The beginner’s blueprint for a thriving marketing consultancy business

As businesses seek better ways to navigate the competitive market, the demand for expert marketing consultancy services is on the rise. In fact, the net worth of the marketing consulting industry is expected to be $32 billion by 2031 (Business Research Insights). If you’re ready to get in on the action, welcome to the beginner’s guide to starting a marketing consultancy business.

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In this article, we’re going to explore what it takes to get into marketing consultancy, offering insights and guidance for those looking to venture into this field. Without further ado, let's dive into the essentials of starting (and thriving) your own marketing consultancy business.

What does a marketing consultant do?

A marketing consultant is a professional who provides expert advice and guidance to businesses on developing and implementing effective marketing strategies. They analyze market trends, identify target audiences, and create campaigns to promote products or services.

In a nutshell, marketing consultancy businesses play a role in helping businesses enhance their brand presence, attract customers, and achieve their marketing goals. Let’s take a look at a few key responsibilities you should consider brushing up on:

Primary responsibilities

Marketing consultants are tasked with developing tailored marketing strategies that align with the unique needs of a business. Do they want to grow their client base? Or perhaps they want to promote a new product or service? These are the kinds of things we are talking about.

Finding strategic insights

Through conducting extensive market research, marketing consultants identify target audiences, assess market trends, and uncover potential growth opportunities for their clients.

Campaign development

They play a key role in guiding businesses in the creation and implementation of impactful marketing campaigns.

Optimizing efforts

Sometimes, businesses can get lost in the weeds and need a helping hand to get back on the right path. Leveraging their expertise, marketing consultancy businesses provide this long-term push, helping to optimize promotional activities in a way that enhances brand visibility and drives audience engagement.

Achieving objectives

Marketing consultants are like a guiding light for businesses. They provide valuable insights and strategies that help companies stay ahead of the game and achieve their marketing goals. Without their expertise, businesses may struggle to keep up in today's competitive marketplace.

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Different kinds of marketing consulting

There is a diverse range of specializations that a marketing consultancy can focus on, ranging from digital marketing and brand management to market research and social media marketing. Let’s take a look at some different kinds of marketing consulting types so you can find the right one for you.

Digital marketing

A successful digital marketing consultancy business focuses on leveraging online channels to promote products or services and boost revenue. This includes strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising. They analyze digital trends, optimize online presence, and develop campaigns to reach target audiences more effectively.

  • Focus: Leverage online channels for promotion.
  • Strategies: SEO, content marketing, email campaigns, paid advertising.
  • Role: Analyze digital trends, optimize online presence, and develop effective campaigns.

Brand management

These types of digital agencies work to build and maintain a positive brand image. They develop strategies to enhance brand visibility, create compelling brand narratives, and ensure consistent communication across all touchpoints.

Brand management consultants play a crucial role in establishing a brand's identity and fostering customer loyalty.

  • Focus: Build and maintain a positive brand image.
  • Strategies: Enhance brand visibility, create compelling narratives, and ensure consistent communication.
  • Role: Establish a brand's identity and foster customer loyalty.

Market research

Specializing in data gathering and analysis, these consultants offer valuable insights into market trends, consumer behavior, and competitive landscapes. Through surveys, industry reports, and diverse research methodologies, they empower businesses to make informed decisions, identify opportunities, and manage risks effectively.

  • Focus: Gather and analyze data for valuable insights.
  • Methods: Surveys, industry reports, research methodologies.
  • Role: Help businesses make informed decisions, identify opportunities, and mitigate risks.

Social media marketing

With over 4.95 billion people using social media every day, it is no surprise that businesses want to tap into this potential source of leads and revenue (Statista).

A social media marketing consultancy business understands audience behaviors on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn and focuses on creating strategies to harness the power of these social platforms. Consultants develop engaging content, manage social media campaigns, and utilize analytics to measure the impact of social media efforts on brand awareness and engagement.

  • Focus: Utilize social platforms for effective outreach.
  • Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn, TikTok and more.
  • Role: Develop engaging content, manage campaigns, and measure impact on brand awareness.

Benefits of specialization

When marketing consultancy businesses specialize in one particular area, they can become experts in that field and give better solutions to businesses. They can also focus on niches that don't have many options available yet, allowing you to take advantage of a market that is not oversaturated with competition.

