Marketing consultant - Roles and responsibilities
Whether large or small, a marketing consultant is so important in recent years. The role of a marketing consultant is one of the most important roles in the marketing industry. Fundamentally, the marketing consultant's role is considered a strategist and highly skilled professional advisor who assists the marketing department in achieving the business goals.
To achieve larger goals, a marketing consultant analyses the existing business model, and then, by using analytical tools and considering the market potential, he develops a marketing strategy. Then, by implementing a comprehensive strategic marketing plan, the marketing consultant ensures adherence to the company's mission; he measures success, test response, and track results.
Hiring a marketing consultant can be the key to establish a brand identity and build a loyal customer base. In addition, a marketing consultant could be a valuable asset if you are looking for a way to take your company's marketing activities to the next level.
- What is a marketing consultant?
- What does a marketing consultant do?
- Key functions of marketing consultant
- Role and responsibilities of marketing consultant
- Marketing consultant skills
- Why hire a marketing consultant?
- When to Hire a Marketing Consultant?
- Rise of digital marketing consultants
- Independent vs. Freelance marketing consultants
- Cost to Hire a Marketing consultant
What is a marketing consultant?
A marketing consultant is commercially defined as an external advisor with advanced marketing experience who provides extensive marketing services based on market research, effective marketing strategies, market analysis, and marketing optimization.
Based on detailed analysis and data-driven frameworks, the marketing consultant helps the companies formulate an effective strategic approach. Understanding consumer needs, analyzing insights, processes, and issues, they suggest and apply solutions with great expertise and experience.
The marketing consultant can be a part of a consultancy firm or work as an independent consultant. Each business has its own unique goals and challenges; hence, the role of a consultant varies from company to company and from project to project. Nevertheless, they are the ones who bridge the gap between current marketing plan failure and what is needed for a successful marketing strategy.
What does a marketing consultant do?
Fundamentally, his role is considered a highly professional advisor, analyst, and strategist who can assist your marketing department or agency in achieving your business goals. For example, a marketing consultant helps their client fix the message their business is trying to present by building a thorough marketing plan and identifying the appropriate marketing mix to get the word out to reach their target customers.
Marketing consultants are in charge of planning, and they provide their support in the execution of marketing strategy. In addition, they monitor the current marketing plan and do required modifications in current operations to get the best results from the marketing efforts.
Key functions of marketing consultant
Consultants offer their guidance and great expertise to your businesses which help you to enhance your business performance. So let's dive a little deeper to understand the functions of this professional in detail.
Marketing consultants are skilled, and they know how to grow business operations that can work for your company. They help to fine-tune your business in a way that supports your business to run smoothly with increased productivity.
Four key areas can help any business to hit profitability. First, a consultant explains how to make a business profitable by reducing costs, increasing profit, improving productivity, and enhancing efficiency. Then, they guide how to plan and manage change and deliver growth for your bottom line.
A marketing consultant is aware that real insights into a business come from identifying the unique behaviors that follow your organization's mission and vision, work culture, customer needs, and strategic goals. Similarly, they work along with your team to create plans together and formulate new strategies.
Enhancing the structure of your organization is a significant function of a marketing consultant. They are quite thoughtful in creating a plan which prepares you for future growth. Planning is the best way to build an organizational structure that boosts your business growth.
We all have used a map before we set off across a new location to avoid getting lost. Similarly, strategy acts as a roadmap for the success of an organization.
A marketing consultant co-works with a company to examine their current marketing strategy, formulate a suitable plan to fill the existing gaps, execute the finalized program, measure the key performance indicators, and adjust achievable goals based on results.
Role and responsibilities of marketing consultant
Depending on the key action areas, marketing consultants play different roles, but in general, you could split these roles as below:
Company-wide activities, plans, and strategies
- Seek out opportunities to connect with new clients
- They work towards conducting research, interviewing employees, conducting consumer surveys, and using those observations to understand the business.
- Try to detect issues and find solutions to fix them.
