Why use a consultant?
Simply getting the message out may not always be enough in today's marketing environment. The leaflets have been sent, the posters are up, the adverts are in the magazines … but still the people you most want to see fail to attend. What has gone wrong?
Delivering the right audience for your organisation means clarity and honesty in your understanding of what you offer. It means realising what your audience wants from you and, significantly, understanding how the individuals who make up your audience listen to what you have to say. Arts audiences are disparate, just like any other. A museum attendee's motivation differs from that of a small commercial gallery devotee. And the incentive for people taking part in events, family or educational activities may come from outside themselves as much as from within. As for tourism, the mainsprings for travel may indeed be universal, but the factors influencing them to choose your attraction rather than the theatre down the road, are many and intermingled.
Bread and butter
All bread and butter stuff for any self-respecting marketing professional? Of course it is. But how many marketing professionals, carrying the hopes of their organisation, find themselves squeezed for time and money? Forced to play the numbers game, they go for the main target, use the standard tools, and regretfully set aside researching and working with the quality and texture of their audience. How often do they say, 'Yes, I would think more broadly, I could mine more deeply… if only I have a little more time'?
A flexible resource
That is where a flexible but focused freelance communications expert can make sense, whether as an extra resource and another perspective on your main campaign, or to take and nurture a smaller but significant strand that barely gets a look-in at the annual Marketing Strategy review. Or a one-off event or celebration might offer profile-raising potential in a niche market, but must be dealt with in addition to the main tasks.
An inside outside view
Crucially amongst marketing consultants, I spent many years working inside large and medium-sized organisations before, as a freelance, working with clients of all sizes. Whether in the arts, education, local authority or voluntary sectors, or for small-scale commercial and tourism enterprises, I know that every penny - and every person - has to deliver the maximum. But, along with an insider's understanding I bring an outsider's ability to question and analyse both the accepted objective and the accepted practices.
A key part of my way of working, therefore, is get to the heart of who the real target audience is and the core message to be given. I then work to find solutions to your communications challenge that capitalize on the in-house systems and the resources at your disposal. Drawing on my experiences, I am able to identify the most efficient methods of carrying projects forward and, where needed, I transfer new skills to permanent staff by working alongside them. One very effective way of improving your skills in responsive marketing is to attend one of my invigorating communications workshops, now run through a variety of training providers.