How to Become a Marketing Consultant
From 2016 to 2020, more than 20,000 new products hit supermarket shelves every year. That’s over 100,000 new products over the course of five years. Innovation is at an all-time high now that everyday people have access to an astounding number of technological resources.
What do those new products have to do with you launching a new career? Everything!
Now is the perfect time to enter the marketing field as a consultant. Innovation and product development are at an all-time high as companies big and small compete not only for shelf space but virtual attention.
How do companies make the public aware of their new products? Through marketing, of course. How do they keep their existing products in the minds of consumers as new competition is introduced? Marketing again.
We’re also living in times when consumers thoroughly research and compare products online before buying. How do they find information about companies selling products they want to buy? Through the marketing efforts of smart businesses.
In 2019, Forbes declared that “marketing matters more now than ever before” and that is even more true today. Launching a new product isn’t enough to make a splash in most markets today because there are so many other new products launching at the same time.
You need something more, and that’s expert guidance from someone who understands marketing. That’s guidance from a well-trained marketing consultant.
What Does a Marketing Consultant Do?
Marketing consultants help businesses develop and implement cost-effective marketing plans that deliver results. They don’t do the day-to-day tasks that are required to implement marketing strategies. Consultants are more like strategists. They create the big picture and then guide a company’s marketing team toward success. In some cases, they may even take the role of hiring good candidates to build a marketing team for a company.
This role requires a great deal of marketing knowledge, but it doesn’t require a college degree. Some marketing consultant firms may require a degree for new employees, but you have the option of working as an independent consultant. That still requires marketing expertise, so let’s discuss what it takes to become a marketing consultant and how you can launch your career.
Steps to Becoming a Marketing Consultant
The following six-step process will work whether you’re ready to pivot into a new career, have some marketing experience but aren’t an expert, or just want a job that allows you to work from home. We all want the independence that comes from working as an independent contractor, but not everyone will succeed as a marketing consultant. The first step in this process will tell you why.
1. Check if your personality and soft skills are suitable for the role.
Anyone can learn marketing strategies, and we’re going to tell you how to do that in the next step. Unfortunately, not everyone has the soft skills and personal attributes that are required to thrive as a marketing consultant, including:
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Organization skills
- Leadership skills
- Listening skills
- Time management
- Determination and drive
If you know you don’t have all of these soft skills or personal attributes right now, don’t panic. You can work on them over time. What’s important is that you acknowledge from the start where your weaknesses are and plan to overcome them.
2. Obtain general marketing knowledge.
You can’t work as a marketing consultant if you don’t understand marketing. In fact, your clients will expect you to have expert-level knowledge even if you don’t have years of experience behind you. You get that knowledge by enrolling in a training program dedicated to marketing. Make sure the instructors are all industry leaders with up-to-date experience because marketing changes constantly.
You can also learn by plugging into marketing groups and discussions on LinkedIn and other places online. That doesn’t take the place of a comprehensive training program like what you get from Protimera.
3. Decide if you want to specialize or become a general marketing consultant.
You can take your marketing knowledge and start a consultancy business right away, but many consultants focus on a specialized field. You may find that you enjoy copywriting and search engine optimization far more than other forms of marketing. Building your business around the services you enjoy providing is an option.
Another option is to specialize in marketing for a particular field. Do you want to work with small businesses or maybe start-ups? What about dental practices, nonprofits, or fitness professionals? Selecting a field you know a lot about could give you an advantage over competitors.
You may also decide to specialize in online marketing or a specific form of offline advertising. Think about the clients you would like to work with and the services that they will likely need. We’re going to dive deeper into those clients in the next step, but you can get a head start here if it helps you pick a specialization.
4. Identify your ideal client and get to know their needs.
What is your ideal client likely doing right now? What problems do they have that you can help them solve? Where are they likely hanging out when it’s time to make business connections or find service providers? Do a little research into your market to see where you can find clients who need your services and have the budget to pay for them.
You may start with a general list of potential client categories, but try to narrow it down with more specifics. Selecting one niche target could help you land that first client. It’s better to speak to the unique needs of one client than to generalize your services to appeal to everyone.
5. Determine how you can meet the needs of your ideal clients and why they should trust you.
You know your specialty or have decided not to choose one. You have a good idea of who your ideal clients are and what they need. It’s time to decide why you’re the one to meet those needs.
Don’t limit yourself to marketing experience and training here. If you choose a specialty based on past work experience or personal knowledge, that could be what lands you clients. Many business professionals want to work with marketing consultants who understand their industry well.
List everything that qualifies you to serve your ideal clients. If you had two minutes to tell them why they should trust you with their marketing strategy, what would you say? If you don’t know right now, that’s okay. It’s something to work on as you complete your marketing training and start building your online platform for success.
6. Create a solid online platform to introduce your consultancy services to the world.
The first step to showing potential clients that you’re qualified to guide their marketing efforts is to market yourself. Smart business owners and CEOs will notice how you present yourself online. They’ll take note of how they discovered you and how many of their colleagues or competitors have heard of your services.
Creating an online marketing platform for yourself is good practice as a new marketing consultant. It allows you to apply many of the strategies you learned about in your training program firsthand. You’ll learn your market and then work to claim your fair share of the best clients just as you will later guide those clients to do the same for themselves.
You’ve already done a lot of the hard work. You know what type of clients you want to work with and what you can offer them. Now is the time to convince them to become your first clients. It starts with setting up online resources that will promote for you continuously and showing up where your clients are already hanging out.
Where to Find Marketing Clients Fast
At this point, you’re probably wondering where you should look for clients. There are many options plus an endless array of creative possibilities, but there are 2 main platforms that we’ll mention now:
Each of these platforms can help you find clients even when you’re starting from scratch. You may need some way to display the quality of your work, so make sure to establish your accounts in a way that represents the business you’re building. Promote yourself as an example of the work you will do for others.
7. Put yourself in the right place at the right time.
If you’re eager to start your career as a marketing consultant and don’t want to wait for online marketing to pay off, put some effort into networking. You can network online or find events in your local area. Use everything you’ve learned about marketing to find unique opportunities to introduce yourself to someone new.
Even social acquaintances may lead to new clients. Let everyone know that you have invested in professional training and are now available as a consultant. Sometimes the best clients come from unexpected places.
8. Continue developing new skills and working on your weaknesses.
Even after you secure your first marketing consulting client and then a few more and even a few more, you aren’t off the hook with education. Things change in the marketing world all the time, and it’s your job as an expert consultant to keep up with the trends. Networking with other marketers and reading credible resources online will help you keep up with the industry, but what about skills that you know aren’t your strongest?
The best marketing consultants are always striving to improve their weaknesses. They may also choose to outsource tasks that aren’t their favorites, but you should strive to continue learning and improving your skill set. You’ll become more and more desirable to your ideal clients as a result.
Look back at that list of skills needed to succeed as a marketing consultant. Pick one that you know isn’t your strongest attribute. Write down at least three actions you can take to improve that skill. Commit to taking at least one of those actions in the next week or at least setting it in motion. You’re on your way to becoming a successful marketing consultant with the bank account to prove your skill.
Taking the Next Step
Assessing your suitability for a marketing consultant position was the first step towards building your new career. If you believe you’re ideal for the position, congratulations! You’re ready for the next step, which is to obtain the knowledge needed to fill the role with confidence. That’s where Protimera can help.
Protimera is launching virtual training experiences that will take you from a complete novice to a marketing expert. The platform is entirely online, so you can study at your own pace and at any time of the day or night. Every lesson is guided by established marketing experts who are currently working in the position you want to land.
If your goal is to secure a job with a marketing firm, then you might consider a college degree. If you want to work with greater freedom, set your own rates, and launch a marketing consultant career faster, then training with Protimera will be a faster and more cost-effective option.
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