Get my latest blog post direct to your inbox every week!


Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

07970 638857


Consultants: Are You Sabotaging Your Marketing Strategy?

It's a common thing to do ...


Posted by Jacky Sherman on 07/02/2024 @ 8:00AM

There is a common but often hidden, reason that as an independent consultant, your marketing strategy goes awry. It’s when you don’t marry up the purpose of the plan from both perspectives; your client and yourself ...

Whatever you choose to do, build in some measurement of how your marketing strategy is working!

Whatever you choose to do, build in some measurement of how your marketing strategy is working!

copyright: everythingpossible / 123rf

Let me explain. Most of us would agree that the purpose of a marketing strategy and plan is to get your message in front of your ideal clients in a manner that inspires them to give your offerings serious consideration. As a result, you will subsequently convert more of them to become paying clients.

The other purpose of the plan is to inspire you to do the necessary activities consistently and persistently to a high standard to reach and influence those potential clients

"Now, there's the rub!"

When starting up quite quickly you'll realise how much time and money you can spend on sales and marketing and how much is wasted. Now, there are lists galore on the Internet about what you need to do to get your offering in front of the people who want your services and even a few that offer advice on how to go about it.

In preparing this blog post, I Googled Types of Marketing and quickly came up with two long lists, both with well over 150 types of marketing approaches and that was just the first page! Browsing through them I found them to be a mixture of strategy and tactical actions.

If one adds the list of skills you need to devise your strategy and prepare your marketing messages and get them in front of this audience, it'll include developing a website, writing content to post online, managing your growing list of contacts and prospects and measuring the results.

It is easy to see how confusing and de-skilling this can be for a new consultant setting up on their own, As one of my contacts put it, "I need to sort out the marketing madness that's swimming around my head" and the only person available to do that is you!

And the temptation is to quite quickly put the ones you don't like or don't feel confident doing to one side and get around to them another day You know, all that stuff that doesn't even get onto your to-do list, that you gloss over as not right for your clients even though you have never tested that out.

Then there's your to-do list: the stuff you acknowledge needs to be done, but somehow that blog post never gets written or your diary is always full when that networking meeting is happening. In deciding what part of your personal marketing madness to work on, list out everything that provides at least some of the answers to these questions:

"Where and how do your ideal clients like to shop for consultancy services or at least be open to the influence of advertising?"

It seems obvious that in order to sell your offering you need to offer it in a manner that your potential customers like to shop or in the case of advertising is open to being influenced.

First is how they like to shop. Do they like to make the first approach or are they happy for you to make the first contact? Do they prefer to deal online or in person?

Here's a list of the main ways people shop for suppliers to their business. Those potential customers who like to make the first approach include those:

  • With policies to use formal tendering processes. This includes most corporate and Public sector organisations.

  • Searching online for suitable companies.

  • Approaching those they already know

  • Preferred provider lists

  • Previous suppliers (in this role or others)

  • Approach close business friends for recommendations

  • Visiting Expos and other events where their suppliers are exhibiting, presenting or attending

  • Responding to thought leaders and others who present their ideas online or in person

  • Accepting Cold Calls

  • Responding to advertising, direct and indirect on-line

The Key phrase here is, "How your client likes to shop". It's fairly straightforward to see how making the wrong approach may sabotage your marketing, but as the example below shows there are subtleties that can mean you miss opportunities as well as.

John had a problem. He had heard through the grapevine that a large national company was planning a major change programme worth £250,000 that was an exact fit with John's expertise and could open up a whole new market for him. He knew they didn't use formal tenders, but liked to use companies they already knew ... and they didn't know John.

However, John's brother-in-law (Ken) worked for them in a different part of the organisation and John was pretty sure that Ken could at least get him a hearing. John had strong ethical values around keeping work and family separate so was reluctant to put Ken in a difficult position. They had a family party coming up that weekend and Ken would be there.

With coaching, John came to see that he was deciding for Ken whether he could help or not and we worked through some ways he could approach Ken to see if he could help. As it happened Ken was delighted to help as it increased his stature within the organisation and as he was not involved in the project could not be accused of nepotism.

"What are the different methods you can use to get your message front of mind for these shoppers?"

The other way you can sabotage your marketing choices is through your own perception of your personal abilities at the different stages of the marketing process. The actual actions you are going to undertake to get that message consistently and persistently in front of your client in a manner that makes them give your offering serious consideration.

As an independent consultant, it is tempting to think that you can save money by doing all the roles yourself. What you're actually doing is substituting your time for that money. At best, you're shifting your workload to do more of the things you're less skilled at and at worst you avoid doing them at all.

Here's a list of some of the processes you will need to utilise in your marketing campaign. It is not comprehensive I'm sure you can add others simply by looking at how others tempt you to take their offerings seriously:

  • Strategy development. The key messages and outcomes you want from your campaign.

  • Service or product development

  • Contact Management (CRM)

  • Telephone cold calling

  • Email marketing

  • Sales

  • Customer care

  • Networking

  • Relationship Management, Referrals, strategic alliances

  • Copywriting

  • Website development

  • Search Engine Optimisation

  • IT skills

  • Video /presentation skills

  • Workshops

  • Social media strategy

  • Content management. Blogs, articles

  • Speaking engagement

Don't cross anything off until you have thought about it carefully and answered these questions:

  • Is this action an essential part of how your clients like to shop?

  • Do you have the skills to do this consistently and persistently to a high standard?

  • Are you willing to do this as part of your personal business activities?

  • Does this really need to be done by you?

  • Who else could do it for you?

  • If you weren't doing this how would you use the time?

Whatever you choose to do, build in some measurement of how well that strategy and actions are working for you. Pay particular attention to the things which constantly get pushed to the bottom of your to-do list. And lastly, be patient as with any marketing, there is often a lag between your action and the reaction of your clients.

Until next time ...



Would you like to know more?

If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about a marketing strategy for your independent consultancy, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 07970 638857. Let's have an initial chat over a coffee and see how I can help.

Share the blog love ...

Google AMP  /  Précis  

Share this to FacebookShare this to TwitterShare this to LinkedInShare this to PinterestShare this via Buffer

#TheConsultantsConsultant #Northampton #MiltonKeynes #UK