Have you heard lately? People in organizations say beware of the consultants. They borrow your watch and tell you the time!
There is a reason for that. From top 5 consulting giant firms, to any Tom-Dick-Harry, everyone is saying they are consultants. From coaches, mentors, palm readers, salespersons and marketers, suppliers, computer geeks, web designers, coders, and anybody that is a solo business owner, they call themselves consultants too!
Well, there are management consultants, technical consultants, executive coaches, psychological counsellors, legal advisors, and many more are plenty around in different professions.
The marketplace is field with consultants of various stripes and colors, peddling different sorts of solutions based on various formula and potions.
Nowadays, there is a bit of cynicism about consultants because not all are good, not all are ethical, and not all could make it in six-figure take home income.
There may be hundred of consultants in one room but there is a huge diversity in application, in background, in skills set, in expertise, in geographical, sectoral experience, and many other essential variables.
It is up to the discerning client or prospective client to figure out the fake from the true ones, filter out the noisy from the substantive elements, and engage those that have actually created real value to comparable organizations in this sector. This is not a daunting task and more and more organization need that extra third party, objective, external validator, verifier, sounding board, advisor to accelerate your growth goals to the next level.
-Check them out. Get recommendations and references from previous clients.
-Know what you really want to achieve in every transaction. Just like any partnership, it should be a win-win proposition.
-Does this person have the credibility, integrity, expertise, and connection that you need? Are there things in your list that are a must or good-to-have?
-Don't go around shopping for the cheapest one. Price is not a predictor of value. Look for quality, value, and undisputed credibility in the field.
Whether you are buying a training material, planning a company retreat, or designing a performance management program, know you needs versus what your want. This will save you lots of time, effort, and troubles.
Take it from me. I am a consultant.
I have been browsing some websites of organizations lately.
I noticed a few things that stand out from my observation.
1. Websites that are dated are not tended and updated on a regular basis.
2. Websites that are unattractive are dated and not updated too.
3. Websites of organizations that are unattractive have disadvantages because people do not want to spend more time learning about the organization, therefore not being able to get them to donate, get involved, and become their supporters
4. Websites that are not well-maintained reflects the organization in a negative light, either they are too preoccupied with their operations, have no resources to get better websites or they do not care how they look online
All these things are assumptions people tend to make when they visit a website and found it lacking in many ways.
What we see with our own eyes is reality. And when we a great website, we know that the organization is probably great or doing a good job with their mission. These assumptions are made on the basis of the first impression- the online presence.
Make your online presence the best representation of the organization- interesting, relevant, and well-differentiated.
This is one of the best questions you can ask an organization.
What business are you in?
If you are selling ice cream, you can't be selling computers next year. That is out of your character, identity, and your mission.
If selling the highest quality of ice cream all over the world is your objective, then please stick to that and do not attempt to be the best of something else, or else, you lose your personality and you confuse your audience, market, and buyers.
The tendency to be-all for everyone is a strong temptation. Resisting is a must if you can be seen as a credible player in your field. The marketplace is very unforgiving. It does not care if you lose focus or patience. It is for the quickest and the strongest of all.
Clear differentiation is the best weapon for businesses to stand out in the crowd. You may be the best barber or social media or marketing professional, but if you do not provide the clear value proposition and significant difference from the pack, it will be hard to attract the right audience for what you do.
It is in the mind of your audience that you have be in the front, centre, and clearly the best choice of all.
Build a Bear just had a major marketing disaster. Their Get your Age Bear was a big failure.
Thousands were turned away, disappointed moms and kids queueing up for their bears. They should have seen it coming in thousands and they know that they will not be able to handle the overwhelming demand from consumers. This is an ill-thought and ill-executed marketing campaign.
It could have been done well if they have segmented the market where they will start the campaign, pre-positioned the inventory and staff needed to run on those campaign days, and then provide an online alternative for parents to get them online and pick up on different days. The chaos will definitely ensue and that any small store in the mall will be totally engulfed.
Marketing is the engine of any business. If done well, it can boost up sales, customer support, and increase profitability. When done it a wrong way, it can turn away the precious customer affection that takes years to build and nurture.
The CEO apologizing for the disaster the following day is a good mitigation strategy but that it did not vanquish the frustration from the incident. The next Bear the Big marketing event may not get the benefit of the doubt and the marketers may have to grin and bear the consequences.
What happens after a marketing failure sets apart good companies. This is where a good PR can save the day.