“Adrienne gave me wonderfully fresh ideas for marketing my business at a big conference last Fall. They worked! I got two big clients from it!”

Janell Osborn White Space Graphics,LLC



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Choosing a Marketing Consultant, Part 2

by in Business Marketing
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Choosing a Marketing Consultant, Part 2

On the heels of our previous blog, here are some questions to ask a prospective marketing consultant or marketing firm, plus one question not to ask.

  • What kind of marketing do you do?
  • What size companies do you prefer to work with?
  • What results have you achieved for some of your clients?
  • How many Marketing Plans have you written?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how would you rank yourself or your firm in the implementation of your clients’ Marketing Plans?  What were the strong and weak points?
  • What are your favorite marketing strategies?
  • What do you look for in a client?
  • What can we expect from you?
  • How do you feel about providing two references?

You might be interested to know that, as I approach my 38th anniversary in business, I’ve only been asked for references three times!  Of course many clients have already heard me speak, so they have a good idea of my marketing philosophy. When they agree, they contact me.


The question not to ask is the one that everyone emphasizes, and it’s meaningless in my book:  “what experience do you have in our industry or profession?”   Those who focus on my experience in their industries are, to a person, uncreative and insecure.  They’re overly logical, while marketing is emotional.   They know precious little about what to expect from marketing, and they demand narrow expertise that pertains to them.  We aren’t great fits.

One of the downsides of someone who is too industry-specific is the proliferation of formulized thinking.  It’s fine if they have some knowledge of your industry or profession, but you don’t want rehashed ideas.  You want enthusiasm and differentiation.

Of all the speaking I do, a great deal has been in the audio/video, residential construction/remodeling, photography and printing industries.  I’ve spoken at their conferences year after year.

What I knew about these industries when I started speaking for them decades ago and then acquiring attendees as clients, would fit under the nails of my pinkie fingers, with room to spare.  Companies hire my firm, because they like what they hear.  It all comes down to confidence, comfort level and trust. 

Here’s what’s important:  you know your business, and your consultant knows  marketing.  Not just social media, not just websites, not just media advertising, not just newsletters, not just public relations; you get the idea.  A really good marketing consultant asks lots of questions, listens attentively, probes into your marketing culture and makes suggestions.  With a combination of your knowledge of your business/industry and your consultant’s insights into marketing, you will be a truly dynamic duo!

It’s enlightening to interview marketing consultants.  You can learn a great deal.  Hold out for someone who knows the ins and outs of marketing, which, by the way, is very different from promoting your in-house graphic designer to marketing director, because you can get her cheap.  It’s not what you spend; it’s how you spend it.

Be innovative!  Show a healthy respect for what marketing can bring to your company’s table.  Marketing will help your company grow, if you get out of your own way.


Need some help with your Marketing Plan?  

Visit www.azobleassoc.com for information on our “Do-able Marketing Plan” workbook and “10-Minute Marketing Plan” program.  

Big news!

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You may also visit Udemy.com to sign up for our just-approved fourth course: “Over 100 Ways to Grow your Business.”

Now through February 2nd, you can register for just $23.00, instead of the usual $29.00 cost.  It’s time to jumpstart your business!  Click here for your 20% coupon!.


And don’t forget to order our 2015 e-Schmoozing Calendar, just $17.95.  The Calendar will offer you 12 months of ideas of whom to invite for breakfast, lunch or coffee every week.  There’s a script that’s pertinent to one of each month’s schmoozing suggestions, to make those initial calls easier for you.  Our Schmoozing Calendar is a terrific bargain and a great way to embark upon face-to-face, immediately effective marketing!



Adrienne was a New Jersey public speaker and business expert for over THIRTY years. Now she’s a marketing and referral consultant. Denver and Northern Colorado have depended on her since her arrival here over 12 years ago.

Consulting and speaking to business owners and executives of growing businesses throughout the United States since 1977, Adrienne Zoble has guided companies toward marketing strategies that help them work smart, not hard.