Lauren Cooper – a consultant with an adventurer’s heart!
She’s a Strategic Marketing Consultant that leverages market and customer insights to create growth strategies that help organisations achieve commercial goals. Her specialism is market insights and refining the marketing mix (product, price, promotion, place and others). She’s sector agnostic and works with micro to medium orgs (2-800 people) who find themselves in one/some of these scenarios:
a. Suffering from declining sales/market share and need to know how to stop and reverse this.
b. Growing rapidly and needing some help to scale up to match that market demand.
c. Launching a new product/service or entering an international market and need real market data and insights to identify a targeted go to market strategy.
d. Seeking to raise their profile by having a voice in a particular industry/subject and needing thought leadership content/market data to address this
We put Lauren through our 10 question test!
Q1. Did you always want to become a consultant, or did you fall into the role?
I always wanted to be either a DJ or a Mountaineer but lacked the talent …Consultancy was an organic process as I started contracting and studying which upped my skills and realised that insights and knowledge were valuable to clients.
Q2. What makes a good consultant?
A consultant should be a knowledge engine for business – They leverage their unique knowledge and problem-solving experience to spot hidden opportunities for clients. It’s important to have similar values as your client and a speed date is a good way to see if you there’s a good fit. Last, but not least you need to be a people person and flexible to a client’s timelines.
Q3. Do you feel you manage yourself well or is it a case of ‘the cobbler’s shoes’?
I actually did my 2020 EMBA dissertation about how to be a successful independent consultant and I’ve been working hard on applying some of the research learnings over the last 6 months. One of the key learnings in my 8 years consulting is that that anything that’s considered a frontier practice (supreme value) eventually degrades to a point of parity. Consultants have to continually work on ‘product development’ by increasing their knowledge continually and evolve their service offer.
Q4. Are there enough hours in your day?
I’ve become more selective with my time and tried to work on applying time where its most effective and not get lost in the weeds. This is not always easy when you’re sifting through data, but I’m improving this over time and one thing that’s valuable time spent is talking with clients (past and present) and my network as there are so many value-exchanges that come from even the most random conversations.
Q5. If you could magically stop your clients from making one mistake – what would that be?
Problem misdiagnoses can be challenging for both clients and consultants and the exploratory process shouldn’t be rushed just to win a contract. If you use this step as a collaborative process, this first engagement step can often drive significant value for a client as it brings clarity to their situation and their goals. Often, they don’t need such a large project, and this upfront process can reduce budget waste.
Q6. What do you find is the best way to market yourself?
I actually have research data on independents confirming your network is your most valuable tool as Word of mouth is the highest business driver. Closely linked to this is to attend events to meet other clients and then LinkedIn. I’ve been experimenting with Facebook and Instagram, but the jury is out if this is a valuable platform for consulting.
Q7. What do you do to unwind?
I’m an adventure nut and love a good physical challenge – I know it doesn’t make sense, how does this unwind anyone? The physical movement releases stress for me and I like the focus on something rather than drifting along. I’ve done Ironman Triathlons, big road cycling challenges like cycling the length of the UK, Portugal, the Pyrenees. and then the last big one was the Marathon Des Sables (see picture) which is a 6-day self-supported race across the Sahara. It was amazing!
Q8. What advice would you give a starting consultant?
Plan your time well, map out your process, develop an effective template library, keep the client updated, outsource and use talented people where its valuable – we can’t be brilliant at everything. Build and maintain your network – it’s a lifesaver.
Q9. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Watching TV series that I’ve loved over and over. I’ve watched The Wire about 5 times, Breaking Bad about 3, etc etc… each time I watch them I notice something at I didn’t spot before! Oh, and 80s music!
Q10. What’s your goal for next year?
Business – To become more efficient in my process and more effective with my time. Personal – Currently looking for the next big challenge, but I have my eye on a Volcano adventure race in Iceland, an Antarctica race or a race in Africa… so many options, so little time.
To find out more about Lauren check out her Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurencoopermarketeer/