Marketing consultants are the lifeblood of growth for many companies. They bring experience, skills, and a track record that some businesses just aren’t able to get with internal teams. If you are applying for a marketing consultant position, you’ll need to know the key responsibilities of the role, the critical skills, and the different tools that can help you knock 'em dead.
Being a marketing consultant is not a simple job, but it’s a role that pays well and provides a lot of job satisfaction. If this is the path for you, you’re going to find this article eye-opening and immensely useful.
Let us kick things off by reviewing the top five skills that a marketing consultant needs:
5 Skills Every Marketing Consultant Needs:
Here are some of the major skills that are a must for a marketing consultant.
#1 - Goal Oriented
Being a marketing consultant is not easy. You have a lot of responsibilities and goals. The pressure to deliver is going to be high. So a marketing consultant must be goal-oriented. That means you need to set personal and client goals and develop an execution plan that gets you to the finish line. Hold yourself and your team accountable for what you said you would accomplish.
As with most things, it’s better to underpromise and overdeliver. And don’t wait to get everyone on the same page. Start early with goal setting and deliver progress reports to keep clients updated frequently. This will create a level of trust with the clients you work with, which is an essential aspect of being successful when you aren’t a full-time employee.
#2 - Strategy vs. Tactics
Another important skill that a marketer should have is that they should be able to understand the difference between a strategic plan and tactics. Many people confuse strategies and tactics. A tactic is a specific action used to implement a strategic step, whereas a strategy is a complete plan with a set goal.
A marketing consultant should always make sure that they focus on creating a strategy rather than relying solely on executing tactics. Remember, you are a consultant. That means you’re likely to have an internal staff that is going to be taking cues from your plan. Get the strategy right and help the team with tactics and execution.
#3 - Communication and Listening
It’s probably obvious that you need to communicate clearly as a marketing consultant. But this is only half of the job. Listening intently and translating what you hear into thoughtful action plans is equally important. Many consultants are weak in this area.
A good marketing consultant must have poise and patience rather than running in guns blazing. Listen and communicate with your team in an empathetic way. Take what you hear and turn that into scalable marketing strategies is what you’re being paid for. As a marketing consultant, it’s your job to respond to the team's queries in a very professional and to keep the rest of the team on task and on time.
#4 - Prioritization
As a professional marketer, you must be incredibly careful in dealing with and managing your ideas and strategies. A marketing consultant should always know their priorities and not compromise them for short-term wins. You are here to create repeatable and scalable systems that drive growth over the long haul.
Shortcuts almost always lead to breakdown and certainly technical debt for the company. Spend the time to prioritize plans such that your team can efficiently execute long after you’ve moved on to the next client.
#5 - Leadership Skills
While marketing consultants are not employees of the company, they are still responsible for acting like leaders in the organization. This is one of the reasons people hire marketing consultants in the first place. You bring talent and executive thinking that the company might not have otherwise. So you’ll need to demonstrate leadership skills from day one.
A proven track record, industry credibility, and deep experience leading teams are what make a marketing consultant an attractive hire for businesses. So leverage those skills and take a leadership role by inspiring and motivating the internal team. This will serve the company better and give you an excellent recommendation for your next gig.
Marketing Consultant Responsibilities
Now that you know the five basic skills a marketing consultant should have, let’s now discuss the core responsibilities of the role.
- Identifying and Crafting the Company’s Market Position - The first job you’re likely to do as a marketing consultant is helping the company craft a positioning statement. This will act as a baseline for all the marketing initiatives going forward. Spend time listening to the team and help them develop this mission before you start proposing strategies.
- Developing Fresh Ideas and Strategies - Once you’ve got the market positioning down, it’s time to come up with some plans to drive growth for the organization. A marketing consultant has the benefit of drawing on experience to propose new ideas that the company may not have thought of. Start with a big list of potential paths, then work with the team to develop a strategy they can confidently implement.
- Create an Execution Plan - As we said before, it’s not your job to execute all the tactics of your proposed strategy. Instead, help them fish by developing a plan of attack where everyone in the organization knows their objectives. This will not only improve the success rate of your marketing efforts but also create trust and inspire the team.
- Create a Tracking and Reporting Structure - Remember, as a marketing consultant you’re not going to be there forever. Your job is to set the stage and get things rolling. After that, the internal team takes over. So a marketing consultant needs to develop a tracking and reporting process that creates accountability even after you’ve moved on. Build out reports and processes to help the team stay on track and deliver results even when you’re not there.
- Build Marketing Materials and Assets - Although you might not be a designer, you’re going to need marketing collateral and graphic design work to put your marketing strategies into action. As a marketing consultant, you are responsible for defining the vision here. Either work with an internal design resource or bring in a freelancer. And it will help the company if you can create a template structure they can build on after you’ve gone to your next project.
