The seven skills every CEO should look for when appointing a marketing consultant

Updated: Nov 6, 2018


Greenfield Marketing Consultants

1 Strategy

2 Key objectives

3 Experience

4 Training

5 Creativity

6 Perspective

7 Innovation

1. Strategy

A strategy is something best created with the CEOs input. It should not be confused with marketing objectives or goals. The marketing strategy should describe how you will achieve the stated goal in a way which is consistent with the mission (The mission statement could be, “to serve customers with care and attention and always delivering the best innovation first”).

Example: If you have unique patent for a product of service your strategy could be to be first to market and this would require a range of tactics to achieve this including finance, head count, manufacturing scale, market research, sales, marketing etc. The strategy should include all these elements plus the research to support the plan.


In many cases you will be a follower, challenger, nicher or late entrant to a market and both these situations require different approaches with very different strategies, and all types of entrants can, of course, be very successful. Example: You may enter the market as a low cost alternative using disruptive methods to attack the market leader. (Insurance, low cost flights, food retailing all have been disrupted by new entrants).

Because a clear strategy is key to profitability and long term success of your business and brand it is best to appoint outside help to oversee the creation of the plan while you and your team continue to get on with the day to day running of the business. Once the strategy is agreed and the plans rolled out a constant overview using a SWOT methodology should be used to regularly test the strategy is still correct.


Marketing strategy: A plan of action designed to promote and sell a product or service. “We use a number of marketing strategies to grow our business depending on the life cycle of our brands”

2. Key Objectives

'A goal properly set is halfway reached.‘ Zig Ziglar

As a CEO you have a wide range of projects, actions and tasks to perform. Keeping focus is critical to ensuring that you are not diverted away from the key objectives of the business. Top line objectives will be financial performance over 1,2 and 5 years and maybe not next week. It is therefore an advantage to have outside assistance to ensure the organisation remains focused on achieving the overall business goals and not being bogged down by day to day issues. The marketing consultant will hold regular sessions to focus you and your department heads on the overall goals and introduce schemes, ideas and solutions to ensure budgets and targets are achieved.

What we do:

1. Create an atmosphere of accountability to the strategy and plan

2. Ensure reporting and feedback of key objectives is front of mind

3. Become a private sounding board for the CEO and senior managers

4. Hear and respond to new ideas and alterations to the plan and ensure they are researched.

5. Reduce the number of objectives by analysing and promoting the most important

6. Set goals and targets and help achieve them..

7. The SMART way!


3. Experience

“The only source of knowledge is experience”. Albert Einstein

One of the most important parts of the consultants value add is the fact that we have done it before, we know the way, we know the pitfalls and have the solution.

Of course if this were completely true then delivery would be easy and someone would have branded and already sold it to you. The fact is that every business presents, like a patient, a unique set of symptoms many of which have been seen before but perhaps never in the same time frame. Marketing and sales is also constantly changing, driven by technology and consumer desire.


So like many things experience can be a double edged sword. In general the best consultants have a core expertise and the detailed knowledge of a number of sectors. It is easy to establish if a consultant has an understanding of your market and sometimes this is a great advantage. However for a consultant operating in a new sector can produce incredible results. In the case of Greenfield we started life as an IT focused consultancy working with the likes of BT, Intel and Microsoft these created expertise that was easily transferrable to other markets as the IT sector were first movers in the use of online marketing techniques.


Example: When Greenfield Computer Marketing launched an International Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham in 1999 they were the first company to use online ticket booking due to experience in the IT industry. The same thing happened again when we were asked to launch a financial product ‘Go’, the first digital camera from Fujifilm and rebrand Vosper Thornycroft (vtplc) we leveraged our experience in other markets to create a new and disruptive approach to established sectors.

4. Training

“The only source of knowledge is experience”. Albert Einstein

The amazing value-add of a consultant is the fact that everything we do becomes a part of your company’s DNA. We work with you to put programmes and strategies in place and you can take them forward yourself. Naturally we provide training and skills development programmes for your key staff to enable them to do this.

This effectively provides you with the opportunity to just use a consultant when you need new ideas and thinking. The day to day delivery can be administered cost effectively by your own team.

Skills improvement is a key part of developing your business and with the number and variety of tools available to marketeers it is essential that you are using the latest and most appropriate. Coaching is also part of the value add. The relationship you build with your consultant could be a huge benefit to your own ability to manage and understand all specialist areas of brand and marketing and drive the business to greater profitability of course.

5. Creativity

“If it doesn't sell, it isn't creative”. David Ogilvy

Creativity is a key part of marketing consultancy. Idea generation at every level is crucial to providing a rounded and effective service.

Important skills that must be delivered include:

• Business presentation skills

• Graphic design

• Online and conventional advertising

• Copy-writing

• Brand design

• Corporate identity design

• Social media advertising

In many instances the consultancy will deliver these components as these can be more effective than contracting a specialist design or advertising agency which would require additional management and cost. It will also enable more effective control of the strategy and marketing message which can become confused if a number of specialist agencies are used which then conflict.

6. Perspective

“A leader's role is to raise people's aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” — David Gergen

Many successfully CEOs understand that their reason for success is down to the feeling they create amongst their team, distributors, agents, opinion makers and most importantly their customers. This feeling is communicated and remembered every time your product or service is viewed or touched. If the company and the brand is trusted then because of this positive energy generated from the top and radiated by all involved many brands and companies are able to survive many problems. Poor products, financial crisis and even criminal damage can be overcome by ensuring that your businesses brands and image are managed well. This has to come firstly from the CEO with the board and senior managers as your vanguard.

Companies such as BP, Samsung, Apple, Pepsi, Virgin, and hundreds of others have overcome major issues due to the underlying strength of their brands. Ultimately a company is no more than the good favour its brands create.

A marketing consultant understands this complex relationship between leadership, brand, integrity and survival as it is in these situations where much work is done. It is the consultant’s task to help maintain perspective and concentrate on managing the core intangible asset of your business. The crisis management plan is part of your tool box for success.

7. Innovation

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”. Steve Jobs

The catalyst for growth and advancement comes from the creation of new ideas many of these ideas a born from new technology. Industry leaders maintain leadership by being the first with new upgrades new products and new services all hopefully protected by patent law (Consultants are good at patents and copyright).

It is the same for marketing consultants we are always first with the application of new ideas, inventions and techniques in the marketing world which will ensure your brand and products message will reach the target audience in the most effective and appropriate way using the best channel.



In the last 10 years marketing has changed so dramatically it is impossible for any CEO, marketing director or agency to understand exactly what the best tools are. The problem is that many agencies, members of staff and even your competitors will have try out and for this reason the last decade as been one of the most wasteful in company resources spent on new marketing methods.

A consultant must know and have a very high level of understanding of all the tools available for marketing and with this knowledge will use the tried and tested methods of researching an testing to ensure you do not fall into a marketing technology trap.

Stuart Greenfield, owner of the award winning creative marketing consultancy - Greenfield. With over 20 years in the creative and marketing business Stuart is an expert in marketing, change management, and a skilled creative thinking, film maker and author.

Northwood house, ward Avenue, Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 8AZ | www.greenfield.co.uk | E: stuart@greenfield.co.uk | +44 (0) 7788 662697

#GreenfieldMarketing #CEOskills #CEOsuccessseries #StuartGreenfield

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E : info@greenfield.co.uk

T: 07788 662697  

A: Greenfield Marketing, Northwood House, Cowes, Isle of Wight, PO31 8AZ.  (C) Greenfield Marketing 2018

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