As we continue our Q&A series on inbound marketing trends for 2014, we come to an exceptionally important aspect of the Kuno Creative construct: consulting. Inbound marketing consultants are the glue that holds the entire team—from strategic accounts managers and technologists to content marketers and designers—together and keep the clients in-the-know of what we’re working on and why.
Here, Senior Consultants Shannon Fuldauer and Justine Timoteo break down the role of the consultants to examine its evolution and to explore how it’s likely to change this year.
How has the role of an inbound marketing consultant evolved from 2013 to 2014?
Justine: Inbound Consulting has evolved in two ways. First, there is a renewed focus on a personalized user experience. In 2013, separate social media and web campaigns created different paths, catering to different audiences. Now, it’s important to merge those pathways to build a stronger customer relationship throughout the user’s journey.
Secondly, we’ve found a delegated team approach seems to work best. Last year, I found myself working on several aspects of a project, for example, editing blogs, creating landing pages and managing content. This year, we’ll be managing campaigns by directing the overall strategy of the project, efficiently using the skills of individual team members rather than hopping from one job to the next ourselves.
We’ve talked a lot about all team members contributing to strategy in this series. How does that affect the consultant’s role as a strategist?
Justine: The expertise our team members bring to the table is invaluable. As consultants, we leverage their experience and insight to implement the best course of action for our clients. Obviously, different team members are more knowledgeable in their respective profession than the consultants, but we focus on how best to orchestrate their skills. Developers, designers and writers offer unique, in-depth perspective to enrich our deliverables. Group involvement is a necessity that benefits everything we do. Today, there is no one-man marketing show.
Shannon: Adding to that, I think it’s important to tap our team for nontraditional resources. It’s not about relying on one specific member on the development or leadership team, but rather taking advantage of the wealth of insight we have as a collaborative, diverse team. In terms of timeliness and creative quality, depending on one individual can harm the final deliverable.
What are your predictions for inbound marketing consulting in 2014?
Shannon: As Justine mentioned, consultants will stop focusing on individual aspects of a project and start looking at separate channels and customer pathways as a whole. Additionally, we’ll start to see more marketers adopt automated platforms to deliver a personalized experience. New tools are constantly coming out to better monitor and convey client content. It will be important for consultants to truly comprehend the tools at their disposal to go beyond today’s standard analytics, effectively gaining the upper hand on what really constitutes as effective content.
Justine: I feel the divide between outbound and inbound will start to shrink. Lately, I’ve been discussing with my clients the need to produce a consistent voice across outbound print and inbound efforts. Unified, coordinated marketing language strengthens both brand and customer relationships.
What is one thing inbound marketing consultants need to know to be successful in 2014?
Justine: The No. 1 aspect of consulting I’ll be focusing on is constantly keeping my clients in the loop. In order to do so, I’ll position myself to be several steps ahead to tackle potential changes in pipeline flow. For example, staying updated on social and search algorithms are a priority to me as I maintain a transparent rapport with my client. I want my clients to have assurance in our services, and I can achieve this by staying informed in all of aspects of digital marketing.
Shannon: With regards to Inbound, it’s not just about pushing out content. Going through the process of “buyer discovery” and implementing a collaborative strategy is essential to the success of your digital presence.
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photo credit: lumaxart