- Develop a Repeatable Execution Strategy - You may only be at the company for a few execution cycles. That means you won’t be able to oversee every marketing initiative the company creates. But that does mean you need to develop a strategy that the team can follow repeatedly. As a marketing consultant, you must lead the team through several marketing campaigns from start to finish so they can learn to repeat the process.
Different Tools for Marketing Consultants:
Now that you know about the basic skills and the responsibilities on the shoulder of a marketing consultant, let’s look at the tools that can help you do your job even better.
#1 - Lumen5: Create Marketing Videos in Minutes
Lumen5 is used by nearly a million companies and is one of the best tools for creating video content for your marketing campaigns. Customers are more motivated to take action when they see videos and images than text content. But creating video content for your marketing programs can be time-consuming and expensive.
Lumen5 solves that problem by making it fast and easy (and affordable) to impactful, engaging videos from your existing content. You can create a video from a blog post or a web article in less than minutes. It is one of the easiest and most valuable digital marketing resources you can have in your toolbox.
#2 - Proposify: Effortlessly Create Proposals
As a marketing consultant, you will be creating a lot of proposals. Proposify is the go-to tool for creating, sending, and tracking your marketing proposal process. Proposify gives you templates, permission control, communication workflows, and design tools to make the proposal process fast and efficient. You can create a good-looking proposal in less than a few seconds by just clicking a few buttons with this online tool.
#3 - Calendly: Online Appointment Scheduling
Scheduling appointments with clients can be a bear for a marketing consultant. You’ve got to work around You’ve almost certainly seen Calendly for appointment management. As a marketing consultant, you will be setting tons of meetings with clients and prospects every day.
You’re likely to find scheduling to be a real pain given all the different people working on different schedules. This tool makes managing your calendar and coordinating meetings with clients a breeze. Calendly will alert you well in time so you can come prepared and wow your clients at every meeting.
#4 - PlagiarismChecker.Co: Check Content for Plagiarism
Here’s a great little tool you might not know about just yet. PlagiarismChecker is a great resource for any marketing consultant because the last thing you want to do is give your clients someone else's work. Any good marketing campaign is likely to require a lot of content creation. And you probably already know that you must ensure your freelance writers are creating original content.
To do this, you’re going to need a tool to check content for plagiarism. These days too many writers are duplicating content created by other people. This is not only bad for SEO, but it’s straight-up illegal. As a marketing consultant your integrity is your currency, so don’t risk spoiling your name with unchecked content. You can easily use this online plagiarism checker to screen duplication and quality issues. Following are the features of this free plagiarism checker tool:
- It can be used for free but with some limitations
- The paid plans, however, are very affordable
- You can check grammatical mistakes for free
- You can utilize this plagiarism checker on any of your devices for free
- This plagiarism checker can accept multiple file formats and multiple languages
- The results produced by it are comprehensive
#5 - Trello: Supreme Project Management
Trello is one of the most used applications across the globe. Trello is a powerful and simple to use tool to help you manage your projects and efficiently and communicate with your teams. Trello works on any device and can be learned by just about anyone in minutes.
The tool is incredibly flexible and customizable so you can make it work for all of your clients in one centralized interface. And Trello gives you so much for free, you likely won’t have to get the paid version until you’ve got dozens of clients working on hundreds of projects. It’s the go-to planning and organizing tool for any marketing consultant.
Bonus Tool: Markup Hero for Fast Screenshots and File Annotation
Marketing consultants spend a lot of time communicating with clients. You’ll be sending emails, working in Slack, texting, writing documents, creating blog posts, and a million other things daily. That means you’ll want a fast and easy way to get your creative ideas shared and understood.
One of the best ways to capture ideas and communicate clearly is through screenshots and file annotations. Like the old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words”. That’s true. And writing a thousand words would also take a long time.
Markup Hero is a fast and free tool for snapping screenshots, uploading images and PDF’s and adding annotations like arrows, text, boxes, images in seconds. Take a look at this example.
How would you even explain all that in text? You can’t. Markup Hero is a tool that thousands of marketing consultants use every day; every hour for some of them. Once you try it, you won’t be able to imagine life without it.
Bringing it All Together
Being a marketing consultant is rewarding and challenging at the same time. It’s a great career if you want to work on a lot of different projects with a bunch of different people. To do it well, you’ll need certain skills and a toolbox of great resources at your disposal.
Over time you’re likely to develop your own best practices as a marketing professional. But if you're just getting started, this list of skills, tips, and tools will help you hit the ground running. Now go out there and market your heart out.