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  • Claire Vincent

Oh no...not another consultant

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

My name is Claire Vincent and I’m a Marketing Consultant. There, I’ve said it.

Why is it, when introducing myself to people I’ve not met before in a company, that I find myself saying:

“Sorry it’s a horrible job title....just think of me as a of the team...independent but part of the company....”.

Why am I apologising for being an independent freelance marketer? Perhaps I’m anticipating that people are thinking “Oh here we go, someone who doesn’t know anything about our business, thinking they know it all, charging us a lot of money to give advice and suggest solutions that have no place in our organisation...."

Well, that’s not me.

Having been happily brought up as a marketer at Boots working on some brilliant brands with brilliant people, it’s been ten years since I set up on my own as a freelance marketing consultant under the name of BrightWhite Marketing. Having worked on both sides of the fence, I know the pressures that marketers are under to deliver year on year growth – it’s hugely rewarding and a great industry but it can be tough and challenging.

Here are some of the things that I learned from being employed:

  • When you know your business inside out, it’s nigh on impossible to be able to take an external see things from the outside in. You’re just too close to it. Those who are slightly removed from the organisation will have a different perspective and will see things as they are...sometimes that can feel a bit uncomfortable but it’s good to discuss those tensions as they lead to better solutions.

  • There is never enough time to look at the bigger picture; a focus on short term growth, the day to day demands of managing people and a business means that finding the time to look to the future can get lost. The odd awayday here and there often isn’t enough to create a clear, value-creating long term strategy. It takes time, head-space and stepping away from the detail to consider the possibilities, review the trends and the competition, find the white spaces, and create a truly inspiring vision that people fall in love with.

  • Knowing your business can mean putting up barriers to growth...”Hmmm we tried that a few years ago”, “I don’t think we can stretch that far”, “I don’t think that will work”. We should never ignore the knowledge and expertise within a business - it’s gold dust - but we should turn these barriers into learnings, consider (with an open mind) what we could do differently, break down the issues to find solutions and use a ‘we can if...’ attitude to identify opportunities.

  • The needs of a business are always changing. Just when you thought you’d got the perfect team in place, a new opportunity needs exploring, a brand is acquired, a team member moves on. There’s almost always too much to do. Constantly recruiting isn’t always the answer. Sometimes there’s a short term need where you just need someone (who doesn’t need their hand holding) to come in and help.

  • Sometimes you just want a fresh pair of eyes. There’s a reason creatives work in pairs and there’s a lot of truth in the old adage ‘Two heads are better than one’. Having someone, who is on your side, to bounce ideas off, run things past, review strategies, plans and processes can turn something good into something brilliant.

So, after ten years of being a Marketing Consultant (sorry....), here are a few things I’ve learned:

  • ·A client has a far better knowledge of their business than I will ever have; so the key to getting better outcomes is to work in partnership combining their internal expertise with my external perspective and’s the combination that creates the magic. It’s always a collaborative affair.

  • Businesses are forever changing, evolving and shifting so having the perfect team in place at all times to meet all eventualities is impossible. I have fitted into teams as these resource gaps appear; managing a brand that has been acquired, looking into new contiguous categories, working with the global team on new growth platforms, identifying and creating new brands at the early stages and, as one client put it, looking into all those opportunities that she never has the time to do.

  • You can be a team member and not be employed. I’ve built up long term trusted relationships with clients by working with them as a team, in partnership, valuing what we each bring. I’m not competing with other team members, we are working together to create something we all believe in.

  • Just because I’m not on the payroll, doesn’t mean I’m not loyal. Quite the opposite. I don’t have any right to the work that is given to me, I’m not automatically going to get work (or paid) next month, I’m only as good as the last piece of work I’ve done so I have to earn my place as a team member. If I’m not adding value, I haven’t done my job and I’ll have no place in the, I’m incredibly loyal...I’m earning my place every day without exception.

...and some of the things I can offer as a freelancer:

  • I’ve built up an ever-growing wealth of knowledge and experience in healthcare, wellness and nutrition over the last twenty years...and this space is getting more exciting.

  • I’m a one man band with no overheads. I get paid for my time...that’s it. You’re not paying for my office or laptop or holidays or training. And when you don’t need me, you can let me go (hopefully, until next time).

  • I’m efficient because I can focus on the task in hand without the distractions of day to day life in an office. Away from the demands of managing people and the business, I have the head space to identify strategies and growth opportunities that fit with the business and are based on customer insight. It means I can get a lot done.

  • I respect your knowledge and expertise; collaboration without egos delivers the best results...results that everyone buys in to.

So, if you’d like to be able to call on extra marketing support as and when you need have someone loyal who can bring an external perspective and healthcare and nutrition knowledge and has full respect for the internal expertise, who can make life that bit easier by lightening the load, who works as a member of your team...maybe a marketing consultant could be just what you are looking for.

Feel free to get in touch - I’d love to chat.

Claire Vincent

Freelance Marketing Consultant

07715 698999

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