Marketing Consulting: A Fine Balance

Marketing Consulting: A Fine Balance

 
U92
Published Jul 23, 2018
Category: U92 News
U92
Published Jul 23, 2018
Category: U92 News

Back in 2017, Cirque du Soleil approached U92 for consulting services in a range of fields, including analysis, strategy, development and design.

As the international company already boasted in-depth marketing and communications know-how, we were called upon to act as an extension of their team.

A single organization can have various consulting needs. In Cirque du Soleil’s case, our consulting task was split into four different sub-projects that used different facets of our expertise, from experiential to B2B, B2C and community creation. For the first three sub-projects, our main goal was to increase ticket sales and shopping cart revenue while ensuring the user experience remained on brand.

Each of these projects presented its own challenges that enabled us to develop – or uncover – our consulting expertise in a given field. The first project required great ability to adapt, as we needed to create design that aligned with an event that was still in the making. The second, B2B project helped us demonstrate our real value as a brand partner, while ensuring the transferability of the assets we created.

A new paradigm in the client-agency relationship

These are just two examples of how these projects led us to understand the unique role we could play for our clients and realize that we could become a caring business partner.

“We hired U92 as external consultants to help us with our digital hubs. It was very much appreciated having a sparring partner to bounce around ideas with”
Martin Céré, Vice-President of Digital Marketing at Cirque du Soleil.

The evidence is clear: more and more small- and medium-sized companies are taking on marketing and communications roles themselves. And some, like Cirque du Soleil, are good at it too. The agency’s role – be it a traditional or digital organization – is therefore bound to change and increasingly resemble the role of consultant. The result is a privileged relationship where work is conducted in close collaboration.

The art of challenging with care

The advantage of a consulting relationship is that as an agency, we get to be expert challengers. We have the freedom – or the obligation, really – to push ideas further and question received wisdom. With Cirque du Soleil, we did more than simply deliver on a brief: we revisited the strategy and adjusted the brief accordingly. And because we do more than consulting, the process does not end there. Our expertise gives us the ability to push the limits and accompany the client through the entire process.

“Working with the same team as an efficient external UX and UI design team to support our internal digital capabilities was quite effective”
Martin Céré, Vice-President of Digital Marketing at Cirque du Soleil.

Hybrid expertise

It’s now clear that agencies must have recognized expertise in a specific field (in other words, a niche) as well as excellent cross-functional skills in consulting. This requires that we prove great flexibility and the power to adapt, not to mention the ability to question the client’s ideas. And like the human body, this perfect blend of strength and flexibility is hard to achieve.

But what the client gains from the experience is very real, because the agency can’t afford to miss a beat. Our greatest asset is that we are always ahead of the curve, ready to face challenges. And although we are not part of the actual team, we have to build a close relationship with the brand. It’s all about balance.

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