Exploring this Job
Try to get experience in marketing by finding a part-time or summer job at a marketing firm. You can also create a marketing campaign for a real or imaginary product or service. Consider creating a campaign for your favorite sports team, your favorite app, or the iPod. Join marketing associations to learn more about the field. Many organizations offer memberships for college students, and a few have membership categories for high school students.
Talk with marketing consultants about their careers. A school counselor may be able to arrange an information interview with a consultant. Be sure to ask the consultant important questions relating to reasons why he or she entered the field, the best and worst parts of the job, training opportunities, and any other related advice the person may have for an aspiring marketing consultant.
Marketing consultants provide solutions to tough problems. They are creative people who think “outside the box” to help companies and other clients more effectively manage marketing campaigns, reach potential customers, and develop or improve their presence in brick-and-mortar stores and on the Internet. External marketing consultants work for large management consulting firms that have marketing-related practices. They are also employed by smaller, boutique firms that specialize in marketing consulting, focus on a specific subsector (such as social media), or provide marketing consulting services to a particular industry (such as technology or health care). External marketing consultants work with clients on a project basis, and clients are billed by the hour for consultants’ services. Internal marketing consultants work as salaried employees for companies and other organizations. Others launch their own consulting practices and provide expertise to businesses of all sizes, nonprofits, government agencies, and other organizations on a project basis.
Marketing consultants have a wide range of duties, depending on their employer and the needs of their clients. These are some examples of typical duties for marketing consultants:
- Conducting initial audits of new clients to evaluate current marketing practices and strategies, brand performance, and pricing
- Creating a digital (online, mobile, social media) marketing campaign for a bakery chain that has never marketed its products other than in pre-Internet ways
- Providing advice on how to get the best return on marketing investment using both above-the-line (media, agencies, advertising production) and below-the-line (trade incentives, promotions, etc.) methods
- Creating a customer loyalty program with targeted awards to help a bank improve its relationship with current customers and attract new ones
- Assessing the efficiency of marketing staff, identifying underperforming workers, and providing guidance to improve their performance
- Positioning a telecommunications company to enter the Croatian market, determining the features most desired by Croatian citizens, and assessing consumer willingness to pay for smartphones
- Assessing which features of a new tablet computer matter to a particular market segment (such as teens), and developing a targeted marketing plan to attract these consumers
- Providing advice to a large food manufacturer on incorporating trends such as current Web principles, new media, and viral/word-of-mouth concepts into its marketing efforts
- Offering recommendations to an insurance company on how to reduce marketing costs while improving return on investment
- Helping a company develop a better-targeted and more cohesive marketing strategy to drive sales at its Web site, then redesigning its site and focusing the company’s search marketing efforts based on information found in the digital profiles of target customers
- Helping a consortium of tuna manufacturers to change negative public perceptions about tuna, and increasing sales through a branding campaign involving a combination of target marketing of well-off potential customers, national TV ads promoting the versatility and the health benefits of tuna, an interactive Web site with tuna recipes, print ads in fitness, cooking, and family magazines, and outreach to health clubs