There are a lot of terms in the marketing world with confusing context. A lot of that comes down to sales — people will call themselves certain things or reference terms and credentials because they sound impressive, even when doing so confuses the issue.

In this case, a lot of people that call themselves marketing consultants are really sales people. But calling themselves sales reps makes it harder to get in the door of their business prospects, and since quite often they’re selling marketing services, the term seems to fit.

But if someone is representing an agency to sell a product, they’re not really consulting because they have an unavoidable bias toward one solution.

That’s not said to trash anyone, but there’s really no way to clarify or talk about this concept without pointing that bit out.

Consulting means refocusing time.

My #1 goal for all the clients I work with is to help them solidify their message from a position of deliberate action.

A simple example of this is taking a step back with business owners to assess what they’ve been spending their time and money doing to promote themselves, and see if those things still make sense.

With how often the industry touts that everyone needs to be all over social media, many business owners think they need to be everywhere and get frustrated at just how much time that entails. When you’re a small business you probably don’t have the budget to hire someone full time to manage that, but how else can it get done?

Marketing feels like that when it’s inefficient.

Depending on the type of business you’re running, your audience may not even be on a given social platform. If the bulk of your audience is on Linkedin, for instance, you may be spinning your wheels putting all your efforts into Facebook.

In that case, you won’t find the solution in asking, “How can I do Facebook better?” but rather, “What can I do instead?”

If you’ve been running ads that haven’t produced the results you’d hoped for, it’s worth exploring the following:

  • Is the audience you’re targeting the most likely to engage?
  • Is your ad’s presentation speaking the right language to appeal to that audience?
  • Are your goals/expectations realistic for what you’re spending?
  • Is the ad platform the right one? There are plenty of situations where digital outperforms traditional ads, but also cases where it’s better to stick with mailers and radio ads.

When growth is the only agenda…

I have vendors I like to refer to because they’re reliable and do a good job. However, I’m not beholden to them. My recommendations are honest because I only refer to those people as long as they continue getting results and doing what they say they’ll do.

And because I’m not representing an agency when I make these recommendations, we can plan big picture. A sales rep for a web design agency wants to sell websites, and therefore a new website is the solution for everyone they encounter.

There is no catch-all silver bullet for marketing. Having a website is certainly an important piece of modern marketing, but it’s not always the best place to begin. And if the business already has a website, redesigning it may not be the best use of money in a given month.

I tell all of my clients this: When we work together, my only loyalty is to you.