Have you ever thought of what a business is without marketing? If you are just starting out, you probably do not fully realize the power of good marketing.
The truth is that many businesses fail because of poor marketing strategy; that is the reason why you need to be aware of the very basics to be able to increase your visibility and have clients in this competitive industry.
In this article, we are going to assist you in your business journey and help you comprehend the “must-knows” because as a start-up, you are going to be the boss, the marketing consultant, the content writer, and of course, the coach.
Let’s just start.
This article will cover
We are going to start from the very beginning the definition of Marketing and a Marketing Consultant.
Basically, marketing is the process of research, exploration, and actions to deliver a certain value that will meet customers' needs and expectations, alongside promoting the product and increasing the business's profitability.
- 4P's: The 4 P's concept is about a product, price, promotion, and place, meaning that you have to offer the right product which meets customer needs and will be in demand, at the right price so that customers can afford it, employ the right strategies for promotion and make the product available (choose a nice location, alongside having an online store)
- 4C's: The purpose of 4C's is better for nowadays marketing because it focuses solely on customers and offers value for the client. 4C's include - communication, customer, convenience, and cost, meaning that in order to sell a product, you need to establish a long-term relationship with the customers, provide a high-quality product with which consumers will be satisfied and which more likely will turn them into returning customers, and offering the product at the right cost, not the overpriced one.
Now, as far as we are clear on the definition of marketing, and the two main approaches of Marketing mix theory, let's continue with the definition of a marketing consultant.
A Marketing Consultant is someone who is responsible for the marketing strategies. Basically, that person has to analyze current situations, and trends and develop a strategy based on market research, target customers, and a unique brand message.
A Marketing Consultant also is a person who should think of the eBay way to deliver the USP (unique selling point) of the product to the potential customers in a way that will turn them into real-time clients.
Role of marketing consultant
Above I gave an overall outline of the role and responsibilities of a marketing consultant; however, it is not that simple; the role of a marketing consultant is also:
- Be aware of recent trends in the industry in order to sell the product efficiently. Which requires knowledge in data analysis and market research
- Being innovative and creative is part of the whole purpose of a marketing consultant. A good professional is able to brainstorm and come up with more new and "crazy" ways of promotion.
- Communicate the brand message to the consumers - this is the most significant role of a marketing consultant; as a specialist, you need to be able to correctly deliver the message the brand and a product are trying to send. In case it is a mass-market product, you need to differentiate the brand; in case it is a niche-specific and expensive one, you need to be able to convince the customers why they need it and what is the value of the brand.
- Strategy creation: The creation of good promotion strategy tactics then tracking the overall results and outcomes to achieve the final destination is also part of the role/responsibilities of a marketing consultant. The hard part here is that your strategy should be based on the objective and budget.
What does a marketing consultant do?
Now we are going to review how marketing consultants do everything mentioned above.
Creating a good strategy is your final task, let's say, however it is not easy because it includes many other steps to complete. How to come up with a working strategy? Here are few steps you need to complete for that:
Identify your business goals (use SMART goals technique)
To come up with a working strategy, first of all, you need to know for what you are creating that strategy, basically, your main goal. When identifying your business goal, remember that there are long-term goals, then short-term goals and tactics to achieve the long-term one. It is very important to break down the big goal into smaller ones to make them achievable and keep-up your and your employees' motivation. There are several techniques for coming up with an effective goal, one of the most efficient techniques is called SMART goals.
- Here is a bad example: I want to have lots of clients.
Now, let's turn this into a good goal example using the SMART technique.
S - stands for specific, so in this example, we can specify the activity, e.g. my "Change Your Life" course.
M - stands for measurable. Therefore, we will specify the number of clients, e.g., 100 clients.
A - stands for Achievable, R stands for realistic, while T stands for time-specific, which means that 100 clients in one day for a start-up is not a goal you want to have, then get demotivated of. Realistic, achievable, and time-specific would be 100 clients in the first month.
Let's take a look at our final goal:
- I want my "Change Your Life" course to be purchased by the first 100 clients in one month.
This goal is something you and your team would be motivated to work on because it is pushing you towards success; at the same time, it is very realistic and specific.
Set your marketing goals
Using the same “SMART” goals we came up with in the previous paragraph, now let’s take a look at how to come up with marketing goals to achieve the main business goals. You have to base your marketing goals upon the business goals. So, remember (and repeat it as a mantra): specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based – SMART.
- What is my business goal? Jot down your business goals, and approach them one by one.
- What should I do to achieve my goal? Say, you want to increase the income by 20% percent in the next quarter. Count the amount of the sales and customers you need to gain in order to increase the revenue. Write numbers – you will literally have to calculate.
- Think about the amount of these things:
- The increase that you will need to achieve in terms of revenue.
- The sales amount – how much will you need to sell to close the gap.
- The amount of customers that will actually buy your products.
