Digitization of the economy has propelled the marketing consultant profile to one of the most sought-after profiles in the marketing industry. The requirement for marketing consultants is increasing with more and more companies, brands, and even individuals, hiring them for marketing and promotional activities. A marketing consultant can choose to either work with a consultancy/marketing firm or choose to go the freelancer way or as an independent consultant.
A marketing consultant can be considered as an advisor and a strategist who can bring about tangible success for a company or business to achieve its marketing goals and increase revenue, while also building a loyal customer base and increasing the brand’s value and awareness.
What does a Marketing Consultant mean?
Commercially, a marketing consultant can be defined as a third party or independent advisor with extensive experience in marketing practices who can provide various services such as marketing strategy, market research, marketing process optimization, and marketing analytics.
With the help of a marketing consultant, companies can set up, run and optimize an oriented marketing campaign with a data-driven approach and analysis. A marketing consultant also helps in integrating the branding strategy with proper marketing channels and analytics tools.
How the Marketing Consultant role came to be?
With the increased penetration of the Internet in almost all aspects of our daily lives, a diverse range of channels and platforms are now available to us. This has resulted in the cropping up of experts in all categories such as SEO, social media, content, PPC, and others. Over time, this has led to the penetration of consultation capabilities into various categories based on technology, marketing channels, and automation tools.
All this expansion has brought the profile of a marketing consultant to the forefront of the highly complex and sophisticated marketing industry. It is almost impossible to find a marketing consultant who encompasses deep practical knowledge of multiple digital platforms such as organic, paid, performance, and campaign optimization. There is a need for technical professionals with a background in optimization, along with managerial experience in running end-to-end marketing campaigns for businesses and brands. These people are the ones who can aim for the title of “Independent Marketing Consultant”.
When to and Why should you hire a Marketing Consultant?
There can be many reasons to hire a marketing consultant, which can vary according to the industry vertical, the business type, business requirements, and company size. For example, some companies might request the services of a marketing consultant to get an in-depth analysis of the consumers and market, while some companies would like to have an independent expert validate their marketing strategy and refine it to achieve better campaign performance. While the requirement to hire a marketing consultant for each company can be different, the skills of a marketing consultant can also vary based on the area of expertise.
1. Startups and Small Businesses
Early-stage startups and small businesses generally find it a herculean task to hire a permanent marketing team and instead focus on hiring recent graduates whom they can afford within the budget. A marketing consultant can work with the startup or small business in the following capacities:
- Prepare a worthy marketing strategy
- Share their experience in marketing and brand awareness for the target market segment
- Provide valuable market research which will help the business in creating the whole business module
- Consult the team on targeting the relevant marketing channels, applying the best campaign tactics, and optimize the campaigns for better ROI
- Designing and mapping the customer journey.
2. Medium Enterprises and Brands
Mid-sized businesses often have an in-house or a contract-based dedicated marketing team supported by third-party marketing agencies. Still, gaps can be found in the marketing performance which can be efficiently plugged with the help of a marketing consultant. A marketing consultant can help with the following missions which are key to any business’ growth:
- Provide an unbiased external view that can help in tackling the internal challenges
- Indicate gaps and opportunities for the business organization
- Restructure and optimize the current marketing strategy to improve the performance and deliver better ROI
- Provide specialized expertise which may be missing in the team hired by the company
- Manage advanced marketing analysis and automated dashboards for marketing and reporting.
Skills required in a Marketing Consultant
The five most important skills required to be a successful marketing consultant are:
- Market Understanding
A deep understanding of the target market and technical professional skills are required to conduct strong market research. Market understanding should not be limited to past experience, rather, it should also take into account metrics achieved by analyzing current and recent data.
- Understanding of the Customer
Customer persona should be efficiently analyzed as it is the key to conducting a successful marketing campaign. The customer segmentation should be used to generate patterns for targeting.
- Strategic Thinking
The first pillar of any marketing strategy is the alignment of the business objectives. A successful strategy is based on designing the process, planning marketing activities, and establishing KPIs. Marketing tactics should be aligned with the objectives.
- Mastery of Marketing Channels and Technologies
There are multiple categories for digital marketing channels which makes it important for the marketing consultant to achieve mastery over the most important channels. Some of the core channels should always be included such as SEO, social media, PPC, content marketing.
Another aspect is the ability to audit, manage and optimize digital platforms, such as Google Ads and SEO tools, being used in the marketing process. More recently, technical abilities have grown to encompass marketing automation tools, CRM platforms, CMS, and AI.
- Expectation and Performance Management
A business’s main demand is a data-driven strategy and campaign. Marketing consultation should consist of reliable KPIs, data reporting, and advanced analytics.
A marketing consultant is a highly specialized profile that requires a lot of skills to master. But if you can effectively master those skills and put them to good use in increasing the marketing efficiency and business ROI for your clients, there is no bar to the success that you can achieve as a marketing consultant.