My calling card mentions that I am an “Independent Strategist”. This means two things:
One is that I have learned, over years of consulting on projects, that my independent view is of great value to my clients. As a company outsider, I can lead discussions on sensitive topics without being afraid of my next job evaluation. I know that my role is temporary and that my independent views, as a ‘critical friend’ of the company, can be essential in opening eyes and minds to new thought avenues. One client once called my style “full-contact consultancy”, taking him out of his comfort zone while still having the feeling of being in safe hands. I still remember that as one of the biggest compliments I have ever received.
The other meaning behind ‘independent’ is in regards to industry relations. Marketing is becoming a technology- and solution-driven work field. Solution vendors understandably try to work with consultants to get their offers onto the client shortlist. I understand and accept this, up to the point where cooperation is only about informing me of the solution. I don’t accept any business relationship where solution providers engage me to give their products and services a preferred position. My only focus is my clients’ interest.
In streetwise terms: nobody has me in his or her pocket. This is why I am publishing my principles of independence below:
- I don’t receive or accept financial kickbacks or other incentives from solution vendors.
- I don’t sell marketing automation solutions, cms, crm or other products from marketing solution providers.
- I may work for marketing solution providers as a consultant or as a speaker on their events. However, those activities do not oblige me in any way to promote their solutions.
- If I have worked for a solution provider who is also a potential vendor for my clients, I inform my client about my activities with and for the vendor beforehand.
Bert van Loon