[The Guardian] Behind the job title: What it takes to be a marketing consultant


There are many types of marketing consultants – strategic thinkers, day-to-day project managers, general doers, or specialists. Each has a different price tag. There are some blurred lines between these types, but it’s unusual to find someone who is genuinely brilliant at all four. I’m a strategic thinker.

And, I love it. It takes a lot of listening, to really understand a company and what they’re trying to achieve. My particular skill is to bring together the experience I have, and the knowledge I’ve accrued, to work out what the company needs to do to develop a watertight marketing operation that delivers sustainable profits. This ranges from working out how to present their products, to getting the right marketing tools in place, to configuring a set of marketing activities to get their name out there.

The real difference between being an employed marketer, and a consultant is the variety. As a consultant, I work on a wide range of companies – from premium jewellery to complex software. You can also get this variety from working in an agency. But, I’ve found that working directly with the company is more rewarding because I get a more complete picture of the business. Agencies are often single discipline, like websites or advertising. As a consultant working with a management team, I see where this fits in the bigger picture. I absolutely love seeing the light-bulb moments when a MD really understands where marketing fits in their business.

Walking away from a corporate salary, car allowance and so on was a tough decision. I have to work hard to get clients, income is not assured, and there are fewer people and resources available. It takes a certain type of person to thrive in this context. I find it exhilarating. I’m proud that the clients I have, and the results they achieve, are as a direct result of my hard work. I’m thoroughly enjoying consolidating my experience and knowledge into my own style and approach. But, I’ve also met people who’ve been made redundant from marketing roles and set-up on their own, only to find solitude unbearable, selling their services a slog, and the financial uncertainty something they simply can’t stomach. I actively chose to walk away from my cushy corporate number to be a consultant, and I’ve never looked back. If you have the skill and the stamina – it could be the right move for you too.


Accessed from https://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/marketing-consultant on April/13/2017

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