Are you a marketer? Have you thought about becoming more successful? If so, you may believe that the only way to reach a high level of success is to become a full-time employee. However, you may be overlooking another option—becoming a self-employed marketing consultant.
While it’s possible for companies to invest in larger marketing or advertising agencies, the truth is that they also want to save money. So, some businesses are looking to work with one expert, who can train their internal team.
Self-employment isn’t easy for everyone. As with other types of work, there are advantages and disadvantages that go with being self-employed. However, being a marketing consultant can be a lucrative option if you’re looking for more success.
We’ve gathered the information you can peruse to see if becoming a marketing consultant is right for you.
What Does a Marketing Consultant Do?
A marketing consultant’s work can vary for each company and project they work with. However, the job usually involves offering advice and guidance to help a business find the best way(s) to reach, engage, and convert customers.
Marketing consultants can offer a broad range of services, including:
- Helping to create, plan, and implement digital marketing campaigns across multiple channels
- Training a company’s internal marketers on the best practices and technologies
- Evaluating current marketing efforts and offering advice on improvements
- Offering solutions for workflows or new methods for reaching/converting consumers
- Tracking the success of a company’s marketing strategies with analytical tools
- And more
The marketing consultant offers unbiased guidance, advice, and solutions to improve an organisation’s marketing efforts. Individuals who do this work need to have advanced knowledge of digital marketing and be able to offer advice in many areas, such as SEO, analytics, social media strategies, automation, paid media, and more.
According to research by Credo[SV5] , the hourly rate for a digital marketing consultant is $147.67. The rate increases depending on their years of experience within the industry.
What Qualifications Do You Need as a Marketing Consultant?
There are certain qualifications you’ll need as a marketing consultant. These qualifications include demonstrating your skills by completing a recognized industry certification, gaining relevant work experience, building a professional network and client base.
Here are the qualifications and skills you’ll need as a marketing consultant:
- An undergraduate degree in marketing, business, or communications (or an MBA with a focus on marketing)
- An impressive portfolio that demonstrates your history of marketing activities and success
- Several years of established experience as a full-time marketer, with experience in digital technologies and tactics
- Expertise in a specific niche or experience working across a broad range of industries
- Strong copywriting and communication skills
- Marketing expertise in many areas, including social media, content, SEO, lead generation, and more
- Marketing automation experience using software (such as Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot, and others)
- Confidence in your skills and be ready to defend your work
- Strong skills in Excel, PowerPoint, Salesforce, and Microsoft Office
- An understanding of strategy vs. tactic
- Key soft skills, including persuasion, adaptability, creativity, and more
- Leadership skills, professionalism, and a motivated attitude
- Ability to listen and empathise
That’s a long list of skills; if you have them, you’re on the way to becoming a successful marketing consultant. If you don’t have all of these skills yet, it’s time to cultivate them so you can succeed in the future.
Establish Your Reputation
When you have the skills needed to become a marketing consultant, there are some things you can do to ensure career success.
The first place to start is to build a great reputation; without this, it’s hard to get clients. The best way to build your reputation is to gain trust. You can start by creating an excellent LinkedIn profile that includes recommendations and website testimonials to engender trust.
Clients need three things in order to trust you:
- Certainty that you’ll deliver
- The belief that you’re worth your fee
- And a guarantee you’ll provide a clear, timely response when they contact you
Cultivate an Understanding of How Marketing Influences Brands
Most companies want to create a lasting brand that customers trust. These organisations want to expand their customer base and maximise profits. Unfortunately, some marketing consultants focus only on revenue without considering brand perception, which is a mistake.
Here’s an example. A marketing consultant may recommend that a business offers a half-price coupon or sale. This method may temporarily boost sales for their client and increase their profit margin. So, what’s the problem? The problem could be that the marketing consultant has failed to recognise that their client company has worked for years to develop the image of selling luxury items. Offering a half-off sale could damage the brand and its long-term growth. The company’s customers only want to purchase luxury items that are expensive rather than sold at a discount.
In the beginning, it can be challenging to find work as a marketing consultant. It takes time to build your brand and earn referrals. However, if you persevere, you’ll begin to have repeat clients and referrals. Moreover, when you have repeat clients, it shows you’re reliable and good at the work you do. As you continue to work with each client, you learn more about their company and industry. Over time, this experience and knowledge makes you difficult to replace. It takes time to develop expertise; however, when you have it, you’ll become irreplaceable.
The key is to learn and keep on learning. The best consultants understand that they can’t stop learning once they have a degree and expertise. They understand that technologies and practices continue to evolve, so they learn and hone their skills to ensure their services are the best possible.
Marketing is always evolving, and it’s essential to stay current with the industry.
Research Each Client Thoroughly
Before taking on a new client/project, it’s essential to do your due diligence. You can do this by following these steps:
Set up Google Alerts for the client and its competitors; this gives you the latest information on specific keywords.
Know and understand the client’s basic financial data. Some key numbers include overall revenue, gross profit, and market cap.
Familiarise yourself with the CEO and senior management team. You can also search LinkedIn for these individuals and memorise their titles and names.
Learn the client’s competitors; conduct research to find the client’s top 5-10 competitors, their relative sizes, key products & services, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. It’s a good idea to review this information periodically and keep it up to date.
You may feel a bit like a detective, but in a way, that’s exactly what you are as a marketing consultant. Conducting research and asking questions helps you learn more about the client’s needs and what you need to do.
So, don’t hesitate to ask questions to gain more clarification. It’s better to do so rather than ending up with a project that fails and/or is done incorrectly.
Digital marketing consultants are in demand now more than ever, with demand expected to grow over the coming years. With the right qualifications and skills, you can become an in-demand marketing consultant who has a successful, prosperous career!