What Does a Marketing Consultant Do? Your Complete Career Guide

Afoma Umesi, Contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

If you’re looking to switch things up in your marketing career, you may have considered becoming a marketing consultant. But what does a marketing consultant do exactly? If you’ve wondered about this and other marketing consulting questions, we’re here to help you clear things up.

If you’d like to skip ahead to one of the sections, just use the clickable menu:

  1. What is a marketing consultant, and what do they do?
  2. What are the main tasks and responsibilities of a marketing consultant?
  3. What skills do you need to work as a marketing consultant?
  4. Where do marketing consultants work?
  5. What is the average marketing consultant salary?
  6. How to become a marketing consultant
  7. Key takeaways and next steps

1. What is a marketing consultant, and what do they do?

A marketing consultant is a marketing professional hired temporarily to help an organization bolster its marketing efforts. 

Typically, organizations reach out to hire a marketing consultant when they’re struggling with brainstorming or executing an effective marketing strategy. They may also hire one when they do not have the resources to hire an in-house marketing team.

Marketing consultants handle a wide array of tasks across developing, implementing, analyzing, and maintaining a successful marketing strategy. Depending on the organization’s choices (or the consultant’s evaluation), these efforts could be spread across several marketing channels.

Let’s examine more closely what’s involved in the day-to-day of being a marketing consultant.

2. What are the main tasks and responsibilities of a marketing consultant?

Depending on the reason why the consultant was hired, they may be building out a marketing strategy from scratch or tweaking a currently ineffective one.

Although each organization will have different needs, here are the general tasks and responsibilities a marketing consultant may perform:

  • Analyzing existing marketing strategies to see if they’re still effective and identifying any weak links to improve on
  • Creating a new marketing strategy to help the company reach their marketing goals
  • Developing a new brand identity or helping to refine the old identity to connect with the target audience
  • Developing a new content style guide to facilitate the creation of fresh, impactful content
  • Optimizing old content for search engines and refreshing old content to match a new content guide
  • Building a social media strategy to help the organization harness their social media channels
  • Training employees who will continue the marketing efforts after the consultant contract has ended
  • Creating new workflows and processes for more efficient project management 
  • Monitoring the progress of new marketing strategies by keeping track of analytics for SEO, PPC, social media marketing metrics, etc.
  • Reporting on progress as needed to keep the client up to date

3. What skills do you need to work as a marketing consultant?

Handling a bevy of responsibilities as a marketing consultant demands certain skills. 

Depending on the scope of work, a marketing consultant may either focus on one marketing channel or provide valuable recommendations on several, if not all the marketing channels in use. They may also be charged with helping the company launch into a new marketing channel.

The following skills will come in particularly handy for a marketing consultant:

Marketing savvy

It goes without saying, but a marketing consultant should be an expert in the field. Ideally, they should either have plenty of experience managing a breadth of marketing channels or in-depth experience with a specific channel. This ensures that they can provide valuable input to the teams they work with.

Analytics

As a marketing consultant, analytics should mean more than numbers to you. You should be able to understand what the metrics mean and which strategies are likely to improve your client’s conversion rates, click-through rate, traffic, or other positive key performance indicators (KPIs).

Communication skills

Marketing consultants are new, usually temporary team members, so it is crucial that they be able to communicate well. You’ll need to communicate your strategies to the client as well as to the team you’ll be working with. That way, everyone can be on the same page.

Organization

Juggling multiple job responsibilities requires that a marketing consultant has strong organizational skills. This can also extend to project management skills and an ability to keep track of dates and meet several deadlines regularly.

Teamwork

You might be the expert consultant, but you’ll need to work well with others on the team to ensure a hassle-free workflow. Marketing consultants may also need to flex their leadership muscles, teaching team members the ropes and nurturing their strong points.

Creativity

Creativity is the fuel of marketing and thinking outside the box will keep your ideas fresh—especially for content creation.

Strong writing skills

Content marketing is exploding. More and more companies are relying on blogs, case studies, and ebooks to promote their brand. As a marketing consultant, you’ll need to have writing skills and more than a basic understanding of copywriting and content writing.

Design

There’s no marketing without visuals. Whether it’s visuals for a website, blogs, social media, or otherwise, it’s essential that you have an eye for design.

Research

Research is inextricably linked to marketing. You’ll need to research competitors, keywords, subject matter, strategies, and much more to be an effective marketing consultant.

4. Where do marketing consultants work?

The great news? As a marketing consultant, you can work in any industry—as long as they have marketing needs. These include:

  • Technology
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Media
  • Finance
  • Hospitality

This means you get to decide on a niche for yourself. Like any digital marketing expert, you’ll need to choose which industry and marketing channels you’d like to focus on. Once that’s done, you can start looking for marketing consultant roles in those areas.

5. What is the average marketing consultant salary?

Before you rush out and quit your current job or pivot to marketing consultancy, let’s look into how much you can earn as a marketing consultant.

Because this is a freelance role, it varies widely from city to city, across industries, and depending on the range of experience a person has. Here’s what we found in our research:

  • According to Glassdoor, the average marketing consultant salary is $67,925 per year
  • According to Payscale, the average marketing consultant salary is $62,752 per year
  • According to Zip Recruiter, the average marketing consultant salary is $53,457 per year
  • According to Indeed, the average marketing consultant salary is $55,671 per year

This leads us to an average marketing consulting salary of $59,951 per annum. Sounds good to you? If so, how can you become a marketing consultant? 

6. How to become a marketing consultant

There’s no shortcut to becoming a consultant of any kind. So if you’re new to digital marketing and are looking for an entry-level role, this may not be the one for you. We recommend instead looking into how to become a freelance digital marketer.

Already been in the digital marketing game for a while? Here’s how to become a marketing consultant.

Get an education (optional)

If you want to become an expert faster, the best route is to gain a degree (undergraduate or postgraduate) in marketing. This positions you as a ready-made expert who only needs a bit of experience to get noticed. Some certifications can also help you accomplish this if you’d rather not spend too much time in university. These include:

These should get you started on the right foot.

Experience

With marketing, there’s no substitute for hands-on experience. Most marketing consultants understandably have at least five years of experience under their belts. If you’re already a few years into your marketing career, gain more experience by experimenting with various marketing channels and industries. You can take courses, learn from peers, or learn by continuing to collaborate as a marketer.

Networking

When choosing a new career path, networking is priceless. If you’re a digital marketer interested in becoming a consultant, network with other marketers on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook groups. For the latter, it’s as easy as searching for “digital marketers” and seeing which groups pop up.

7. Key takeaways and next steps

If you’ve recently decided to explore consultancy in your marketing career, it’s important to know what a marketing consultant actually does. Several skills, such as communication, writing, teamwork, design, and research are essential for this role. However, the key ingredient to becoming a marketing consultant is experience.

If you’re new to digital marketing in general, focus on gaining knowledge, experience, and a network of peers to propel you. 

Want to learn more about digital marketing? Check out CareerFoundry’s free 5-day course, or read some related articles:

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