Essential Marketing Consultant Insights

Who is a strategic marketing consultant

A strategic marketing consultant advises on strategic marketing matters such as the 8Ps and can implement solutions related to setting goals as well as optimizing strategy, capabilities, processes, and resources needed to realize an objective.

He or she focuses on strategic and permanent matters instead of fixating on promotions, advertising, and short-term tactics.

Marketing is about understanding people and impacting purchasing behaviors. And influencing buyers’ attitudes is the key to success of a strategic marketing consultant.

What does a marketing strategist do?

The contribution of a marketing strategist is divided into 3 groups: the marketing mix, the system, and the marketing environment.

Key success factors

The marketing mix The system The environment
Product Data In-house integration
Price Insights -
Packaging Processes -
Place - -
Promotion - -
Buyers - -
People - -

Role and responsibilities

1. Define the brand

  • Vision statement
  • Value proposition
  • Positioning statement

2. Product or service nature

  • Understand the product or service on offer

3. Understand the market

  • Market trends
  • Current suppliers
  • Industry nature
  • Demand planning
  • Demand drivers
  • Sales concentration
  • Risk concentration
  • Pricing analysis

4. Identify the customers

  • Top 3 reasons to buy
  • Target customers
  • Customer needs
  • Customer goals
  • Customer beliefs
  • Customer habits
  • Market segmentation
  • Demographic analysis
  • Customers’ profiles
  • Purchase behaviour

5. Sales forecasts

  • Future market share
  • Future market size
  • Future trends

6. Understand the competition

  • Who are the top 3 competitors
  • SWOT analysis
  • Porter’s 5 Forces

7. Analyse the business

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

8. Define the company’s difference

  • Unique selling proposal
  • What is the elevator pitch

9. Map the customer’s journey

  • Brand identity
  • Brand experience
  • Key message and supporting values
  • Brand promise
  • Brand environment
  • Company personality

11. Create an action plan

  • What is the marketing budget
  • Who is on the marketing team
  • Who is responsible for what
  • What is the pricing strategy
  • How will the company distribute its goods
  • How will the consultant create or update a client’s website
  • What is the company’s media strategy
  • What is the email strategy
  • Which advertising agency to work with
  • What is the company’s public relations strategy
  • What is the company’s after-sale strategy

12. Success criteria

  • What are the key performance indicators
  • What are the operational considerations

13. Monitor, measure, and improve

  • How will the effectiveness of marketing be measured
  • How will improvements be identified and adjusted

14. Formats of deliverables

  • Mock-ups
  • Charts and visuals
  • Illustrations
  • Dummies
  • Animation
  • Other

15. Suppliers and vendors

  • Organization structure
  • Hierarchy
  • Number of staffs needed
  • Standard operating procedures

17. Operating procedures

  • Policies and procedures
  • Selling policies: customer service, delivery, opening hours, shifts, timing, and nature of sales promotions etc.

18. Creative briefs

  • Guidelines to design all communication materials (i.e. company profile, website, catalogue, and pre-qualification..)

19. B2B operating procedures

  • Policies and procedures
  • B2B selling policies: create database to qualify prospective companies, and how to approach and negotiate deals

20. Media planning

  • Recommend the most effective Above and Below-The-Line channels of communication
  • Minimize advertising costs
  • Maximize return on investment

21. Location analysis

  • Recommend new store location
  • Analyze new location based on data and geo- spatial analyses

22. Pre-opening preparations

  • Creative brief for store design
  • Organization and number of staffs
  • Uniform design
  • Opening hours and shifts
  • Event management on opening day

Advantages and disadvantages

In choosing marketing strategy as a career, one must possess a high degree of passion and competitiveness. Making predictions and hitting targets as close as possible to reality is akin to a racing driver who intimately understands the behavior of their car; how it shifts weight in each corner before accelerating ahead of the competition. Just as a racing car behaves differently in the same corner under the same conditions, so too does life and business.

A well-rounded marketing strategy consultant must possess keen observational skills, highly developed judgment, a people-oriented approach, and persuasive abilities.

Achievements should drive the choice of a marketing strategist, propelling that individual from one summit to another, from one intriguing project to the next, and from one psychographic to another.

Consulting is akin to an adrenaline shot – the thrill one experiences when helping oneself or others reach a destination through meticulous planning and implementation, having the courage to act on knowledge, take responsibility, and own it.

Envisioning the future and providing integrated solutions, along with on-site execution skills, are the hallmarks of a successful career path as a marketing strategy consultant.

An effective marketing strategist must not merely be a technocrat, providing ‘paper solutions,’ nor should they be satisfied with building solely on the successes of their predecessors. They should lead from the front with vision, grit, and courage.

