What is a Marketing Consultant?

Marketing Consultant

Did you know that the marketing consultant industry is sized at $55 billion in the US?


The same report with that poignant stat also shows that, within the US, there are nearly 220,000 related businesses


Furthermore, there are currently a little bit over $412,000 employees within the industry throughout the nation.


Also, from 2015 to 2019, marketing consultation businesses have seen an annualized growth rate of 4.5%.


Why? Because rising profits throughout corporations and increasing advertising expenditure, have led to a higher demand for advisory services.


In that time, clients have leveraged the growing economy to spend more on advertising through new digital channels.


Instead of going to advertising agencies, freelance copywriters, or even standard marketers, the bulk of these corporations are spending their precious budget on marketing consultants.


How come?


Well, there’s a short and long answer to all of this.


The short answer first: marketing consultants have unparalleled expertise in the field that generates the most fruitful return on investment.


As far as the long answer goes, we’re going to take a deep dive and examine the nature of what necessitates being a marketing consultant.


If you’re interested, read on—and be prepared for thrills, spills, and potentially some marketing shills along the way:

1. Defining Marketing Consultants

Defining Marketing Consultants

Marketing consultant firms give clients (businesses and entrepreneurs alike) advice, direction, and assistance on marketing issues.


The sphere of their expertise extends to marketing objectives/policies, sales forecasting, new product development, pricing, licensing, franchising planning, and campaigning strategies.


When further assessing the scope of marketing consultants, you’ll see it also extends to sales management development as well as the realms of customer service development.


As you can see, this is a vast industry with many moving parts. And although it touches on many aspects of a given business, marketing consultation is highly specialized


Whatever service is offered by these skilled professionals, it’ll be delivered and executed with an in-depth level of passion and expertise.

2. How are consultants different from traditional agencies?

difference

You might be considering getting into marketing and want to know the difference between agencies and consultants.


We hear this question all the time and can understand why it’s confusing. It also makes sense to us why someone might think agencies and consultants are one and the same


However, they are very different things.


Below, we’ll look at how both contrast with each other through the perspective of a business wishing to hire marketing professionals:

  • Strategy versus implementation
Strategy versus implementation

Yes, you’re going to find some similarities between the standard agencies and consultation firms/consultants.


Where agencies and consultants primarily differentiate is through their core philosophies.


Marketing consultation is – for the most part – centered around strategizing and developing plans.


Agencies are focused on the implementation and execution of that strategy. It’s often that marketing silos merge and that the entire sales funnel experiences become the main sticking point for marketing.


As such, it’s not uncommon for agencies to offer consultation services. 


Nor is it unusual for consulting firms to provide agency-like services, involving implementation and execution.

  • Consultants work with a company
Consultants work with a company

Consultants work within the framework provided by a client.


Alternatively, agencies are offered the freedom to act on behalf of organizations to execute on strategies and plans.


One of the issues with an agency – that can negatively impact clients’ businesses – is that they can somewhat go rogue on a company. 


Having too much creative leeway can lead to veering too far away from working within a clients’ various processes and procedures.


Conversely, consultants immerse themselves in your business and work directly with employees.

  • Flexibility with team sizes
Team sizes

With agencies and consulting firms, team sizes can mirror one another. But consultants work towards one collective goal


Whereas, agencies have individuals working towards their own endgame—and aren’t necessarily clued into the big picture of your organization.


Consultants are often perceived as lone wolves or freelancers—which can be true or untrue


Firms can be one person, tiny boutiques, or an expansive operation, depending on who you’re dealing with.

  • Reliable team members

There are common traits you’ll find ring true about consultants—the employees within such firms are often quite seasoned. 


They possess a level of maturity, expertise, and battle-readiness that leaves them ready for any challenge. This also offers any potential clients the peace of mind to know they’re receiving sound advice.


With agencies, clients might end up dealing with a competitive group of individuals who are working AGAINST one another. This can result in substantial turnover and inconsistencies within the agency.


Now, this isn’t to decry all agencies


This competitive spirit can work to their advantage—and there’s a reason they’re still such a prominent force in the marketing industry.


The main point, though, is that you’re bound to get more reliable, steady, and surehanded services from consultants.

  • A matter of culture
A matter of culture

A business choosing between a marketing consultant or agency might just come down to a matter of taste and what you’re looking for.


Believe it or not, a report from Business Insider shows that the agency lifestyle still bears some resemblance to the days of Emmy Award-winning Mad Men


That means there’s still a lot of partying, drinking, and even something of a drug culture in these offices.


Sure, there might no longer be the rampant sexism displayed in the hit show. Still, that culture remains deeply ingrained in the fabric of those organizations.


Now, that’s not always a deterrent for a business. Creatives have a tendency to conjure up magic—but it can be at the cost of volatility and turbulence


These professionals work long hours and are under tremendous pressure to deliver, and that comes with high prices.


Don’t believe us?


Visit any agency, and you’ll find a full-stocked bar and fridge with all the alcohol you can imagine


And it’s expected that employees take part in this culture, or else they won’t fit in and might alienate themselves.


