Updated: Feb 7
If you love helping people, and helping businesses succeed, if you have a great imagination and love to be both creative and analytical and you have good technical marketing skills, then becoming a marketing consultant can be a very natural decision.
Often, marketing consultants come to the decision to start in business for themselves as a result of wanting to experience greater levels of control in the work they do and their preferred working patterns, which cannot always be accommodated in an employed role.
Marketing consultants also strive towards variety and not just wanting to tie themselves to a single client, or working across a relatively narrow range of brands.
Being well organised and methodical in your work can be a real advantage for a marketing consultant, as you will be balancing the needs of a number of clients all of whom have very different backgrounds and individual aspirations that the marketing consultant needs to accommodate.
Successful marketing consultants will usually have a good idea of the niche in which they are most successful in gaining high value and long term contracts.
This means looking at the work that you want to do, rather than taking on all-comers. The great thing about being a marketing consultant is that you are fully in control of the work you want to do, and the clients you want to work with.
Most marketing consultants, as has been stated above, like to have a little variety in their client base, as it helps them to offer fresh approaches that come from solving marketing problems across different sectors, sizes and geographic locations of their clients.
Of course, some marketing consultants prefer to be more in the planning and strategic side of services, which is just fine.
Others are more technical and digital in focus and would be classed as digital marketing consultants providing lots of hands on services across multiple digital and social channels.
Becoming a marketing consultant therefore offers the scope to really design a business around the kind of lifestyle that you want, working flexible hours in flexible locations.
These days, a marketing consultant can work from virtually anywhere, so it’s a great career choice for those who want to combine travel with flexible work patterns, as the only real equipment is a good laptop and a good internet connection.
Do I need a marketing qualification to become a marketing consultant?
It definitely helps to have a qualification if you want to seriously pursue a career as a marketing consultant, however it is not always the case that every marketing consultant has a qualification.
Examples of this are in the following circumstances.
Firstly, there are entrepreneurs who have been very successful in their business ventures who wish to now offer their vast experiences to other businesses or startups, calling on their wide range of experiences to bring value to their clients.
Because of this relevant experience, they do not need formal qualifications as they are guiding their clients along the pathway of success they have already walked along - which is many more times valuable that can be derived from a marketing text book.
Another example is a person who has built up a lot of hands-on experience in a given marketing discipline, such as lead generation, or social media influencing, or creative branding..
This practical and highly focused experience is often lacking in client businesses who simply don’t have this expertise in house, and it’s very common for the marketing consultant offering these services not to have that formal academic marketing training.
There are many millionaire marketers who do not possess or need marketing qualifications, they have acted on their instincts and solved client problems and found a way to package their services that has successfully attracted the high value clients they have built their business around.
So in fact, there are many routes to becoming a successful marketing consultant, not all requiring a formal education.
Do businesses still need marketing consultants?
Often, in thinking about becoming a marketing consultant, you will ask yourself if there is still a need for marketing consultants in light of readily available marketing technology, AI and staff availability.
The fact is that businesses today are needing just the creativity and imagination that marketing consultants provide.
Although the plethora of marketing channels and services may have increased exponentially, the quality in many cases has not, and business owners are very often perplexed at how they are spending more than ever on marketing and seeing a much lower return on investment.
As a marketing consultant, you can guide businesses towards focusing their efforts in ways that communicate their true value, you can cut through the noise and help bring clarity and purpose where is has been previously lacking.
You also act as a motivator of in-house teams as they feel guided and reassured by having a safe pair of hands at the helm and bringing them fresh approaches to try without the fear of failure or feeling ‘singled out’ if something doesn’t work.
How much can I earn as a marketing consultant?
This is a really hard one to answer, as marketing consultants are all unique and it’s a fact that it’s not all about the money for many marketing consultants who often give greater value to the freedom and flexibility this career can bring.
It’s true to say that there are most marketing consultants earning in the region of £50K - £100K per year, and this would cover the vast majority.
But that said, there are many marketing consultants who earn more than £250K per year and those who earn into seven figures.
The levels of earnings depend on many factors, such as the specific sector they work in.
Marketing consultants who work in sectors such as banking and finance, or for large international technology groups will attract very large fees in some cases; whereas a regional marketing consultant, specialising in helping SMEs and startups is likely to earn significantly less - yet be equally happy as this is their lifestyle choice.
How do I get clients as a marketing consultant?
Although getting those first few clients can be a challenge, in actual fact, it is not difficult to get clients on board as a marketing consultant once you begin to get traction with your own marketing activities and simplify what’s working so you have a steady and reliable pipeline of prospects.
Obviously a good website helps, with great SEO that positions you at the top of Google, like this website you are on ranks on first page in Google UK for the search term ‘marketing consultants’ or ‘marketing consultants UK’ and many others - which means that clients easily find the service when searching.
Regular social updates, outbound telephone marketing, email marketing, personal networking face-to-face, getting referrals, scanning job sites like Indeed for interim marketing roles (these have seen a considerable increase and are usually remote) all bring in clients.
It can in fact often be the case, that marketing consultants can have too many enquiries and need to turn off pipelines temporarily, which can be a nice problem to have!
I hope this article has given you a small taste of why you should become a marketing consultant if this is a career path that is if interest to you.