- The number of customers that you will have to attract, depending on the chances. For example, from fifty probable customers only the quarter buys. So, if you need forty real consumers, you will have to attract hundred and sixty people.
Complete Market Research
Now, market research sounds intimidating and hard to do, so let’s discuss a few methods to ease the job.
- Interviews: An interview is a method of talking to somebody from your target audience, which allows you to ask specific questions and get detailed feedback. Note that a person that you choose to interview should be a random one but still from your target audience.
- Focus groups: To get a better understanding of your target audience, you can also (and we strongly recommend doing so!) observe focus groups. This is more informative, since you get to see more people, how they interact with each other while discussing your product – see, this is important. When they discuss your product (or service) with each other, there is a dialog that allows for more variegated feedback on your product. You simply get more information.
- Product research: Say, you have a product that has to be used in a certain way but it can be also used otherwise. You need to conduct product research to see how your customers use the product. If they are using it in the way you didn’t mean on a large scale, you can create and offer another product that will satisfy their needs and will bring you more profit.
- Price research: Price research is a method that allows you to evaluate your products or services. What is this thing that I’m trying to sell worth? Is it a reasonable price for the quality? This will give you an insight to whether your customers will buy the product or not. We recommend looking at different companies that offer a similar product and compare the prices, which brings us to the next point – competition.
Use the 4C’s and 4P’s in your Marketing
4Cs and 4Ps are factors that influence your marketing strategy. A good understanding of each will help you to succeed.
4Ps, or product, price, promotion and place are the pillars of marketing; something essential and ubiquitous in traditional marketing. The thing is that it looks at the marketing process from the point of the business itself.
But it seems that 4Ps are outdated now. The 4Cs – customer, cost, communication and convenience – on the other hand, use the audience’s point of view, and this is how modern marketing goes.
So let’s see what you should do in order to succeed:
- Product vs Customer: Look at the demand: what does the customer want? If you find something that your target audience needs, you won’t have to put as much effort to attract them – they will come to you themselves, looking for the thing that you offer. Don’t focus on your product, focus on your customer, so you can satisfy their cravings.
- Price vs Cost: Don’t think about the paycheck only, that’s the price. Think about what costs the consumers to get to your product – in terms of time, space and effort.
- Place vs Convenience. Traditional marketing implies that you locate your stores the way that it is easy for you to transport and distribute the products. But think about the customer: how convenient it is for them to get to your product? Can they access your services with ease? Because, at the end of the day, they will choose between two businesses, the one that is easier to get to.
- Promotion vs Communication: Promotion relies on advertising. And of course, adverts show the products in the best possible way trying to persuade people to buy them. But people grow cynical and don’t really trust adverts anymore. What attracts them is the possibility of a conversation. When they see that the company listens to their feedback and improves their products, consumers trust the company more and return.
As you can see, the modern world’s market demands a look from the customer’s perspective. Play with that – and you will earn their trust and wallets.
Identify your Competitors
Let’s not forget that we are not the only business out there in the market. Consumers buy things that are new enough to be unique and intriguing but familiar enough to be trustworthy. With the emphasis on the last point, you most definitely offer products that other people offer, too. And that is why it is critical to do competition research, or, in other words, identify your competitors.
Look at businesses that succeed in your area with your target audience. What works well? Identify the strategies they use and try to employ them, too. Or maybe use different strategies to overcome your “enemies”. But first of all, you need to gain an understanding of their pricing system, products, sales strategies, advertising and engagement with the audience. This will give you an insight to what they are doing well and what they are doing wrong, so you can emphasize first and correct the second.
Take a look at their website. This will let you know what products they offer, at what price, do they have shipping. Note the things that you find irritating and bad-working – the target audience most probably has the same feelings. Think how you can improve the flaws.
Look through their social media. What is their audience coverage? Carefully observe how they are promoting their products and services, what feedback their customers provide, how the company reacts to the feedback and whether or not they improve.
What skills are required for becoming a marketing consultant?
Marketing is an art of selling and promoting products, businesses, courses – basically anything that can have a price tag. And it is the job of the marketing consultant to help businesses with that. A marketing consultant would come up with the best strategy or plan of advertising and widening the demands for the business. As you can see, it is a very responsible and important position that requires a good understanding of market, business and economics. There are some essential skills that a marketing consultant would need to master in order to become successful.
- SEO (search-engine optimization): In the digital era most businesses have their own websites, which is good since it helps to attract more customers. Good understanding of search engines will help the marketing consultant to increase the website traffic and expand the audience of customers.
- Social Media Marketing (basic knowledge): Another medium that a marketing consultant should understand is social media. Many businesses have their own Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, and it is really helpful to advertise a business there.
- Lead generation techniques: A good marketing consultant should employ lead generation techniques to create client databases. This is a work on turning potential clients into real clients.