- Help in understanding your competitors and the risks and dangers in your marketplace.
- They gather, analyze and present final data to the top management.
- Help in reinforcing an organization's working culture based on its vision, values, or internal communications.
- They work with the human resource department to align their recruitment, branding, and marketing efforts with potential employees of the company.
- They manage events and internal communications projects of your company.
- They develop and implement new action plans for organizations.
- Managing the client's email accounts and websites
Products and services
- Help in making suggestions for a new or existing product or service development.
- They use research methodology models based on focus groups, conduct in-depth interviews, do quantitative research, etc., and implement statistical methodologies to test innovations and present findings to the customer for feedback.
- Manage the results of a company's or product's brand or work towards rebranding.
Marketing campaigns and lead generation
- They evaluate and analyze current marketing campaigns.
- They try to find the best digital marketing campaigns for you, e.g., social media campaigns, email marketing, etc., and optimize to bring faster returns on investment.
- Suggest apps and platforms that would help in your company's marketing processes and campaigns.
Marketing consultant skills
Marketing consultants use both technical and soft skills to work efficiently with clients and successfully manage their work. These consultants have market-specific experience and are skilled in marketing, communications, and psychology. Many will also specialize in specific areas of the marketing process, such as online marketing, direct response marketing, social or digital media marketing, nonprofit marketing, copywriting, print or TV advertising, or public relations.
Important skills of an experienced consultant include:
Good marketing consultants will have well-developed communication skills, which play a crucial role. Marketing professionals should be able to communicate their ideas efficiently to their teams and their target audience. They should be masters of writing copies and emails, holding one-on-one meetings, leading group discussions, public speaking, and negotiating.
Marketing consultants should be able to work well with teams of other professionals. Their ability to take ideas from multiple sources and find a way ahead to complement each other. Marketing consultants serve as mediators between a company's executives, content creators, and other employees. It's often challenging to create campaigns that incorporate everyone's preferences but are necessary for their job.
Marketing consultants work for clients of multiple industries and fields. They should be flexible enough and able to adapt their strategies to suit each company. At times companies may change directions or alter a project on short notice. They should be experienced enough so that they can perform well in a variety of environments.
Marketing consultants use their creativity to design innovative campaigns which can capture the imagination of the public. Creative consultants can think outside the box and come up with unique ideas that help their client's products stand out.
While adhering to a strict schedule, marketing consultants use their organizational skills to manage their tasks as per deadlines and manage multiple assignments at once. An organized marketing consultant can manage their team effectively to avoid delays caused by miscommunication or confusion regarding responsibilities.
Why hire a marketing consultant?
Sometimes companies need external assistance with their marketing as their current marketing strategy looks flawed and not working. Usually, they are loaded with a wide range of services to offer and know-how to grow businesses, helping them reach their full marketing potential. This is where we need to hire a marketing consultant.
A skilled and efficient consultant will bring a holistic approach to your large and small companies, helping you to identify roadblocks and workarounds. These are three main reasons why it makes the most sense for companies to hire a marketing consultant.
Marketing not working
An expert marketing consultant can identify breakdowns in the company's marketing systems and create workarounds and provide solutions. Marketing consultants can even take the lead in describing the value and mission of a business.
Need for specialized marketing skill
The company may already have a marketing department; it may be performing well in certain areas while lacking in others. The marketing team doesn't have the means or time to tackle several identified flaws that need to be fixed.
For example, listening to customer feedback about their latest prototype, the company is developing a new product. But, no one at the company has any idea of consumer research. So, it's probably best to find someone to assist in carrying in-depth interviews with consumers.
Similarly, in another situation, for retargeting customers who usually abandon the cart before finalizing the purchase, a company wants to develop its marketing automation. Unfortunately, no one in the company has ever worked with retargeting before. Then In this situation, the best thing would be to hire a marketing agency or a marketing consultant to help you. This is when it makes sense to bring in a specialized consulting firm for this task.
