Are you keen to put your expert marketing skills to work to help businesses thrive? If so, you may enjoy the role of marketing consultant. But before you hang out your shingle and start bringing on clients, you may be wondering how much you can earn as one.
This will not be a full-time role for many people—many marketers consult on the side—but the great thing is that your total earnings are highly dependent on how much work you take on and how much you charge.
This article will give you a reasonable idea of what you can expect to make as a marketing consultant, based on salary averages worldwide.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
- What is a marketing consultant? A brief overview
- What is the average marketing consultant salary in the United States?
- Marketing consultant salary data around the world
- Marketing consultant salary data across different industries
- How to get started as a marketing consultant
- Key takeaways
1. What is a marketing consultant? A brief overview
Generally speaking, a consultant gets paid to provide guidance to businesses on a specific area of expertise. You can consult on virtually everything that’s not common knowledge, but obviously there needs to be demand for your services to be successful. Marketing consultants are in high demand, especially those with specific focuses, like paid or organic search, social media, product marketing, email, and so on.
A marketing consultant can provide strategies and tactics that will help businesses achieve their goals or perform the work (or even do both.) It depends on personal preference and business needs.
For example, if you’re consulting for a business on content marketing, you might provide keyword research, general points of interest for prospective buyers, and an outline for a year’s worth of content topics. If you enjoy writing and a business has the need, you could even write the articles for them. The same thing goes with videos or other forms of content. It’s up to you to decide what services to offer.
2. What is the average marketing consultant salary in the United States?
Given that it can be a full-time job or a side gig, the marketing consultant salary can vary greatly. Additionally, factors like geography, years of experience, area of expertise, and what you decide to charge all influence what you can expect to earn.
That said, aggregate data offers a reasonable idea of the average marketing consultant salary, and you can use it to estimate how much you might be able to earn.
Let’s dig into the numbers! While it depends on what data you look at, you can reasonably expect to earn between $55,000 and $68,000 as a marketing consultant in the United States. Here are some examples from companies that collect this information:
Those salaries are aggregate data taken from marketing consulting job postings and submitted by individuals all over the U.S. (remember that geography can influence your total take). However, if you’re looking for state-specific information, Zippia provides great marketing consultant salary data from all fifty states. For example:
- Wyoming, Hawaii, and Florida have the lowest average marketing consultant salaries at $48,487, $49,397, and $50,905, respectively.
- Delaware, Washington, and Rhode Island have the highest average marketing consultant salaries at $105,453, $92,716, and $91,728, respectively.
Interestingly, data suggests that proximity to large metropolitan areas does not significantly impact salary, possibly because marketing consultants can work remotely and with all types of businesses, from mom-and-pop to Fortune 100.
For example, Oregon’s average marketing consultant salary ($84,681) is greater than New York’s ($74,162) and Florida, despite a lack of large cities.
3. Average marketing consultant salary around the world
Marketing consultants aren’t limited to the United States. Far from it! There are experts worldwide who earn a range of yearly salaries as marketing consultants. Check out the salaries people earn in different areas of the globe:
- India: ₹755,569
- Bulgaria: BGN 26,873
- New Zealand: NZD $80,264
- South Africa: R 240,000
- Japan: ¥7,280,678
- Norway: NOR 580,798
- Thailand: THB 1,555,000
These figures were accurate at the time of publication, but fluctuations occur regularly.
If you are considering becoming a marketing consultant, keep in mind that salaries in any given country should be taken in context with the cost of living and take-home pay. For example, the average yearly marketing salary consultant in India is roughly $10,000 USD, which may seem low to Americans, but given that you can rent an apartment in Delhi for under $200 a month, it is actually a livable income.
A marketing consultant earns the equivalent of $64,500 USD in Norway, but income tax rates are 38.20%, and the cost of living is relatively high, especially in popular cities like Oslo.
Do your research before striking out on your own as a marketing consultant so you know you’ll be able to support yourself. That said, as a consultant, you can influence your income by the number of projects you take on.
4. Average marketing consultant salary in different industries
It’s difficult to nail down a marketing consultant salary for any one sector, as data is scarce and highly variable. However, particular industries have historically paid higher fees to consultants in general. This is because certain verticals have larger margins or are highly regulated, requiring specialized knowledge.
For example, banking, finance, and pharmaceuticals are all highly regulated and tend to generate larger profit margins than other industries. Non-profits and restaurants, on the other hand, have much tighter margins, so they tend to be less lucrative.
Furthermore, the size of the company you are consulting for can significantly influence your compensation. A tiny credit union will not pay as much as a global financial behemoth, and Michelin-starred restaurants will most likely be able to afford higher fees than a mom-and-pop operation.
If you are looking to consult for companies in a specific industry, it’s best to think about which industries you have experience in and appeal to you most, rather than focusing solely on how much you may be able to earn.
5. How to get started as a marketing consultant
While virtually anyone can become a marketing consultant, not everyone can be a successful one. The best marketing consultants have drive, substantial experience, and deliver solid returns for their clients.
Here’s how to become a successful marketing consultant:
Get experience in the field!
It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’re not well-positioned to provide marketing advice to others if you haven’t done it yourself first. That’s not to say you need decades of experience, but you’ll at least need to have planned and executed strategies that you’ll be advising other companies about. If you haven’t done them yourself, you won’t know what pitfalls to look out for and won’t have insider knowledge to share.
If you want to take on a project you don’t have prior experience on, the best thing to do is research how to do it and leverage transferable learnings from previous campaigns. Bonus points if you use a small budget to test out a bare-bones version of what you’re planning ahead of time.
Decide what services you’ll offer
What do you like to do as a marketer? Offer services you want to do on a daily basis, not just the ones that are most lucrative. Being your own boss is empowering, but it also means no one is looking over your shoulder, ensuring you get your work done. The more you like what you do, the more intrinsically motivated you’ll be to drum up business and deliver better results.
You should also determine if you’ll be a “jack-of-all-trades” marketing consultant who offers a wide range of services or a specialized one. Each has its pros and cons.
For example, if you’re a specialized marketer, you will have a more limited range of projects you can take on, but you can potentially charge more for your services because you’ll be considered an expert in one or two channels. If you choose to offer a broader range of general marketing services, you’ll have a much wider pool of potential clients, but you may have trouble competing with specialists for jobs.
Consider if you like variety or prefer to continue to refine your skills in one particular aspect of marketing, as this preference will also influence your decision.
Get an education
While you may not need a marketing education to become a marketing consultant, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have one, especially one that could help connect you to potential clients. Your fellow students, teachers, mentors, etc., all may know people who could use your services.
Even better, enrolling in a marketing bootcamp or taking a few free online classes every year or so can help you stay on top of emerging trends and new channels.
Set up an online presence that positions you as an expert
In today’s digital environment, you may as well not exist if you don’t have an online presence. At the very least, you’ll need a website that showcases your skills and experience. Social media is also a crucial part of promoting yourself.
Post marketing tips, case studies, contests, and other engaging content on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, etc., to help you stand out from other marketing consultants.
6. Key takeaways
So there you have it—our marketing consultant salary guide. If you think you have what it takes to be a marketing consultant, there are plenty of opportunities out there ripe for the taking. While your earnings may be lower to start, keep at it and continue networking and promoting yourself to find new clients. Eventually, you’ll build up an excellent base and can use them for referrals.
Remember, money isn’t everything! The great thing about being a marketing consultant is that you can take on as many or as few projects as you want—and you can always scale up or down to meet your current needs.
If you’re interested in a career in marketing, you may be interested in CareerFoundry’s free, 5-day digital marketing course. You may also enjoy any of the following articles: