When a company comes up with a new product or service, they want to get the word out there in any way they can. Unfortunately, most employees of the company are so focused on other aspects of that new product that they don’t have the time to actually help market it. This is where a marketing consultant comes into play. The marketing consultant will use their skills in business and creative thinking to come up with a successful marketing scheme that will spread the word and attract customers. What does a typical day in the life of a marketing consultant look like? What exactly are they expected to do, and how can you become one? While these questions and more will be covered shortly, you can learn even more through Udemy’s course on how to market yourself as a consultant!
What Do Marketing Consultants Do?
The marketing consultant must first become familiar with the products or services that the company offers, since different products require different marketing strategies. They must also become familiar with the age group and gender that the product is geared towards, because different target markets require different approaches; what works for adults won’t work for children and vice versa. They will brainstorm ways in which they can reach the most amount of people and gain the most amount of customers, while monitoring their progress along the way and tweaking their marketing plan as necessary throughout the process. Their main goal is to ensure that the company benefits the most they possibly can.
Marketing consultants are equal parts analytic and creative, which requires the use of both sides of their brain simultaneously. Over the course of their time with a specific company, they will:
- Come up with new ways to bring in customers. The world of consumerism is constantly evolving, so marketing consultants always need to be one step ahead of the market. Let’s say you own a bakery, but your business has been suffering lately. You hire a marketing consultant to help spread the word and get you more customers. In order to solve your problems, the marketing consultant may reach out to local businesses about catering their next big meeting or send out coupons to both businesses and homes around the area. They may also offer free tastings every Sunday, or start a “buy five get one” punch card.
- Alter marketing content. While advertising agencies have a combination of copywriters, artists and graphic designers ready to create compelling advertisements for your company, marketing consultants take a look at the material you already have and critique it in order to better appeal to potential customers. Are you sending out monthly emails but not gaining any new customers? A marketing consultant can take a look at what you’re saying in these emails and alter them to better fit your market. Are you paying to have a commercial aired but your business is still lacking? A marketing consultant can take a look at the commercial and offer ways to improve it, or let you know that you’ve been airing on the wrong channels at the wrong times.
- Re-brand the company. Maybe you’re not getting any new customers because your company’s brand is out of date. Styles are constantly changing, and your company should reflect this change. While you should still always consider your target market, many people look to do business with companies who seem as though they are going to be the most up-to-date and aware of new technology and modern advances. A marketing consultant can take a look at your overall brand and offer pointers on how to make it more appealing to your target market.
- Ensure repeat customers. When a customer has a good experience with a company, chances are they’ll continue to come back time and time again. A marketing consultant may suggest that those who have been customers of the company for a certain length of time (i.e. 5 or 10+ years) get offered service discounts or special offers if they continue to return.
- Enhance social media presence. With everything going digital, every company should be turning towards social media to spread the word. Friends share with friends who share with more friends, so it’s important to create engaging material for all relevant social media networks. It also offers a way for potential customers to get constant updates on new products and services, as well as a means of communication between company and consumer.
- Review website for SEO. Search Engine Optimization is one of the easiest ways to attract new customers these days without having to resort to strictly outbound marketing. The customer types what they are looking for into the search engine, and if your company’s webpage is specialized with SEO keywords then they will be led straight towards you. A marketing consultant can go through your website’s content and make sure that enough keywords are present.
- Review analytics. A marketing consultant can keep track of the amount of views, comments and new customers you bring in through each form of marketing. They’ll keep an up-to-date record of your progress so that they can alter or add new means of marketing.
How Do You Become a Marketing Consultant?
Before you decide you want to become a marketing consultant, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you good at networking, and are you willing to spend the time necessary to build a successful network?
- Will you be self-motivated enough to work from home, with no boss telling you what to do and no coworkers to goof off with during lunchtime?
- Are you able to self-promote yourself effectively? Do you have the motivation to reach out and find clients?
- Are you financially stable enough to give up your salaried 9-5 position and move to something more unstable?
- Are you willing to travel for business purposes?
- Will you be able to solve any technological problems you may come across, and are you willing to figure out your freelance taxes?
If you’ve answered yes to the majority of these questions, you may have what it takes to become a marketing consultant. Becoming a marketing consultant is something that doesn’t happen overnight, or even right out of college. Marketing consultants are essentially freelancers; they offer their services to a wide variety of companies, not being hired as a direct full-time employee of the company. While this allows flexibility within the career, it also means that the consultant needs to have a lot of knowledge about different marketing problems companies may come across.
Because of this, you can’t simply jump into becoming a consultant before you’ve worked in the marketing industry for a few years. You’ll increase your chances of success if you get higher eduction with a major in business, marketing or advertising before embarking on your career journey. If you’re serious about becoming a successful consultant, try to pick a niche market that you know you can succeed in. While you can become a consultant who serves every type of company under the sun, it will be easier to develop your skills in one particular niche. This way, you’ll know that you’ll be able to come up with solutions and have the chance to use and improve on them time and time again, while becoming a part of a certain community that will make finding work easier. Will you serve large companies or small? Will you focus one aspect of marketing or will you help companies with whatever they need? The best niche markets are those that reach out to a wide variety of audiences and offer high-priced services. The more audiences you can reach out to, the less bored you’ll get, and the more money they make off of their services the more they’ll be able to pay you for yours.
Later on in your career, a lot of your clients will come from recommendations and referrals from previous clients, as well as repeat clients that are constantly in need of your knowledge of the ever-changing market. In the earlier days, finding work won’t be this easy. You’ll need to know how to market yourself and prove to companies that you can do what you can say you can do. Maybe you have specific examples from your previous work experience or maybe you offer your first service for free (if you can afford it) to prove that you can bring in positive results. It’s important to always be aware of the market and what customers are looking for. You should always have a few key marketing solutions under your belt that you can alter depending on a company’s personal needs and goals. Whatever you do, never stop networking. The more your voice is heard, the more companies will come to you with their problems. If you start by keeping your costs low (but still high enough for you to live off of), you can start offering your services to small start-up companies and build a portfolio of success from there.
If you know you want to become a marketing consultant but you’re worried your personal business won’t thrive, Udemy’s course on how to market yourself to prospective clients will give you the confidence and motivation you need to succeed!