Need for an outsider perspective
Through honest feedback, renowned companies are regularly evaluating themselves. They do this to get better day by day. You have to know about your deficiencies before you can up your marketing game.
A much-needed outsider perspective can be provided by an experienced marketing consultant, helping companies to identify their market areas that need improvement.
When to Hire a Marketing Consultant?
Most companies try to hire a marketing consultant to gain an efficient market analysis and the consumer. However, they are more eager for a third eye perspective to review the marketing strategy and campaign performance in some cases. This need for external agency consulting could vary based on the nature of the business, industry, and company size.
If your company is small or a startup and you don't have marketing experts on staff, or maybe you have your dedicated marketing department, you can still take the advice of a marketing consultant.
Startups and small companies
Startups and small businesses usually tend to hire fresh graduates as they can afford them. Hiring full-time marketing professionals is a costly affair for them. The marketing consultant can help them in making their marketing strategy.
- They provide the required marketing experience to establish the brand in the targeted market
- They assist in building the business module by providing their market research and strategic approach
- Consult on the marketing channels, and the consultant gives campaign tactics
- They assist in designing and product development
- They set up the marketing channels and processes
Mid-sized businesses and firms usually have marketing agencies as well as dedicated marketing teams. But, there are gaps in the required evaluation process and marketing performance. Hiring a marketing consultant can help companies in the following ways:
- For reviewing the internal challenges, they provide an external vision and assistance
- They indicate the gaps and the opportunities in the organization
- They assist in the restructuring plan
- They advise the top management in the formulation of marketing strategy
- They provide a roadmap to improve the marketing performance and return on investment
- They allow the company to benefit from specialized expertise
- Help in presenting a new perspective of the customer persona and marketplace
Rise of digital marketing consultants
The evolution of the digital world came up with a diverse range of channels and multiple platforms. As a result, a generation of experts started to arise in every category like social media, SEO, and content geeks.
Practically, it isn't easy to find a 360-degree digital marketing consultant with an in-depth understanding of strategic marketing and at the same time having good experience in different digital channels like performance, organic, and campaign optimization. These capabilities require professionals who have a good technical background and optimization and are experienced enough in managing end-to-end marketing projects for multiple brands and industries.
Independent vs. Freelance marketing consultants
These two terms might sound similar, but there are some differences between independent marketing consultants and freelance marketing consultants in the market.
An independent marketing consultant works as a consultancy firm. They follow a well-established process and possess fully integrated capabilities on board. They work under their brand, personalized list of services, resources, and hands-on experience in end-to-end projects.
Freelance marketing consultants like SEO consultants, Social media consultants, PPC, Content marketing, and many more are external marketing service providers specializing in one or more specific marketing channels. Freelance consultants generally work on a project basis.
Cost to Hire a Marketing consultant
Let's get into the statistics of the cost of hiring a marketing consultant. After knowing the number of advantages that hiring a marketing consultant can generate, you might be paying a pro marketing consultant at an hourly rate from $150.00/hour to $300/hour.
A marketing consultant helps your company understand market intricacies, current market trends, prevailing competition, strengths and weaknesses, future trends, and other elements. The marketing consultant will work jointly with your company to develop brand awareness, marketing campaigns, or products or services. They can also help you to build and develop your strong marketing team or your marketing processes. Sometimes they can help you to search marketing suppliers, advertising agencies, or marketing software and platforms.
If you consider hiring a marketing consultant, you can hire one who can show both practical and creative thinking and results-driven analysis. The one you hire should be an expert in digital technology along with experience of the consumer behavior of your target audience. In addition, a marketing consultant should be willing to work collaboratively to achieve the best possible results, not just for their portfolio but for the company's business goals.
About the author
Dennis Hoinkis has been working as a web developer and in online marketing since 1998. After building up a marketing agency and the exit in 2013, he consulted international groups as a freelance consultant. Since 2020, he and his team now offer staffing services in this field.
Dennis Hoinkis CEO, FSOM Group Corp.