ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Be a Marketing Consultant

Updated on February 15, 2019
heidithorne profile image

Heidi Thorne is an author and business speaker with over 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, advertising, and public relations.


Got marketing experience? Ready to sell that experience on the open market? Great. But now the hard work begins. Read on to learn how to be a marketing consultant, whether for offline or online.

What is a Marketing Consultant?

Marketing is such an expansive term that can mean everything and nothing. So what does a marketing consultant actually do?

Depending on the specialty area being considered, a marketing consultant for hire could do any, many or all of the following:

  • Marketing strategy.
  • Marketing plans.
  • Market research (assessment of market potential, trends, etc.).
  • Marketing research (focus groups, surveys, data mining, etc.).
  • Social media strategy and implementation.
  • Online marketing consultant (websites).
  • Advertising campaigns (broadcast, billboards and outdoor, print and online) and media buying.
  • Public and media relations.
  • Event planning and promotion.
  • Direct mail or email marketing design and implementation.
  • Graphic design (Internet or print).
  • Copywriting for advertising, brochures, websites and more.
  • Blogging.
  • Email marketing.
  • Content creation (articles, videos, podcasts, books, eBooks for sale or custom created for clients).
  • Promotional products.
  • Customer service programs.
  • Loyalty and incentive programs.
  • Public speaking or teaching.
  • Mobile marketing.
  • Fundraising and sponsorship programs.
  • Branding and logo design.
  • Packaging design.
  • Mailing list sales or brokering.
  • Marketing services brokering (selling the services of marketing consultants).

Companies that handle all or most of the functions in the above list are usually large consulting firms that have specialists on staff for each area. But with this many specialty areas—which can be further segmented by industry, market or geography—there is ample opportunity for those with experience and expertise to establish themselves as an independent niche marketing consultant in just one or two of the functions.

How to Become a Marketing Consultant

Is an MBA or business college degree required to become a marketing consultant? No, although it can help establish credibility, especially for those who lack a sufficient level of work history in the field. Experience and expertise are usually more highly valued in the marketing consulting arena than academic education.

Ironically, many who start advising clients on marketing matters don't even establish a marketing plan or strategy for themselves! This is not unusual for many small business owners and entrepreneurs in general. As well, those who leave corporate America (whether by their own decision or their employers') and strike it out on their own may follow a similar marketing strategy to that of their former employer. This, too, can be a mistake simply because a strategy for a larger organization can often not be scaled down to the micro business level of an independent consultant.

So what would be an ideal path toward becoming a marketing consultant?

  1. Assess Skills. Most marketing professionals of all experience levels have strong skills in one or a couple functions from the list above. A good exercise would be to take the previous list and rank skill strength in each area, with one being the strongest and the largest number being the weakest or least liked. Be honest! Weaknesses and dislikes will be easily exposed when working with clients. For weak areas, consider partnering with other marketing professionals who are experts in those areas. Their services can be subcontracted or they can be referred directly to clients. Having a trusted network of fellow professionals that can be called upon when needed is actually a consulting function in itself that can be sold!
  2. Identify Specialty Niches. Once skill strengths are known, identify any market niches based on consumer or business demographic factors such as industry (e.g. automotive, retail, international trade), market (e.g. new moms, college students, small businesses) or geographical location (e.g. Canada, downtown). Multiple niches are good to identify, but identifying and pursuing too many can muddle focus, wasting effort and dollars. Stick with the top two or three at the beginning and add more as resources allow.
  3. Assess Potential Market Share and Sales Volume. One could be world's foremost authority on medieval welding techniques. But if the world isn't looking for medieval welders, the potential for enough sales is severely limited. Scour through target industry and association reports for sales volume, number of competitors and, if available, market share for each. Determine who (or what) may be a possible near peer for comparison.
  4. Set Pricing, Sales Goals, Budget and Forecast. If the market appears to offer sufficient opportunity, set a sales forecast for the first year, breaking it down month by month. Determining the number of jobs that it would take to meet that goal is critical since that will determine what prices will need to be charged. A sales forecast is a realistic expectation of what is achievable in sales and profit margins. Some businesses set sales goals even higher than forecast as motivation to achieve more. And don't forget to project overhead costs when preparing a forecast! Running a marketing consulting business is NOT free! There are office supplies, postage, Internet service, marketing costs, commercial and professional liability insurance and so much more.
  5. Set a Marketing Activity Calendar. Many business owners, even those in marketing, often hesitate to create a marketing plan when starting out. Instead, those for whom an official plan is an insurmountable task, it is recommended that they at least develop a marketing calendar, scheduling every activity to be take toward the sales goals, day by day, which helps reinforce consistent and persistent movement towards a goal. This does not have to be anything fancy. A paper calendar, spreadsheet, electronic calendar or "To Do" list are all possible choices. But choose just one! Typical activities would include write a blog post, develop an email newsletter, attend a local networking event, etc.
  6. Develop a Tracking System. Regardless of whether a simple spreadsheet or an accounting software package is used, tracking of sales and activity is absolutely necessary. Make sure it is easy to use.
  7. Monitor, Adjust, Repeat... Forever. Weekly and monthly monitoring of sales made is recommended, but a single monthly review may be sufficient for some very small businesses. Quarterly and annual reviews are also needed, regardless of monitoring frequency. Realize that when starting out it may take several months to see any significant results. So stick with the initial marketing activity calendar for at least six months to a year before making any major changes in response to results. This weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual review process will need to become a regular activity that will continue throughout the entire life of the business.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 Heidi Thorne


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)