A quick FAQ about stuff that consultants know and do, that maybe you would like to learn.
Why should I bother reading this? Aren’t consultants horrible people?
You’re right, consultants have a bad rap. They are renown for providing vague answers, billing too much and leaving problems unsolved.
Seriously, what is a Consultant?
Consultants provide value to companies and individuals by delivering their domain knowledge & techniques.
Some types of consultants are experts in such specific fields that we now call them with specific names, like accountants, lawyers and architects.
How would you define Entertainment Marketing?
Marketing when applied to cultural entertainment products becomes Entertainment Marketing. If you’re promoting a movie, a theater play, a tv show, a tv series, a festival, an award show: that’s Entertainment Marketing.
Do you call yourself an Italian marketing consultant?
Marketing is linked to history, language and cultural norms. To be an effective marketer you need to have a profound knowledge of the country and its population. This is why I focus my marketing consulting on the country where I was born and raised.
What does Digital Marketing have to do with Entertainment Marketing?
In the past 10 years the entertainment marketing budgets have shifted towards digital. This new branch of marketing requires all new skills, and brings all sorts of efficiencies (it costs less, delivers more data and results).
My expertise is both technological and humanistic: this helped me bring digital expertise to cultural and entertainment products.
How do you become a digital marketing consultant?
My suggestion is to start by applying for a job or internship in a company that buys marketing or an agency that provides marketing services. Once you’ve seen the business from the inside, then you can start your own practice.
What’s so special about entertainment marketing?
People that succeed in entertainment love entertainment.
If you love movies, shows, documentaries, plays, festivals you will fit right in.
If entertainment leaves you cold: apply your skills to more profitable sectors like marketing for finance, insurance or luxury.
In what way is your offering unique? Aren’t consultants a dime a dozen?
Every time you hire a consultant, you hire the sum of their experiences.
In my case, clients buy startup culture matched with multinational survival skills united with a strong passion for tech and content, all at the same time. They hire an expert in franchises like the Wizarding World, launches like Netflix in Italy, channels ranging from theatrical to TVOD.
That’s what I call unique, and this unique approach shows in all my case studies.
How will I know which unique consultant is right for me?
The expert that matches your needs should show empathy and clarity.
Empathy will allow them to understand your needs and sync with your goals. Clarity will allow them to communicate their strategies & techniques clearly so that you always know exactly what they are doing and why.
How does being a consultant compare to being in corporate?
The type of work you do inside or outside of a big company is similar. What changes is the stability guaranteed by being on the inside and the opportunities to observe the corporate machine and learn from it. On the outside you’re still part of the hierarchy: you don’t have one boss, but many of them in the form of clients. And you need to live with the instability of having lots of work today and (possibly) no work tomorrow.
Do consultants work alone?
Any freelancer knows that they need to show a certain amount of discipline as they will spend part of their working day on their own. That’s not what happens all the time. Days are punctuated by conference calls, work brings me into client’s offices, many engagements require me to network and hire collaborators.
It’s not what I would call lonely.
What is your relationship and interactions with the minor streaming platforms & production firms?
I enjoy working with all stakeholders of the entertainment world. Small production firms and niche streaming platforms become increasingly important once consumers go digital.
I love to participate in projects smaller in budget: in these engagements the level of sophistication increases, there is more freedom to experiment novel approaches and it’s also easier to find alternative ways to work together. For instance, without any upfront fees and by revenue sharing.
What are the top quirks of being a consultant?
Work your own time: as long as you deliver you can mostly work when you wish. Replying to emails in the same time zone of your client may be required though.
Travel while you work: if you’re into the digital nomadism, you can spend long stretches of time on the road.
Research without guilt: if you find an interesting topic, you’re free to research it. It may come to your advantage sooner or later.
Flexibility: you can often take time off in between client engagements.
Nurture your own work culture: you set the cultural rules of your own way of working. You decided on long hours, after dinner emails and anxiety. Or lack thereof. Yay!
What is the toughest part of being a consultant?
Dealing with everything: as a consultant you are your CFO, CMO, CEO, COO. You’re responsible for your travel planning and your financials & everything in between.
Selling your craft: it’s hard, more on this later.
Dry spells: you need to find the discipline to survive the weeks or months where you will have no clients.
The pileup: you need to handle the weeks or months where multiple clients ask you for your services.
Keeping your cool: everything can transform into a crisis, your job is to stay cool (your client has a special permission to panic, if they really wish to use it).
How do you acquire customers? What is the most effective channel?
Let’s review the most important channels for client acquisition.
Past work contacts: my work social network is the main driver of new work. People I’ve worked with in the past in various roles are my main clients. Keeping tabs with this social network of people is crucial.
Asking for Referrals: you should ask your clients if there is anyone else you should be engaging with. I don’t do this often enough.
Spontaneous word of mouth: sometimes your clients will talk about you to other potential clients.
Reputation: the capital of trust bestowed upon you by your clients becomes your reputation. It can support your client acquisition process.
Online reputation: publishing about your work always helps. It has two distinct roles. 1. A potential client can check your portfolio and try to understand if you would fit his/her general perspective 2. A potential client could find you thanks to your content.
What’s the biggest trend for marketing consultants right now?
“If you see something, say something”: this public safety announcement reflects the attention to ethics you should have as a consultant these days.
“Business as usual” is bullshit, there is no “fair game”: everything is subject to testing all the time.
The #metoo movement has taught us that even the most entrenched arrogance can be fought.
As a consultant you see a lot, and it’s your responsibility to point out if there is anything that should be changed. You could point out potential savings, optimizations to an entrenched process or new opportunities.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
If you don’t believe in the value you bring to your clients, nobody will.
How does one become an entertainment marketing consultant?
I have a rather pragmatic approach to becoming a consultant. You need a client. Once you’ve conquered your first work engagement, then you’re entitled the “entertainment marketing consultant” badge of honor.
You don’t need a website, you don’t need a logo, you don’t need a social media profile, you don’t need a plan, you don’t need a resume: you just need a client.
What’s the way forward for you?
Research: getting better every day, reading about everything that has to do with innovation, making sure that all my clients get the best bang for their buck all the time.
Acquisition: getting more clients and repeating business with those clients is the only real way forward to a sustainable consulting business.
Team play: the more I deepen my relationship with partners, the more I increase my chances in the marketplace.
What’s something everyone, not just consultants, should get better at?
Three things come to mind.
Empathy. Marketers get it wrong when they are unable to put themselves in the shoes of their potential audience.
Empathy. Business people don’t reach their goals when they are unable to read the room and understand what is at stake for their colleagues and partners.
Empathy. It’s not just better for business, it’s a daily exercise. Be aware of others in the same way you’re aware of your own self and you’ll have a much better day.
Cheers! Consult, be consulted and be merry. And if you have any other questions on being a digital marketing consultant, that’s what the comments are for.
Last but not least: I tend to send an almost monthly newsletter with my thoughts on innovation, technology, marketing and entertainment from my very own personal perspective. Want to join? Here you’ll find a cute form and a Maneki Neko cat for good fortune.