Speaking as someone who was part of an online marketing strategy consulting team which, during the dotcom boom and bust, went from 0 people to 40 and back to 0 within 6 months, I now find myself wondering – why aren’t there more people out there selling themselves as online marketing strategy consultants?

We get a lot of calls and enquiries these days from clients who ask us “Can you recommend a consultancy, or consultant, who can help us define our online marketing strategy?”. (Ranking 3rd on Google for a global search on “consultancy” certainly helps drive some of these enquiries).

It’s only really in the last 9 months that we’ve seen a real rise in this sort of enquiry suggesting the market is there now in a way it hasn’t been in the past (witness the death of the team I was part of many years ago).

And those same clients usually want a strategy consultant, or consultancy, which does not do “design and build”, or indeed any form of delivery of execution. They want completely unbiased, impartial, brain power to help them work out what they should be doing online, and why, and help with the business planning etc. And they’re quite happy to pay good money for it.

And the strange thing is, I really struggle to think of such consultancies (in the UK). There are plenty of good agencies, no doubt with excellent strategy and planning talent, but they typically all ‘do’ stuff as well. Where are the pure online marketing strategy consultancies? We know a number of individuals, but very few companies.

Would you entrust your online marketing strategy to a strategy consultancy like McKinsey? Much as I respect them, I don’t think I would as they’re just not close enough to understanding the importance, say, of SEO, or user experience. And they don’t even seem to try and market any expertise in this area.

Would you entrust your online marketing strategy to a systems integrator or management consultancy like Accenture? I certainly might consider them for implementation of complex systems, change management, program management, workflow and the like – but online marketing…?

Would you entrust your online marketing strategy to an advertising agency? Don’t get me started…

Personally I’d only want to entrust my online marketing strategy development to someone who really understood the medium (as well as our business) and had proven experience across all the online marketing areas. And there aren’t that many of those people around. And certainly not, it would seem, any who have got together to form a proposition which is a pure online marketing strategy consultancy.

Am I missing something here? Is this a gap in the market?

Try a search for “online marketing strategy consultant” on Google – you get no results!

Feel free to contact us if you are this consultancy as we might be able to put work your way.

(BTW, though we’re called “E-consultancy”, we don’t do consultancy. Confusing, I know. A long story to do with domain names…)

Ashley Friedlein