which is accepted by the agency, is a contract, so make sure both are clear about it!

Following these 3 basic principles should not only lead to a more successful response to brief, but should also save you time, and potentially money. 
Quite often a brief is delivered (too) late, because the agency / consultant is not used properly. Give them as much information as possible but let them do the problem solving, and ask them to ensure there is mutual agreement.

These principles also apply for a large part (especially 1 and 3) when you’re briefing an internal team.

Do you know the differences between demand generation, acquisition marketing, and performance marketing?

It's important to understand these terms if you want to maximize your marketing efforts.

Demand generation focuses on creating demand for a product or service through various marketing strategies, such as content marketing, social media, and email campaigns. The goal is to attract and engage potential customers and encourage them to take action, such as signing up for a free trial or requesting more information.

Acquisition marketing is all about acquiring new customers through targeted advertising campaigns. It involves identifying your target audience and using various channels, such as paid search, display advertising, and social media advertising, to reach them. The focus is on driving traffic to your website or landing page and converting that traffic into leads or customers.

Performance marketing, on the other hand, is all about achieving specific business goals, such as increasing revenue or improving customer acquisition rates, through measurable marketing tactics. It involves analysing data and optimising campaigns to achieve the desired results. Performance marketing can include various tactics such as pay-per-click advertising, affiliate marketing, and email marketing.

Understanding the differences between these three types of marketing can help you choose the right strategy for your business goals. For example, if you're looking to generate leads, demand generation may be the way to go. If you're focused on acquiring new customers, acquisition marketing might be the right choice. And if you're looking to achieve specific business goals, performance marketing can help you get there.

So, before you dive into your next marketing campaign, make sure you understand which type of marketing is most appropriate for your goals. Your bottom-line will thank you for it.

Stop confusing B2C with D2C!

Something which seems to happen more often is the confusion with / use of B2C, when people mean D2C.

B2B = marketing & selling to other businesses, without also marketing to consumers (in that region / country).
B2C = marketing & selling to businesses, whilst also direct marketing to consumers.
D2C = directly marketing & selling to consumers (which can be eCommerce, as well as Bricks & Mortar).

A company like Warhammer / Games Workshop for instance, does all 3.
B2B: sells to distributors in countries, where Games Workshop does not have any marketing and / or sales presence.
B2C: sells to retailers & chains in countries where it does have a (marketing presence).
D2C: markets & sells directly via its website, and its own stores.
B2C and D2C in this cases happens simultaneously in all countries.

I understand that because of the continued growth and importance of D2C eCommerce, people are looking for more ways to differentiate, but there is definitely value in keeping D2C and B2C separate.

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