A marketing consultant like any other consultant is a professional specialist who provides expert advice in their industry to companies or individuals. Their work could be either in the form of advice or workload contribution.
In recent times we have seen how many independent workers started to freelance or their own consultancy firm.
This is somehow due to the fact that many corporations are changing the way they hire, instead of requiring permanent employees, some project or due to the nature of some of the projects, these companies need an expert skilled worker for a set period of time which could be from 3 months up to several years.
As a consequence, the demand for a consultant and, especially marketers, has risen over the last two decades. See below a chart that represents the growth in consulting demand over the past decade.
What is a marketing consultant?
A marketing consultant is a very skilled marketer who understands consumers trends and master market knowledge analysis, analyses businesses and delivers effective strategies to increase brand awareness, increase revenue, improve return on investment.
Some clients and companies misunderstand a consultant for a marketing agency. Consultants’ services comprise multiple services such conversion rate optimization, strategic planification, market analysis, remarketing or even rebranding, but regardless of what precise service your companies are looking for, all those different services fall into two categories:
- Expertise strategic ideation: a marketing consultant assists with its expertise to determine and fabricate an effective customer engagement or consumer capture plan.
- Market or create a business model proposition: a marketing consultant restructures or build a business model and plan its execution or even execute themselves, develops a strategy to achieve larger goals
During this process or processes, a consultant would keep in mind the company’s mission, track competition, measure results and readjust strategies according to feedback and progression.
You need a marketing consultant if you:
- Want to build your business, market your company, increase revenue
- Marketing goals setting and planification
- a strategic marketing plan with both short- and long-term goals
- Monitor and achieve goals, internet or real life KPIs
- Improve customer experience, loyalty relations and loyalty with existing clients
- Device a customer experience journey
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase digital or online process
- Expand into new markets
An experienced marketing consultant will be well worth the cost of assessing and improving your business.
How to become a marketing consultant?
To become a marketing consultant is not an easy path as it involves as much effort and risk as starting your own business.
Before jumping on the way to consultancy, first think if being freelance, pay your own taxes and not having a stable income is for you.
Once you have made up your mind, there is still a lot of work ahead to become a successful marketing consultant earning a degree, developing work experience and raise a client portfolio.
Below I have listed a number of steps and stage you have would have to go through to become a successful marketing consultant:
- Degree in marketing, business, or communications
- Portfolio showing a history of marketing successes
- Several years of established experience as a full-time corporate marketing consultant
- Expertise in a specific niche or industry
- Strong copywriting and communication skills
- Expertise in a wide range of fields – including digital marketing: social media, content, SEO, lead generation, PPC
- Experience in automation tools such as Marketo, HubSpot, Google Ads…
- Confident in your skills, and ready to defend your work
- Strong Excel, PowerPoint, Salesforce and Microsoft Office skills
What do marketing consultants do?
Some marketing consultants are specialized in a particular industry, fashion marketing consultant, customer service marketing consultant…
Others are absolute experts on a specific marketing field such as conversion optimization, SEO or strategic ideation.
Although most are generally quite knowledgeable in consumer behaviour, below there are most typical marketing consultant responsibilities:
- Identify marketing opportunities to engage with existing and new clients
- Evaluate, plan and remake existing marketing materials, social media and advertising
- Adjust or recreate company branding to increase engagement and customer awareness
- Manage company channels such as digital advertising, SEO or OOH to improve performance
- Analyse company’s marketing strategy to spot weakness and inconsistencies and act accordingly
- Develop a conversion rate strategy for both digital and real-life areas
- Increase return on investment of any of the company’s current marketing plans
- Improve client engagement through social media, creating innovative campaigns on various media that are integrated for optimal success and managing interactions with customers
- Coordinate content platforms including website, social media, pay per click…
- Develop an effective SEO programme, including keyword optimization and website link building
- Track, analyze and review consumer analytics and conversions to set goals and improve or adust current marketing strategies
What Skills Does a Digital Marketing Consultant Need?
The digital marketing field requires a wide range of knowledge and expertise to successfully market a website.
