One of my earliest friends from social networking is Sunny whom I met back in 2004!
I call her my friend/mentor/soul sista because she really is one of the smartest women I know (and I happen to know lots of smart women but she really takes the cupcake, icing and all!). 😉
She’s really good at what she does and I love a woman who can call bullshit, well, bullshit.
Haha. Sunny will love me for this!
I decided to interview her because I know she will be utterly honest and utterly mad. She lives in Manila by the way but she can probably work anywhere (hey, this is the Internet age right?).
If you want to find out more about her or hire her for her brains, you can stop by her blog. She’s a blast I tell you!
But before that, read on to see how Sunny tackles my questions.
1. What annoys you most as a marketing consultant?
Many things, we could be here forever. But to name a few:
When clients get flaky but I have learned to take this in stride, though, because being flaky is part of a client’s DNA.
When clients sit so long on a plan then harass me to get it done in 10 minutes. I have never joined the Olympics. I do not intend to begin now.
When clients have every Tom, Dick and Harry review marketing projects. It’s not that my ego cannot take it but it would be nice if they can have someone who is also a marketing person review the work instead of just anybody in their organization. That way, I can have some real criticism I can work with.
You don’t ask a plumber to check the work of an electrician.
When clients are not realistic about their business goals. Have you never seen a zero in your life that you must be so enamored by it?!
When I work with clients’ agencies who forget their core competence is advertising or PR, not marketing.
A brilliant communications campaign does not make you a marketing strategist. What you are is an excellent communications strategist and there is a world of difference between the two that doesn’t have anything to do with spelling alone. I am very good at what I do but I am not under the illusion that I am an excellent advertising or PR person because, clearly, communications is not my forte. For that, I need an agency.
2. Who would be great as a customer?
I don’t really have an ideal client in mind. I have, however, a dream marketing situation.
I would like to work on a campaign that salvages a brand from disaster like the Tylenol fiasco or the E-Coli problem of Jack-In-The-Box.
Working on such challenging campaigns would tell me if I am really as good as I think I am. Or, I’m just being delusional about my marketing skills.
3. How does marketing consultation work and how long does it take?
I think of myself as a marketing director for rent. You cannot afford a marketing head, you hire a consultant. Or, if you’re not satisfied with your marketing team, you hire a consultant to go in and fix it to your satisfaction.
The work basically involves providing a coherent marketing direction. Generally, what any marketing exec does except cheaper because you don’t pay the consultant benefits and perks. Just the flat rate of their professional fee.
The length of time of any marketing consultation depends on the project involved. Marketing is a long process so a usual consultancy project could last from a minimum of 3-6 months to a maximum of 1 year.
4. What gets you revved up daily about your work?
The challenges that go with it.
Marketing is never boring or predictable. So, everyday, there is always a challenge to overcome. Everyday is always exciting in marketing.
5. When do you think you will retire?
The day I win a prestigious literary award (even if it’s not first place) is the day I retire from marketing. Because, then, I know I have what it takes to be a writer.
My passion for marketing is only topped by my passion to write.
6. How does one hire a marketing consultant?
Usually, through referrals.
7. Do you cost the earth and the planets?
It depends on the project.
If it’s something I know I will enjoy, I don’t mind negotiating on my fees. If it’s something I truly believe in or I’d be working for people I respect, I will even do it pro bono. Not everything is about money.
I choose projects I like. I don’t choose based on the money alone. I have declined projects despite the zeroes because a) I don’t like it, b) I don’t believe in it and; c) I don’t like the people I’ll be working with.
What people have to understand is that you’re buying talent and brains. Those things cost and they never come cheap. If they were cheap, neurosurgeons wouldn’t be expensive either.
8. How do I pick a great consultant from a so-so one?
There is no such thing as a great consultant. There is just, at best, an effective consultant.
I think clients should choose a consultant they have a connection with. Your consultant will be privy to your innermost thoughts. So, it is important that you find one your guts like and trust.
Budget is also a consideration. The more prominent the consultant, the higher the fee. However, brilliant consultants and high professional fees are not always synonymous to each other.
Naturally, credentials and experience. Just because you can do excellent marketing work in certain industries doesn’t mean you’ll do the same in any industry.
My experience lies in FMCG, pharma and tourism/hospitality. If you ask me to work on marketing financial services, I will be a major disaster.
If you want more of Sunny Cervantes, go get more of her at her Marketing Addict blog.