1. Flexibility As a consultant, he or she has the flexibility to choose its own clients, projects, and working hours. This flexibility allows the consultant to maintain a good work-life balance and pursue projects that align with their interests and expertise
2. Variety A consultant is exposed to a wide range of industries, businesses, and marketing challenges. One can work on some of the most interesting projects and people
3. Independence A consultant has more autonomy and independence compared to an employee
4. High income An experienced consultant often commands high hourly rates or project fees, especially if they have specialized expertise or a strong reputation in the industry
5. Networking opportunities Consulting provides ample opportunities to network with clients, industry professionals, and other consultants. Building a strong professional network can lead to new business opportunities and collaborations

1. Inconsistent income Consulting income can be unpredictable with gaps between projects. A consultant may face periods of financial instability until they’ve established a steady stream of clients and projects
2. Uncertain workload The demand for consulting services can fluctuate, leading to periods of heavy workload followed by downtime. Managing workload fluctuations requires careful planning and resource management
3. Client management Dealing with clients can be challenging, especially if they have unrealistic expectations, communication issues, or conflicting priorities. Consultants must excel in client management to build and maintain successful client relationships
4. Constant marketing A consultant is responsible for marketing their own services and attracting clients. This requires ongoing effort and investment in networking, branding, and marketing strategies to stay competitive in the market

Skills Needed

  • Marketing Expertise

    A deep understanding of marketing principles, strategies, and tactics is essential. This includes knowledge of market research, consumer behavior, branding, advertising, digital marketing,

  • Analytical Skills

    The ability to analyze data and draw meaningful insights is crucial for developing effective marketing strategies. Consultants should be proficient in data analysis tools and techniques to assess market trends, competitor activities, and campaign performance content marketing, and more

  • Strategic Thinking

    Strategic marketing consultants must be able to think critically and develop long-term plans to achieve clients' business objectives. This involves assessing market opportunities, identifying target audiences, and positioning products or services effectively

  • Communication Skills

    Strong verbal and written communication skills are necessary for conveying complex marketing concepts, presenting proposals, and collaborating with clients and team members. Consultants should be able to tailor their communication style to different audiences and interlocutors

  • Client Management

    Building and maintaining strong client relationships is essential for success as a consultant. This requires excellent interpersonal skills, the ability to listen to clients' needs, manage expectations, and provide exceptional customer service

  • Project Management

    Strategic marketing consultants often juggle multiple projects simultaneously. Proficiency in project management methodologies, organization, and time management is critical for delivering projects on time and within budget

  • Industry Knowledge

    Depending on the specialization, consultants may need industry-specific knowledge or expertise. Staying informed about industry trends, regulations, and best practices is essential for providing relevant and effective marketing advice

  • Creativity

    The ability to think creatively and develop innovative marketing strategies sets top consultants apart. Creativity helps consultants devise unique solutions to marketing challenges and capture consumers' attention in a crowded marketplace

  • Education

    A bachelor degree as a minimum in marketing, business administration, communications or a related field. An advanced degree can boost credibility
  • Relevant Experience

    Practical experience in marketing, preferably in a strategic or managerial role, is highly valuable
  • Certifications

    Certifications such as CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) or from the American Marketing Association (AMA) or any other reputed institution
  • Portfolio

    Building a strong portfolio of successful marketing projects and case studies is essential for showcasing expertise and attracting clients

Reasons to hire a consultant

1. Temporary and specialized skills

A consultant has the right expertise and may be hired to identify problems. Sometimes employees are too close to a problem inside an organization to identify it. Companies hire consultants to gain access to a specialized skill set that might not exist in house. By engaging a consulting firm, a client gets access to a group of professionals that has skills ranging from process improvement, to cost- reduction programs to organization structures.

Thanks to consultants, companies can bring in that skill set on demand when they need it.

2. Alternative to recruitment

A consultant can supplement the staff. Sometimes a business discovers it can save hundreds of thousands of dirhams a year by hiring consultants when they are needed rather than hiring full-time employees. They also can save additional money because they don’t have to pay benefits to the consultants they hire. Sometimes the problems companies need solving are really important, but they don’t necessarily have the manpower to focus on them. Companies still have to focus on their day-to-day operations, after all, and new projects typically require reprioritizing employees’ core job responsibilities. But hiring new employees to fill these gaps doesn’t always make sense either, seeing as many of these projects are one-offs.

3. Initiate change

A consultant can act as a catalyst for change. Because consultants often work with many different companies and may have worked through this problem in the past with someone else, they can really provide a perspective based on what they’ve seen work (or not) before. And given this experience, they can often bring new and innovative ideas or possible challenges to the table that clients probably wouldn’t have been able to see on their own. A benefit to the company is that the consultant can overcome resistance to change in a smooth way and overcome other issues that may be getting in the way when an organization is trying to institute change. A consultant can bring new life to an organization. Often, when businesses are stuck in any given situation and can’t find a way out of it on their own, a qualified advisors can come up with new ideas that work and to get things rolling again.

