Is a Marketing Coach Actually What You Need?

marketing coach drinking teaTea Silvestre, talented proprietress of The Word Chef, asked some of her friends this question: Do you have any cautionary tales or tips on hiring the right Marketing Coach? While I think she’s putting together the replies into something more substantial than a quick blog post, I thought I’d give her my thoughts here, and share her results with my audience later on.

The notion of a Marketing “Coach” comes with some expectations and assumptions that might not be a great fit for many businesses. I would think of a Coach as someone who shares a lot of possibilities and provides encouragement on an ongoing basis, leaving the actual hard work to the client.

Where this can fail the client is that every small business has very limited time and resources. It’s easy enough to get a client excited about all that (social) media has to offer, but three weeks later, everyone’s busy, deadlines loom, and guess what gets pushed to the side first?

A seasoned Marketing Consultant will weigh the needs of the company, the market they currently reach and want to reach, how they are already marketing, what budget they have, what internal resources they have and the skill-set of those people, what they can easily implement technologically and what might take more significant development, what the balance is between short-term wins and long-term strategic planning, and so much more.

I’d consider asking some of the following questions to weed out the truly seasoned marketing professionals from a less-experienced circus of coaches, gurus and experts (assuming that this would be lean towards internet marketing and social media):

  • Who are your clients and what specifically did you do for them?
  • What experience do you have in my market segment?
  • How do you measure success? What do you draw from metrics that is actionable?
  • How do you determine ROI? CPA?
  • What has Twitter done for you? What’s it good at, what’s it not good at?
  • How do you do keyword research and how is it best used?
  • Is what I’m doing going to help in the short term or are we building a long-term foundation? Why?

When looking for some marketing help, remember that there’s no mandatory certification process. There’s no MD or JD or PhD after someone’s name. There may not be a whole lot to go on other than what they tell you. So do some homework, look into their background, ask some tough questions and find the right person who can fit with your organization, whether that’s a Coach or Consultant or Agency or Guy or Gal.

lovely tea image h/t nkzs


  1. Excellent advice, Tyler! Yes – there’s definitely a diff between coaches and consultants. Thanks for your thoughtful response. I’ll be sure to share the end result (of my survey) with you and your readers.

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