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BEST PRACTICE: Using consultants

Consultancy receives mixed reviews. Possibly because good news does not make the news, so we only hear about it when it misfires, such as the alleged $110 million paid to Wolf Olins for the bizarre suggestion that the Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) consultancy should demerge from its accountancy arm as 'Monday'. However, good consultants are often the unsung heroes of companies large and small, which have been given wise guidance concerning business and marketing plans that fit into the strategy.

The problem for smaller organisations is two-fold: recognising when to call in a marketing consultant and knowing how to find one. Some creative marketing agencies appear to be offering consultancy services, but there is a marked difference.

Leon Edwards, marketing consultant and proprietor of The Marketing Helpdesk, comments, A good agency will ask what you want to achieve and why. If they don't ask, they are creative rather than strategic.