4. An objective eye

A consultant provides much-needed objectivity. Who else is more qualified to identify a problem than a consultant? A good advisor provides an objective and fresh viewpoint without taking sides and makes it easy to build consensus, resolve conflictive points of views and muster commitment to a specific course of action and to take corrective actions. A good advisor makes it possible to realize latent opportunities.

5. A safe pair of hands

Sometimes, when companies are working on a challenging problem or a controversial project, it can be hard for them to make decisions or take the necessary actions without getting wrapped up in emotions or politics. So, they bring in consultants to provide an unbiased eye. A qualified advisor can provide the back-up and confirmation for a client that is attempting to run with a new idea that might not be well-received within an organization, without any risk to our day jobs or career. Crisis prevention and management

A consultant has the expertise, insights, and foresight to assess a company’s position using data-driven metrics and then to intuitively help it calculate its next move and the most beneficial path forward. Senior-level advisors serve as confidantes and trusted counsellors to leaders and influencers in government, corporate, entertainment and society. They must be known for honesty, integrity and discretion, quality work product and success rate.

A top consultant deploys his or her extensive experience in risk-avoidance and risk-assessment to help clients prevent and enhance their readiness and resilience for possible commercial crisis situations. An advisor leverages a wide scope of resources to ensure customers are prepared for the various challenges they might encounter in the future. These include uncertainty, risk and vulnerability assessments and containment strategy.

6. Obtain funding

A good consultant can help in freeing tied-in capital and thus to reduce overheads and needs for working capital financing and short-term financing needs. A company can reinvest the freed funds into expanding the business or reducing the cost of capital. Advisors optimize your financial structure and reduce needs for financing; which makes it more attractive for lenders to provide much-needed a company needs to finance its operations.

Marketing strategy: definition

There are two types of marketing planning: strategic and tactical. The distinction between the two varies from one organization to another and from one manager to another.

However, much of the confusion can be removed if characteristics common to strategic plans and tactical plans can be identified:

A. Strategic marketing plans

Strategic marketing takes a long-term time frame and broadly identifies the organization’s marketing activities. The process seeks to develop effective responses to:

  • Changing market conditions by analysing markets and segments
  • Evaluating competitors’ offerings
  • Defining positioning to establish competitive stance

A marketing strategy tends to embrace all elements of the marketing mix, or significant components of it (distribution strategy, communications strategy etc). Problems in this area tend to be unstructured and qualitative but require external, discretionary, and often speculative data.

B. Tactical marketing plans

This takes a short-term time frame and concerns day- to-day marketing activities. It translates strategy into specific actions and represents the on-going operational dimension of marketing strategy. It tends to deal with individual components of the marketing mix (sales promotions, advertising etc.). Problems are often repetitive and well-structured with data being internally generated.

When marketing strategy and plan are poorly constructed, this leads to very high waste in spending. For example, when a company leaves it up to an external media and/or marketing agency to create that company’s key marketing themes and messages; then if the company switches from one media agency to another after some time, those marketing themes and messages are quasi-guaranteed to be changed – which leads to consumers to be confused by two or more different messages; a fact that leads to high waste, negligible roi and dilutes brand strength.

Importance of a marketing strategy

An organization needs a strategic marketing plan in order to adapt to a changing business environment, and to minimize waste and to contribute effective to building a strong and valuable brand. It provides a systematic framework to analyse the marketplace and provides a well-defined way to pursue strategic goals. However, the truly successful plan is a vehicle to communicate, motivate and involve staff in fundamental business activities. Too often, planning is viewed as a restrictive process based on programming events and generating paperwork but it’s the opposite, plans aim to get employee commitment and ownership to achieve results.

The key reasons for planning are summarized as follows:

1. Adapting to change

Planning enables management to focus on strategic issues as opposed to day-to-day operational problems.

2. Resource allocation

Planning allows us to deploy resources to effectively meet opportunities and threats.

3. Consistency

By providing a common base to work from, the overall decision-making process is enhanced.

Additionally, common formats and methods improve internal communications.

4. Integration

The plan facilitates the integration and coordination of the marketing mix. By providing focus, it’s possible to integrate short- and long- term marketing activities and programs to maximum impact and quality, at minimum costs.

5. Communication and motivation

A strategic marketing plan clearly communicates strategic intents to employees and other stakeholders.

6. Control

The strategic process sets meaningful targets and defines criteria by which success is measured. It also sets pro-active measures to identify deviations from plans and to take corrective actions on-time.

Functions of a marketing strategist

A strategic marketing consultant can fill a variety of functions:

  • Do the work
  • Lead the work
  • Act as mentor and advisor
  • Transmit knowledge
  • Independent observer
  • Serve as facilitator
  • Act as change agent
  • Manage projects
  • Provide recommendations
  • Implement solutions
  • Serve as technical expert
  • Collaborate with management
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