Being a very competitive industry as it is, you will require to master and excel to several of skills such SEO, email marketing and paid social, below there is a list of all the lines of work you need to excel or at least be proficient at:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Email Marketing content creation and management tools
- Paid Marketing (Google Adwords, Twitter, Facebook)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Content Marketing Strategy
- Youtube & Video Marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Local & International Marketing
- Branding & Reputation management
- Digital Display Marketing (Ad Ops)
- Google or third party Analytics tools for and Reporting
- Conversion Rate Optimization
- Web development: HTML, CSS, PHP…
- ASO and Mobile Marketing, application store optimization
- CMS Management and WordPress
What personal skills, traits and talents do you need to succeed as a marketing consultant?
- Passion and Drive. A good consultant loves marketing and thinks of it as a career, not just a job. The drive for success is apparent and naturally cascades down to every campaign.
- The ability to understanding clients and consumer behaviour
- Emotional intelligence
- Organizational skills to keep your strategies and execution plans effective while maintaining attention to details
- Communication and oratory skills to effectively send the correct message to audiences and inspire enthusiasm among clients and clearly solve doubts…
- Creativity is probably the most important one as marketing needs to keep adapting to customer and evolving to keep the brand message fresh
- Critical Thinking. An excellent consultant would creatively develop a data and results-driven marketing strategy. Critical thinkers will provide your company with sustainable growth and revenue—not just a one-time boom in your business.
- A mix of creativity and analytical abilities
- A likeable personality
How much does a marketing consultant charge per hour?
Consultant fee varied widely from individual to individual. Some consultants would have a flat fee for some services.
For example, my fee as an SEO consultant is flat and consist of 3 different tiers depending on your goal and the competition of your industry. Although I generally charge the basic hourly fee of the industry which is 59£/hour.
Most freelance or contractor services basic hourly rate in the UK starts at £59 per hour, for example, another less qualified professionals such as plumber, their fees benchmark at £59 an hour excluding VAT.
Marketing agency fees, on the other hand, start at £99 per hour excluding Vat. In the USA, for example, consultant fee starts at $69 an hour and can go up to $300.
Why should your company hire a marketing consultant? The main reason is the return on investment.
Hiring a consultant should be considered as an investment, to put it in a simpler way, if one consultant is able to provide you with a 10 hour ($1,500) strategy that yields new sales and a profit increase of $10,000. Would that be worth the expense?
How to become a successful marketing consultant
After learning what a marketing consultant does and life of marketer would look like, you might be intrigued to know more about how to become a marketer.
1 – Insurance & contract
First of all, make sure you are ensured, as a marketing consultant or marketing consultant you are much like a business owner, with its risks, in order to be in trouble, ensure yourself against lawsuits or losses.
You want to keep everything right, it is paramount you use a contract for your services to guarantee payments and avoid legal complications.
2 – Network
Networking is a skill you must master to succeed as a consultant in any field including marketing. People do business with people they trust and like. And networking offers you the possibility of being in touch and been known by potential clients or clients’ friends.
As a sole trader, you are your sales team too. Avoid to network with the car dealer selling mentality. Instead, build rapport, be likeable and induce enthusiasm. Learn more about Networking from Forbes
3 – Case studies
Build a nice portfolio of case studies showing results and featuring your strongest skills. If you cant produce case studies to show, get a list of client referees ready to call on and get some reviews.
Making money takes money. There is no such thing as something for nothing, invest some money in advertising to drive some customers especially at difficult times when clients and enquiries are coming slowly if at all.
Spend some money in advertising online or buy some spot in local newspapers to generate attention and increase your chances to succeed.
5 – Build an online presence
Most businesses are done online nowadays. Google and social media have become the most important marketing channels and it is crucial you have your own online presence and work on driving customers to your site from at least three different channels.
6 – Use a niche strategy
By investing in a niche marketing strategy, you will also be able to develop many higher-level skills in your chosen industry and your specific expertise will make you stand out in less crowded markets.
7 – Know What to Charge
Understand what the standard rates are in your country for marketing consultants and then set your hourly rate according to your experience, the quality of your services and your marketing plan.
Remember if you charge excessively, it will drive customers away but on the other hand, you fall short, it will give the impression that you are cheap and low quality.
9 – Know When to Say No
Contrary to popular belief, you will have to reject some clients, not every client is a good fit for you and vice-versa.
Choose companies you are happy to work for and projects you are excited and believe in their long term success, work for a fair fee.