Employing the services of most professionals is pretty clear cut. Thank goodness people aren’t allowed to promote themselves as a doctor, lawyer, accountant or dentist unless they have the right qualifications and can demonstrate they’re keeping up top date with their knowledge of new development in their professions. If we use the services of a builder or electrician we all know to check they’re registered.
Marketing consultants are a very different story, along with all the allied specialists including experts in public relations, writers, graphic designers, media planners and web developers. The list goes on and on.
Yes, there are institutes and associations which consultants can sign up to, but members seldom need to pass any exams or even demonstrate their competance beyond paying their subscriptions.
Checking out academic qualifications is a good start, but for heaven’s sake, make sure he or she has plenty of real-world experience. The universities in Adelaide are churning out marketing graduates, but I can assure you from personal experience that few of their lecturers have real-world marketing insight, let alone their students.
At the end of the day, the best measure of a marketing professional is the standard of work they have produced in the past. Just checking out the quality of a consultant’s website can be a surprisingly effective filter. Do they demonstrate the work they have done for other clients? Don’t be afraid to ask to talk to clients who have employed the consultant for similar services to yor needs.