In this article, I'll cover a few clear signs that signal you need the help of a consultant.

What Exactly Does a Marketing Consultant Do?

In short, a consultant does your marketing dirty work.

They develop clear strategies to meet your company's goals - everything from defining your target audience to determining your messaging and the most effective channels to use to reach that audience.

Then, they execute or oversee the plan, monitoring results and tweaking methods where necessary.

A good marketing consultant can work with you or your team to identify existing flaws and create solutions.

Often, they specialize in a specific area, including digital marketing strategy, social media marketing, SEO, and PPC, etc.

Use Caution When Hiring a Marketing Consultant

Consultants are generally considered to be experts in their field.

Unfortunately, you don't actually have to be an expert to call yourself one.

And these days, "consultants" are popping up more than ever - qualified or not.

Don't make the mistake of hiring the first one you find. Instead, look for the following when hiring a consultant:

Do they have the required qualifications? Those being a degree in marketing (perhaps a masters) or a related field, proven experience and results, and work history with a larger company in the marketing department.

Do they have digital experience? Whether or not you're currently focusing on digital strategy, it's a clear warning sign if a marketing consultant isn't familiar with digital marketing in this day and age.

Do they have an area of expertise? While ideally your consultant will at least be familiar with all aspects of the marketing field, they generally come with an expertise in a given area. It could be digital, social media, content marketing, etc., and who you choose should align with your current goals.

Do they have experience with your industry? No two industries are exactly alike, and neither are their marketing strategies. While someone with little experience in your industry could still be successful, it's reassuring to hire someone who has worked in your industry and had proven success in that niche.

Signs You Need to Hire a Marketing Consultant

1. You Need Extra Hands

This is especially true for small businesses and startups.

Often, that signals limited budget and manpower for things like marketing strategy and execution.

The problem? Smaller businesses are usually the ones that need it the most.

If you find that you don't have enough manpower to deliver a full marketing strategy, or are taking on most of the work yourself, you could seriously benefit from a consultant.

They will work with you and your team to decipher goals that will ultimately grow your business, and you'll have the reassurance of a marketing expert on hand to guide your efforts.

2. Your Team Needs Training

Perhaps you do have the manpower.

But maybe they could use a little training and management, and the expertise a consultant can offer.

One of the benefits of a marketing consultant is that they can offer personalized services and oversee the execution.

For example, if you have a staff member who struggles with social media returns, a consultant can identify where the problem lies and train your staff members to be more effective marketers.

3. You Need a Solid Marketing Strategy That Gets Results

As any successful marketer knows, achieving results starts with a solid strategy.

Marketing strategies are created to identify your company's ultimate goals and the ways in which they can be reached.

But many unfamiliar with the process simply skip the strategy and go straight to the deliverables. Not surprisingly, that tactic is often met with less-than-stellar results.

If you're investing in marketing (which you absolutely should), you simply can't afford a strategy that doesn't work, backfires, or worse - doesn't exist.

Save yourself the time and worry by bringing in an expert who can guide all marketing activities and ensure tangible results.

4. Business Has Stalled or you Find Yourself Stuck in a Rut

If this is you, don't panic; most businesses have faced a plateau at some point.

Instead of focusing on dips in traffic or stagnant sales, look at it as an opportunity for fresh ideas or a new creative direction.

Maybe your team just needs a push, someone new to bounce ideas off of.

Maybe you've been sticking with the same old social media or content marketing plan, and it's simply time to shake things up.

Either way, a consultant can offer strategic insights and ideas on how to successfully implement a change.

Added bonus: marketing consultants are also up-to-date with the newest tools and technologies.

So if you're not aware of the newest trends in social media or using the latest research tools, it's time to bring in someone who is.

5. You're Trying too Many Things, and None of Them are Working

Social media? Check.

Blog? Check.

PPC? Check.

SEO working? Check.

Results? ...Blank.

You may be trying all the right things, but sometimes what you really need is someone to reign your team in and set them on a clear path to success.

That someone? You guessed it - a marketing consultant.

A consultant will take all those pieces and fit them into a strategic plan, ensuring each action has a purpose and contributes to the bigger picture.

Wrapping Up Hiring A Marketing Consultant

Now that you know the signs, you should have a better idea of whether or not you're in need of a marketing consultant.

If you find that you are, remember: take your time. Check qualifications and be confident in your choice.

Then, step back and let them put their expertise to good use.