Outside The Box

What makes someone a marketing “consultant”?

Marketing is about telling a convincing story through words, pictures, movies and branding.

Large corporations and small business owners often hire marketing management consultants to rework their marketing strategies and deliver compelling stories to sell their products.  As a marketing consultant, your job includes advising clients on business and marketing strategies and how to combine the two for success, and then managing the tactical aspects of the solution through to completion. To accomplish this, it is important to have mastered the fundamentals of both marketing and sales.

There are three broad areas of expertise you need to achieve success as a marketing consultant.

Strategic Marketing Skills – It is important that you have strategic marketing skills to understand how a proposed marketing project fits into the overall picture for a company, and you can successfully communicate it to your client. You should understand not just Product, Place, Price, and Promotion, but also Research, Segmentation, Positioning, and Targeting. You also need to understand how marketing will affect sales, as it also affects your client’s relationship with their customers.

What are the main strengths of a marketing consultant? It helps if you have core expertise in one or more disciplines of digital marketing, advertising, sales, business management, and social media and the more disciplines, the better. You need a body of work that shows you’ve mastered the nuances of business, and can be trusted to make sound recommendations, manage a project and take it to completion.

Communication/Writing Skills – You will need to be able to communicate well on many levels. Keep in mind that you are selling to people, and are selling your client’s product or service. In order to sell a project and then manage it, you need communication skills to put your ideas in to words, and to actively listen to others. You also need to master the art of persuasion, and to pursue successfully you need to have gained a high level of trust with your clients.

Consultative Selling Skills – When you’re presenting your proposal to your client, you are not selling a product you are selling the ability to sell! This is an intangible skill and you need to keep several factors in mind, including the client’s goals, when selling your skills.

As discussed above, Strategic Marketing, Communication/Writing, and Consultative Selling are three core skills required to be a Marketing Consultant. Having these skills will help you successfully align a client’s budget with the achievement of their strategic objectives. This is built over years of experience and not something that you just learn from an extra class in college.

Marketing consultants need to stay on top of content creation, messaging, branding, budget, and industry trends. They need to focus on offering value to clients and building long-term relationships.

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