How To Become a Marketing Consultant

The consulting industry has seen tremendous growth over the years. 

In 2020, the market size was $64.4 billion in the U.S and $132 billion worldwide. 

If you wish to become a marketing consultant, knowing which steps to take will ensure you secure jobs and excel in this consulting services world.

Businesses hire marketing consultants when they need customers, increased sales revenue, branding, and marketing strategies developed. Working with great marketing consultants can provide long-lasting value to businesses, which is often reflected by the fees charged by experts. If you want to become a consultant or you’re new to marketing consulting, use this guide to price your services and estimate your income.

But more important than counting future income, is your focus and attitude about being a marketing consultant. The best marketing consultants are specialized and know how to serve their target market. There's a big lesson in there.

To become a marketing consultant you need to specialize and focus on providing great service to your target market. Here are some basics you will need to become a marketing consultant:

  • An undergraduate or MBA degree in business, marketing, or communications
  • An extensive portfolio highlighting your success stories in marketing
  • Several years of experience as a full-time marketing expert
  • Proven experience of working in various industries
  • An understanding and working knowledge of some of the current marketing tools
  • Strong communication and copywriting skills
  • Marketing knowledge and expertise in various areas, including SEO, social media, PPC, lead generation, and more
  • Experience in marketing automation using HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, and other software
  • Strong Microsoft Office, PowerPoint, Excel, and Salesforce skills
  • A good understanding of marketing strategies and tactics

What Is a Marketing Consultant?

A marketing consultant is an expert advisor who helps organizations build and implement effective marketing strategies. As a consultant, a client will hire you for a specific period to perform tasks such as:

  • Evaluate the company’s existing marketing activities and propose improvements
  • Analyze the current target audience and customer base and identify ways to select the right demographic
  • Support the company in building a unique brand identity and maintaining consistency
  • Coming up with solutions in case of quality issues to protect the company’s reputation
  • Monitor the progress of marketing campaigns and share results
  • Build the capacity of your client’s marketing employees

Many Marketing consultants have a wide variety of skill sets, but they can also be highly specialized. 

For example, a digital marketing expert may focus narrowly on email marketing systems. But, this doesn’t mean their skills are limited to sending emails. Marketing is an important topic, but it encompasses knowledge of many business systems. 

For example, a marketing consultant will research the customer base using the client’s main customer relationship management (CRM) software. They may then do a Recency, Frequency, Spend analysis and export data into excel or Google sheets and sort the data in order to find opportunities. 

This is one important area where the marketing consultant starts to earn their fees.

The marketing consultant may find that 50% of the buyers that have contributed to 80% of last year's revenue have churned out and have not repurchased. 

In this example, it would make sense to do a dedicated email campaign and try to re-activate this group of highly valuable past customers. A very savvy marketing consultant would go one step further to benefit the company even more. Depending upon the size of the group of customers in this list, they would first suggest a qualitative and quantitative survey to get more information on why this is occurring. If such a large group of customers are not repurchasing, this could go way beyond just the marketing department.

How Do I Become a Marketing Consultant?

While everyone’s path is different, becoming a marketing consultant typically involves taking the following steps.

1. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree

Many companies require marketing consultants to have the relevant education—usually a bachelor’s in marketing plus communications. Some people may use their professional experience in place of this requirement. However, a degree can be beneficial when you lack the years of experience to secure a specific consulting job.

2. Gain relevant work experience

Begin by seeking marketing internships and entry-level positions. It would be wise to work for a company to gain marketing experience. Consider waiting until you acquire higher-level positions like a marketing coordinator or manager before transitioning into consulting. Doing so helps you build your skillset and increase your practical knowledge.

3. Determine whether to become an independent consultant or work for an agency

It’s best to start your consulting journey once you have gained experience and completed your education. You’ll need to decide whether to become a freelance consultant or join an agency. The former offers more flexibility in schedule, pricing, and clients. However, independent consulting does not come with a steady income.

In comparison, you’ll have additional resources, employee benefits, and a steady income under an agency. Furthermore, securing jobs will be less challenging if the agency has an established brand. One potential con will be less flexibility in choosing tasks and clients.

4. Earn certifications and specialized knowledge

Certification and specialized knowledge gives you a competitive edge. The American Marketing Association’s Professional Certified Marker is one of the most sought-after credentials. It’s worth noting that this exam requires you to have considerable experience and a bachelor’s/ master’s degree.

Consider pursuing the Insight’s Association Professional Researcher certification if you have decided that market research is your niche. Alternatively, you could seek the five-series certifications from the Foundation for the Advancement of Marketing Excellence in Entrepreneurs.

How Do I Become a Successful Digital Marketing Consultant?

Here are some valuable tips to help you become a successful digital marketing consultant:

1. Develop the relevant skills set

Becoming a successful digital marketing consultant requires developing a specific set of skills. These include:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Website Platform Management
  • Paid Marketing
  • Web Analytics
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Reputation Management and Branding

Fortunately, numerous online resources exist that offer free training or low cost programs. These include Your Strategic Marketing Partner, Coursera, Udemy, HubSpot, and CodeAcademy.

2. Identify your niche

The digital marketing world covers over ten specializations. Therefore it is crucial to identify your strengths, choose a niche and perfect this area. Consider asking yourself these questions.

  • Which marketing skills do you consider the most engaging?
  • Which marketing tasks do you enjoy doing?
  • Do you consider yourself adept at the social aspect of digital marketing, or are you more proficient in the technical side?

3. Have a website

Gone are the days of business cards. Having a website as a digital marketer is akin to an I.D. You can opt to create one or hire an expert. Ensure this website:

  • Is organized
  • Utilizes SEO
  • Contains valuable content such as demo videos and blog posts
  • Contains client testimonials
  • Features your contact details

4. Write blogs

Blog posts offer an opportunity to showcase your expertise to prospective clients. You can choose to provide tips and tricks and firsthand experiences to engage your audience better. Like your website, ensure your blog is SEO optimized and has relevant content.

5. Network

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of a solid professional network in the digital marketing world. Start by leveraging your informal connections, such as family and friends. Don’t be afraid to engage industry experts. Consider offering free services if you lack the necessary experience. Doing so will help you build your portfolio. Going to networking events is also an excellent way of creating new connections.

Becoming a successful digital marketing consultant won’t happen overnight. Plus, everyone’s path is different. Even so, if you put in the work, be consistent, and network, you will undoubtedly become a digital marketing guru in no time.


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