Enhancing expertise

Think about it, your clients want a seasoned expert in a particular industry, not a jack of all trades but a master of none. By honing in on specific niches, a marketing consultancy business can stay abreast of hyper-specific industry trends, emerging technologies, and best practices, ultimately enhancing its overall expertise in this area.

In-demand specializations

Industries such as technology, healthcare, and e-commerce are witnessing a surge in demand for specialized marketing consultants, creating lucrative opportunities for professionals in these niches.

Here’s why they need you:

  • Technology: Specialized marketing consultants are essential to navigate complex digital marketing strategies, establish a strong brand presence, and effectively target tech-savvy audiences.
  • Healthcare: With stringent regulations and a diverse target audience, the healthcare industry relies on marketing consultants to craft effective communication strategies that also maintain compliance.
  • E-commerce: Competition is fierce online, and e-commerce businesses seek marketing consultants to enhance user experiences and implement targeted campaigns to capture the attention of discerning online shoppers.

Skills you need as a marketing consultant

If you are a digital agency startup, to be a great marketing consultant, you need more than just marketing prowess. Let's break down the key skills you should focus on:

Communication and people skills

Why it's important: Good communication helps you explain ideas clearly, build relationships with clients, and work well with different teams. Being able to express marketing strategies in a way others understand is the secret to happy clients.

Thinking and problem-solving

Why it's important: Consulting is all about identifying and solving problems. Strong problem-solving skills help you understand the market, figure out what customers want, and create smart solutions to your clients' biggest blockers.

Creativity

Why it's important: In marketing, being creative is a must. It's not about making things look good—if anything, it's about finding new ways to grab people's attention. Being creative helps your clients stand out and be different from their competition.

Keeping up with trends

Why it's important: Let’s be real here—marketing is always changing. To be good at your job, you need to stay updated on what's new in the industry. This way, you can suggest strategies that fit with the latest trends and give your clients a well-needed edge.

Adaptability

Why it's important: It’s very likely things are going to change, and when they do, you better be ready. Being adaptable means you can change your strategies quickly. This is super critical when things don't go as planned or when your client needs something different—and ASAP.

Performing well under pressure

Why it's important: As a marketing consultant, you might work on many projects at once, each with its own challenges and deadlines. Handling this pressure means you can meet these deadlines and make sure your work is top-notch, even when things get busy.

Steps to becoming a marketing consultant

Just like any venture, starting a marketing consulting firm is no cakewalk. It requires tact, research, and a lot of networking. If you're ready to dive in, let's break down what you need to do:

Step 1: Educational background and qualifications

Consultants are regarded as seasoned experts in their field, so a solid educational foundation in marketing or a related field is key here. Generally, a bachelor's degree is often the main requirement. Courses in marketing, business, or communications will also supplement the knowledge base you'll need to build your career in consulting.

Step 2: Gain practical experience

Theory is important, but hands-on experience is even more valuable. Starting off in internships or entry-level marketing positions gives you a real-world understanding of how marketing works. This experience is where you'll apply what you've learned in the classroom.

Step 3: Networking and building relationships

Now is the time to connect with professionals in the industry. Attend industry events, join online forums, and engage with marketing communities to learn valuable insights and build relationships with like-minded experts. Networking helps you stay updated on industry trends, opens doors for collaboration, and can even lead to potential clients.

Step 4: Develop a strong portfolio

Have any work you’re proud of? It’s time to flaunt it. Build a portfolio that highlights your best projects and achievements over the years. You can also include case studies to demonstrate your problem-solving skills. All in all, a strong portfolio provides a tangible way for potential clients to know that you’re the best.

Step 5: Continuous learning and professional development

Marketing is dynamic, with trends and technologies evolving every day. In order to succeed in this field, you need to commit to continuous learning. Attend workshops, take online courses, and stay updated on the latest tools. This not only enhances your skills but also keeps you competitive.

If your team is dealing with a knowledge gap that will take some time to fill, opt to partner with a while-label digital marketing agency to scale your consulting firm with fewer hiccups.

Step 6: Personal branding

Ask yourself, “What are my unique strengths and what sets me apart from others?” It’s time to put pen to paper and write down the characteristics of your personal brand. Once ironed out, share this information through a professional website, active social media presence, and thought leadership in your chosen niche.

About the Author

Mary-Margaret Bennett is a Social Media Content Specialist at Vendasta, with a versatile background spanning business development, IT project management, and work as a writer and graphic designer across various industries. Outside of her professional endeavors, she enjoys birdwatching and crafting work for local art exhibitions.

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