With consulting firms, as was hinted upon in the last section, clients are faced with a far more professional, level-headed culture


The people involved aren’t in it for the fast-paced life and glamor. Their primary purpose is to give organizations the best possible return on their investment based on performance metrics.

  • Allocation of budget and resources
budget

In many situations, an agency will charge an hourly rate for services—be it for graphic design, web development, copywriting, or print campaigns.


The amount of value a business gets for what is spent isn’t really set in stone


While companies can benefit from agencies putting their best man or woman on the job, they might be stuck with a wet-behind-the-ears rookie who takes twice as long to get the work done.


In fact, a client might not even meet the person working on their ads and other marketing collateral.


And what if the work isn’t up to your expectations? Businesses are still stuck with the bill. As well as with paying for future pitches until they land on something profitable.


Conversely, consulting firms tend to assign one person who familiarizes themselves with clients from the beginning of the work until its end.


Organizations won’t be wasting time on failed pitches or dropping vast chunks of their budget on campaigns that go nowhere.


With consulting firms, clients have peace of mind in knowing what they’re going to get. A consultant will work with you every step of the way, so there won’t be any surprises.

  • Focusing on your goals
Focusing on your goals

Agencies tend to be very conscious of their image---more than they care about a client’s goals as a business.


One example of how this manifests itself is through an obsession with winning awards


Therefore, agencies might provide tremendous creativity and cleverness, but that doesn’t necessarily generate profits or more revenue for their clients. 


In many cases, they’re worried about doing something trendy and hip, which ends up leading to a disaster.


Let’s break our narrative for a moment and assess this through the eyes of an aspiring marketing consultant. This awards-driven culture doesn’t come with much job security.


Once clients get sick of a lack of tangible results, your job might be out the window.


With consultation firms, their focus is on translating a business’s mission and vision into successful applications, images, videos, and more.


The aim of a consultant is for a business’s goals to be met in a marketing capacity. They also want to establish an engaging experience for your customers.


As a marketing consultant, your own voice or style pales in comparison to your overall vision and mission.


Winning awards come in a distant second (or third or fourth) when compared to awareness of a client’s brand and ROI.


Marketing consultants aim to blend into who their clients already are while generating tangible results.

3. What is a marketing consultant’s salary?

You’ll find that marketing consultant salaries at entry-level positions start at $29,363 per year


More experienced workers can earn around $90,000 per year.

4. How can you become a marketing consultant?

After reading this blog, it’s fair to wonder what exactly goes into becoming a marketing consultant. Thankfully, at Systeme.io, we have the answers.


Here are the general qualifications you’ll need to find a gig at a firm:

  • An MBA with a focus in marketing will take you over the top, but an undergraduate degree in marketing, business, or communications will suffice
  • A track record of marketing success—preferably several years spent as an established full-time corporate marketer
  • Experience in a wide range of industries or niche expertise will both help
  • You should be a top-notch copywriter and communicator
  • There’s a need for proficiency in the realms of social media, content production, Content Curation, SEO, lead generation, and PPC
  • Marketo, HubSpot, Eloqua, Pardot, or other leading marketing automation software experience
  • Firm confidence in your skillset is a must—you must always be prepared to stand by your work
  • Your skills in Excel, PowerPoint, Salesforce and Microsoft Office, should be strong
  • You’ll require a thorough grasp of strategy vs. tactic—namely, a strategy is a plan of action with a goal, whereas a tactic is a specific action involved in implementing the strategy

As you can see, marketing consultants are tremendously diverse professionals with impressive resumes. 


Otherwise, it’s impossible to survive in the industry.

5. How do you start a marketing consultant firm?

how to proceed

Realistically, you can start a marketing consultant business all on your own


Of course, to be successful, you’ll require the skills discussed above in the job description


Then, a laptop and limited funds can get you started all on your own.


It all depends on how you scale your business. If you’re starting as a one-person operation, don’t promise the world, and focus very little on execution and more on marketing direction.


Now, this isn’t going to work if you’re doing everything with a pen and paper. It’s the year 2020, and you need the tools that’ll help you thrive.


Meaning, you should look into software that’ll help you succeed as a marketing consultant.


There is mainstream software out there like ClickFunnels that’ll definitely give you the various foundational tools to launch a business of any size


However, it can be incredibly expensive to start with


While the tools are useful, it’ll be challenging to see a desirable return on your investment.


With a more affordable tool such as Systeme.io, it’ll be far easier to get started. 


You won’t have to take out a massive business loan to get things underway, and you’ll start seeing a return almost immediately


That is if you run your business the right way and utilize your expertise with your inherent marketing savvy.

6. Are you ready to embark upon your career as a marketing consultant?

With this detailed breakdown of the marketing consultant industry, you have enough information to know if it’s for you.


Do you see yourself as someone with a tremendous level of required expertise? Or do you envision yourself as more of a creative?


No matter your answer, we wish you the best of luck!

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