The Four Ds: understanding the marketing consulting process

The Four Ds: understanding the marketing consulting process

We’re lucky here at Atomic Tangerine because most of our new clients come from referrals from other satisfied customers, which often means that they come already briefed on what to expect. However, when that is not the case, we always take the time to explain our process. 
 
This process is roughly the same in any consulting project. If you rush the process, or worse still, not follow it, can mean mis-communication, unclear scoping (and therefore expectation mis-management) and potential blow-outs in budget or schedule.
 
At Atomic Tangerine we break the process into four key sections – we call them the Four Ds: 
 
Define
 
Arguably the most important part of the consulting process for the client as well as the consultant, the define phase (sometimes known as the discovery phase) is all about creating an understanding and fleshing out the project. The consultant uses her knowledge and experience to ask the client many questions about their aims and objectives – often asking questions which may not have previously been considered. This can change the scope that the client had originally conceived – or can clarify areas which were previously a little muddy. 
  • Depending on the scale of the project, expect your consultant to either provide a written scope, or to verbally check the scope against your understanding. 
 
Design
 
During the design phase, your consultant will be using her understanding of the scope and objectives of the project to design the most appropriate, and cost effective response. She will be thinking about and researching channels, resources, costs, your target markets and your competitors to enable her to create an effective plan. 
  • Depending on the size of the project, this may form part of the quote, or maybe in itself a chargeable phase of the project. 
 
Deliver
 
This is the meat of the project – the production of the agreed project or campaign. This is usually the heftiest part of the project, with consultants using their skills and experience to supply a high quality project that fulfils the original brief and delivers to the agreed objectives. 
  • Although this is usually the section of the project where clients can see the most action, as long as the previous two phases were completed, delivery should be relatively simple.
 
Debrief
 
After the project has completed (or, for ongoing projects, at regular, pre-agreed intervals), your consultant will want to sit down and discuss the campaign: what worked, what didn’t work, what was learned and how we might improve things next time. Atomic Tangerine consultants will also provide recommendations at this stage to inform the next campaign. 
  • Your consultant should provide metrics to demonstrate what was accomplished by the campaign. Return on Investment (ROI) should be key to this discussion, which will also be shaped by the original objectives for the campaign. 
 
Successful marketing campaigns don’t just happen. Consultants bring their clients the benefits of their experience, knowledge and skills to help design campaigns to deliver their client’s objectives. 
 
At Atomic Tangerine, we live and breathe the Four Ds – we believe it makes our clients more successful. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you deliver your marketing objectives, please get in contact!
 
Sybil Williams
Founder & Growth Catalyst