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The Consultant, the Trainer, the Workshop Facilitator

What are the differences between these roles? And how should they be used to better service a business’s marketing operations?

In digital marketing, the terms ‘consultancy, ‘training’ and ‘workshop’ are often used interchangeably to define working interactions between agency and client. Although these roles appear very similar and may be performed by the same person, it is important to consider the distinction between the three when enlisting their services. Understanding the individual skillsets of a consultant, a trainer, and a workshop facilitator will determine the success of their interaction with your marketing team.

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The Consultant

Outcome focus: a solution or change in process that increases the strategic capabilities and competitive advantage of your marketing team.

A consultant is an experienced individual who can provide advice on an area of expertise. Their interaction, within the context of marketing, is to analyse the current conditions and then recommend the best approach for improvement. Consultants are often considered ‘business partners’ because they take time to understand the business issues and processes, before providing a solution or a selection of option pros and cons.


The Trainer

Outcome focus: a structured learning experience where knowledge and skills are acquired by your marketing team in order to operate more efficiently.

A trainer’s role is to transmit their expert knowledge and, in marketing, upskill individuals on the relevant theory and tools required to effectively deliver results. Training content is relatively structured, with opportunity to listen and watch the trainer perform the task, as well as to experience practical examples. Whether delivered within a classroom, virtually, or self-led, the training is usually a single event or interaction, where learners leave with the ability to perform independently.


The Workshop Facilitator

Outcome focus: a non-structured learning experience where your marketing team are aligned in solving a problem or developing a new capability.

If training and consultancy sat at the two extremes of a continuum, workshops would fall in the middle. Workshop facilitators need to draw upon skills of both the trainer and consultant to effectively create the environment in which learning can spontaneously occur. They may provide context centred around their own experiences, but they also guide and encourage the participants to contribute with their thoughts and ideas. As a result, learning discovery is generally directed by the group, with carefully placed input and challenge from the workshop facilitator.


Merkle’s Consultants, Trainers and Workshop Facilitators

At Merkle we offer a variety of services to help advance your marketing operations. A couple of our most popular projects include:

  • AdTech Stack Review & Recommendations (CONSULTANT): allow us to audit your ad tech stack and provide recommendations for areas of improvement. This project would involve us surveying and interviewing key stakeholders to discover the technology and data challenges for your business. We’d then assess and document our findings, provide recommendations and detail a prioritised project roadmap for effective execution and change.


  • Digital Marketing Learning Programme (TRAINER): work with our training team to design a programme for your marketing department. In order to tailor the content appropriately, we’d assess individual knowledge gaps, confidence in digital marketing execution, and future business needs to ensure your team are empowered and upskilled in the most important areas. Head to our training pages to read more about the modules available.


  • Data Maturity Discovery Session (WORKSHOP FACILITATOR): spend quality time with our digital marketing experts to identify the changing requirements for being a digital brand. Jointly identify key business challenges, plot business maturity, and work together to define and commit to actionable business solutions. It’s a fluid programme with a chance to receive an outsider’s perspective on key marketing trends and popular strategies in the industry.

“Merkle helped us to understand our existing data and technology stack and what we needed to do in the short, mid and long-term to make the most of it. The project has enabled us to have a clear set of recommendations that are aligned to our strategic goals, which not only focus on connecting and making the most of technology and data but also how we work cross functionally. They have also built a bespoke training programme for the team which help them understand the mindset of being a Performance Marketer and the platforms there to enable them in their roles.”

Tesco Mobile


Merkle’s Marketing Imperatives

Our commitment to becoming your strategic partner

Marketing Imperatives 2020 front cover

The third of our marketing imperatives for 2020 revolves around the need for agility through strategic sourcing.  We understand that it is not an either/ or decision when it comes to businesses in-housing their marketing capabilities, or solely relying on external agencies; more often than not, a hybrid approach is necessary. Read more about our thoughts on the matter here.

Consultants, trainers and workshop facilitators are three examples of how Merkle can partner with your marketing department to achieve desired business goals. Whether it’s performance growth, innovation, team upskilling, developing a culture of continuous improvement, increasing operational efficiency… or all of the above, our experts are able to advise on the best approach.

Get in touch to see how we can help!