Many marketers think that the only way to be successful in the workplace and their career is to climb the corporate ladder as a full-time worker, just like everybody else. This, however, isn’t always the case. What these marketers don’t realize is that they can take a different path. This means that they can enter the world of consultancy and become a marketing consultant.
The market for independent marketing consultants is rising, partly driven by the fact that some organizations are not keen on investing in costly advertising or marketing agencies. They instead aim to invest in a skilled consultant who can effectively train their in-house teams.
Although being an independent or small business marketing consultant has its perks, this career path isn’t for everyone. This role, just any job, has its set of pros and cons. This guide will help you determine if a marketing consultancy job is a good fit for you.
What are the Responsibilities of a Marketing Consultant?
A marketing consultant is a professional advisor who uses their knowledge and expertise in marketing to assist companies and other organizations in coming up with and implementing marketing strategies.
Businesses hire independent marketing consultants to temporarily help the leadership team determine a marketing message, formulate a plan for marketing campaigns and decide which channels to use to reach the company’s target market.
After putting the campaign into action, the marketing consultant monitors its performance and success, tweaking it as needed and making sure that it produces the desired outcome.
Marketing consultants are usually freelancers or contract employees brought in by a company for a limited period. Companies can pay a flat sum or an hourly rate for their services. According to Simply Hired, the average salary of this job is approximately $54,394 per year, though some reach beyond $100,000. Take note, though, that salaries vary greatly, as these consultants receive their payment by project.
What Skills Do I Need to Be a Marketing Consultant?
An independent marketing consultant needs to use both soft and hard skills to successfully carry out their duties.
Some of the important skills necessary to succeed in this role include the following:
A successful marketing consultant has great organizational skills to execute complex campaigns efficiently while following a strict (and sometimes tight) schedule. Organized consultants can juggle multiple assignments at once, enforce deadlines and delegate tasks skillfully. They are also able to manage teams effectively, helping them prevent delays due to confusion regarding responsibilities or miscommunication.
A marketing consultant uses creativity to come up with innovative campaigns that capture the imagination of the target market. Creative consultants can think outside the box and generate unique ideas that help the products of their clients stand out from the rest of the pack. This level of creativity is also helpful in finding effective solutions to stubborn problems.
A great marketing consultant often works for clients in multiple fields and industries. They can adapt their marketing strategies to suit each unique organization. Sometimes, companies ask these consultants to alter a project or change direction on short notice. If you can work well with a range of personalities and perform well in a variety of environments, you’re more likely to succeed in this job role.
This skill entails being able to work well with teams of other professionals. This includes the ability to obtain ideas from various sources and find a way to make them complement each other. A successful marketing consultant often serves as a mediator between the content producers, executives and other employees of a company. Coming up with effective marketing campaigns that incorporate the preferences of many employees is often challenging but is necessary for the job.
Excellent oral and written communication skills are important to the success of a marketing consultant. All marketing professionals, including consultants, should be able to communicate their ideas to their audience and their teams effectively. Communication for a marketing consultant may involve negotiating with clients, public speaking, leading group discussions, holding one-on-one meetings and writing copy and emails.
If you want to achieve great success as a marketing consultant, you’ll also need to satisfy certain qualifications and have particular traits.
Some of them are:
- An undergraduate degree in communications, business or marketing (or a Master’s in Business Administration with a focus on marketing, if possible)
- Solid experience in using Salesforce and Microsoft Office tools, such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint
- Marketing automation experience in Pardot, Eloqua, HubSpot, Marketo and other leading software offerings
- Years of expertise in a broad range of marketing ideas, including SEO, PPC, lead generation, content and social media
- Several years of experience as a full-time corporate marketer
- A portfolio showcasing a history of marketing success
Other Tips to Become a Freelance Marketing Consultant
Becoming a successful, independent marketing consultant goes beyond having the right skills and qualifications. You also need to take certain steps to increase your chances of succeeding in your chosen career path.
Here are a few suggestions that you should keep in mind:
Earning certifications relevant to your chosen career can greatly bump up your job prospects. A popular credential you should consider pursuing is the American Marketing Association’s Professional Certified Marker designation. Getting this PCM entails passing an exam that will test your knowledge on the principles of marketing. The test covers relevant topics, such as evaluating marketing decisions, handling legal and ethical concerns and executing marketing strategies.
Another useful certification you can earn is the Insights Association’s Professional Researcher Certification. The IA provides more than a dozen research-related certifications that focus on various types of data collection methods and marketing analysis.
Cultivate an Understanding of How Marketing Influences Brands
Some businesses want to build a lasting brand, as they’re concerned about maximizing their bottom line. Marketing consultants sometimes make the error of zeroing in on maximizing revenue and not consider brand perception. A half-price offer, for example, might boost sales temporarily and raise their profit margin. If the client, however, has spent years developing a luxurious image, this offer could hurt the brand and impede the company’s long-term growth.
So take the time to understand how the marketing strategies you create can affect a brand.
Set the Right Price for Your Services
You want to set a reasonable rate as a marketing consultant. A simple formula you can follow is to begin from the bottom of your income statement, then build up to get to your top line, also known as the fees that you’ll charge. You get your daily fee revenue by adding profit and overhead.
Once you determine what to shoot for in terms of earnings, determine your overhead costs. These may include recurring expenses related to running your business, such as equipment, phone bills and internet fees.
Once you have the numbers you need, plug them back into the formula. Then, make changes as necessary.
If you’re a marketer looking to ditch the cubicle for good, consider becoming a marketing consultant. When you’ve decided to shift to consultancy, make sure you follow the suggestions mentioned in this article.