Businesses cannot thrive without marketing. Small and medium-sized businesses often lack the funds to deploy a full-fledged marketing team. Consequently, they find it challenging to find new customers, increasing brand awareness, choosing the right social media platforms, keeping up with trends, and producing quality content. Thus, hiring a marketing consultant serves as a viable solution for these companies. The trend of marketing consultant in Mumbai or marketing consultant in Pune or any other metro city has witnessed a surge in recent years.
“Our jobs as marketers are to understand how the customer wants to buy and help them to do so.”- Bryan Eisenberg
Who is a marketing consultant?
Marketing consultant is an external advisor with vast expertise in marketing who provides a wide range of services like defining marketing strategies, conducting market research and analysis, identifying brand messaging and the channels to reach the target audience.
Skills required for a marketing consultant.
If you want to become a marketing consultant, you must take certain steps to be successful. To help you progress in the right direction, below are a few pointers to begin with –
- First things first, corroborate your skills with due academic qualifications. A degree in marketing, business, or communications (or an MBA with specialization in marketing) gives you the required validation.
- Prepare a professional portfolio that features your history of marketing activities and success stories.
- Demonstrate wherever necessary, your years of experience as a full-time marketer.
- Distinguish yourself by achieving expertise in a specific niche or experience working in a wide range of industries.
- Develop a flair for writing along with corporate etiquettes.
- Sharpening your communication skills is vital for any marketing consultant.
- Learn and master digital marketing techniques and strategies (social media, content, SEO, lead generation, PPC, etc.).
- Always be confident about your skills and ready to defend your work.
- You should be able to differentiate between strategy & tactics (a strategy is a plan of action with a specific goal, while a tactic is a specific action that is part of implementing the strategy).
- Leadership skills are important as you will be frequently required to motivate your clients into taking necessary actions.
- On a personal level, a marketing consultant should have the ability to listen and empathize.
Build Your Reputation.
Your reputation stems directly from the trust you can build with your clients. Without trust, you will have a hard time finding clients. A good start for this will be to have a professional LinkedIn profile featuring recommendations from your clients or a website including client testimonials. These channels should also project 3 key attributes about you – assurance that you will bring value to the table and be committed with turnaround times for any assistance required.
A fair understanding of Marketing Vs Branding.
Building a lasting brand trusted by customers is the goal of every marketeer. In the long run, it helps to build a customer base which eventually maximizes profits. Many a times, marketing consultants mainly focus on maximizing profits which may harm brand perception. For instance, a discount offer may boost seasonal sales, but if it was carried out for a luxury brand, then it may deplete the brand value for the brand. For example, a brand like “Louis Vuitton”, very rarely offer discounts on their products globally.
Finding work when you are starting new can be a challenge in every profession. As a marketing consultant, you have to spend a substantial amount of time marketing your personal brand. If you persevere enough, it shall earn you referrals and in turn repeat clients. Learn everything you can about your clients in terms of their product, industry and values. The more you become expert in it, the more you fortify your chances of being irreplaceable. Audit your skill sets, strengths, and interests to identify the sectors best suited for your knowledge. You will land clients with whom you will enjoy collaborating.
Never stop learning.
Never stop learning once you start earning. Your qualifications and efforts may establish you as a marketing consultant. But the best marketing consultants always hone their skills to update their clients with the best practices and developments in their respective domains. Marketing is always evolving which makes it mandatory for you to be on your toes to generate a sustainable existence.
Research your client.
When you are working with a client or prospecting for new leads, make sure you have done due diligence starting from the below-suggested steps:
- Set up Google Alerts for your client and its competitors to see all the latest news related to specified keywords.
- Study the basic financial data for your client in terms of the overall revenue, gross profit, market cap, etc.
- Acquaint yourself with the CEO and members of the senior management team. Visit their LinkedIn profiles and memorize as many names and titles as you can.
- Research the client’s top 5-10 competitors, their relative sizes, key products and services, and their strengths and weaknesses. Review this information periodically to make sure it’s up to date.
Never hesitate to ask questions.
Asking the right questions helps you understand the client’s needs, products, services, and brand approach. It gives you a clear picture of your responsibilities. You can now draft a workable strategy for the client rather than cooking half-baked plans for them.
Set up online promotional channels.
While you are busy marketing your clients, it is important to spare time to promote your own services. To promote it online, you can implement these suggestions: –
- Begin with setting up your social media properties and a trendy informative website.
- Choose the platforms that best showcase your business. LinkedIn is a must. Instagram can be used for your visual work while twitter can be an excellent platform to promote your expertise.
- Start blogging to share your ideas or become a guest blogger on a reputed business site.
- Conferences/Seminars are also great for networking. You can use audio/video clips from these sessions as your social media feed to reach more people.
- Keep a tab on the latest trends in your domain and best online marketing practices.
If you equip yourself with the above skill sets (or plan to cultivate them), you’re well on your way to becoming a successful marketing consultant.