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One of the questions that I get asked on a regular basis is: “Do you have experience in my field?”. 

I think that there are good ideas behind this question but the reality is that it has no relevance to the reality of the marketing function.  Why?  Because a marketing consultant has the task of producing clients and the techniques used are very similar from one field to the next.  And for those aspects that are very pertinent to your specific field, they are often handled by experts of both organizations (buyers and product managers). 

Let’s clarify this statement a little more.  A marketing consultant manages the 5-Ps of a company. What are the 5-Ps? Product, price, place, promotion and people (this 5th P might be subject to some conversation as its place is not yet secured, but one has to recognize the importance of people in today’s marketing process; social media, customer service, public relations, etc…) … Within the 5-P, there is Product.  But more often than not, the marketing function in product development will be more accessory than building the product from the ground up.  Marketing will be charged with building the added features (apps, up-dates, communities, etc), shape/colour/ergonomic, packaging, presentation, etc…

Product per se (this might be different for service companies) will be developed by the engineering department of the company.  And the add-ons have more to do with understanding the expectations of the clients than with engineering.  This understanding comes from knowing how and to whom we must ask the right questions.  Hence if you managed marketing for a telecom company, chances are that you are more than able to handle this function for a medical company.  You might not know how to use the product if it is very technical, but you do know where, how and who to ask questions to, to build the add-ons that will make the product stand out from the competitors.    

So, to all of my prospective clients who ask me whether I have experience in their field I answer: no.   You are the expert in your field.  I am a marketing expert.  

If you have any comments, questions, or if you would like to share any experiences, feel free to do so. 


Stéphane Elmaleh-Riel, B.Ed., MBA
Marketing consultant