- Content Management: A marketing assistant needs to learn content management inside out. There are many CMS (content management systems) for creating nice website designs, and they are not really complicated. Many of them are intuitive, and it takes little time to overcome them.
- Creativity: Do not be afraid to go beyond and introduce new solutions. The best way of catching people’s attention is to introduce something new – familiar enough not to scare them off, but new enough to their light curiosity.
- Patience: As you might have noticed, a marketing consultant should learn and master many things. And skimming through pop articles is not enough – one should explore CMS, SEO and other things thoroughly. It can be boring and unmotivating, but remember what you’re doing that for. Learning is just the first step, imagine how hard it’s going to be to actually work! It is helpful to build up patience from the very first steps.
- Courage: Everything that concerns market, business and economics is a risk. Every action of yours will not have a 100% probability to succeed. You will make mistakes, you will lose money from people you’re consulting, but eventually you will understand what strategy is the most effective. Do not be afraid to take risks, one day they will get justified.
- Problem Solving: We said it before, we will say it again: the profession of a marketing consultant is a responsible and risky job. It directly influences the probability of business success. But since the market is no joke, you will have to approach really difficult conundrums – be ready for that. Problem-solving is something that a marketing consultant will have to do every day, so prepare yourself.
- Attention to Detail: Even the tiniest detail can influence the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, and you cannot do the work in a sloppy manner. Make a habit to perfect every little thing in your work because it directly affects the success of your subject.
- Analytical Ability: It is helpful to think a few steps ahead in order to overcome the market. There are different things you can do to develop your analytical skills: solving mathematical problems, playing chess, etc. There are plenty of fun strategies for increasing your analytical thinking abilities.
How to become marketing consultant: Step-by-Step Guide
Now that we discussed the main characteristics you have to develop to become an on-demand marketing consultant, let’s proceed with making a strategy. Follow this plan that we created to succeed.
Step 1 Learn the Basics
First, you have to know the environment that you’re working in. You need to have a firm understanding of how the market works; knowledge in economics is also welcome. See, the trading system of the 21st century is quite complicated and some effective strategies feel counterintuitive. A lot of research should be done in order to learn everything about the industry, finance system and marketing.
Having a college degree in one of these fields is helpful and will make your marketing consultant career much easier. If you didn’t have a chance to get that education, you can still become a successful professional.
Thanks to the World Wide Web, you can have access to almost every piece of information – books, articles and academic papers. Of course, you don’t have to read everything that was written about economics during the whole existence of human kind.
Actually, we recommend taking some Udemy and SkillShare courses on marketing first, and then doing additional readings about things that you don’t understand well. Research is good, but filling your brain with unnecessary information can cause more harm than good.
Don’t forget to check your sources for relevancy. The world changes quickly, and different strategies are becoming more effective. You don’t expect to run a 21st century business employing 17th century methods.
Nowadays we have more places for marketing, for example, social media. Indirect marketing – strategies that you employ in order for your clients to find you – works pretty well there. For example, you can buy advertisements on Instagram or cooperate with people with large audiences to promote your subject’s business.
You can also make your posts emerge by using hashtags. Direct marketing is when you engage with your target audience directly, for example, by sending them emails or offering refunds or sponsoring events. No matter the approach, your job is to make the business (or whatever you’re promoting) visible.
Step 2 Make a Plan
To start a consulting business you will need to make an approximate plan on what you want and how you are going to achieve that. First, do some background research. Look up the local law – read the parts about advertising, businesses and according taxes. You need to know what strategy will work in your target area.
Then, think about the finances. Plan how you're going to spread the budget in order to come up with the best working approach. Divide the money you’re working with on social media marketing, fliers, posters, etc. Draw a strategy by choosing whom to contact for advertising, whom to send emails, etc.
Prepare the website design, think carefully about the content. Make a plan that your subject will approve of.
Step 3 Be an Expert
Choose a niche, for example, social media marketing, and become an expert in that area. It is better off to have a specific niche, rather than be a false “know-it-all” whose advice does not work because that will ruin the public image of your business. Focus on one thing rather than many, and spend a lot of time perfecting the skill. Let’s have a look at different types of marketing that you can focus on:
- Social media marketing: learn how to promote your business on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Buy advertisements, write good posts, put stories, create aesthetic-looking pinterest boards and engage with customer feedback.
- Influencer marketing: team up with influencers – people that have large following audiences – in order to promote your business from the hands of a trustworthy person. Collaborate with youtubers, tiktokers, etc.
- Content marketing: Create quality promotional content for your business, like articles, blog posts, white papers, etc. Work with the business’ website and search engine optimization, use keywords and alternative image descriptions.
- Website Optimization: Explore platforms such as WordPress, Vix and Uteach in order to optimize your website traffic, SEO and general efficiency. Use plugins and extensions to create the website that is well synthesized with your project. Don’t forget about the design and options for feedback and commentary.
- Email Marketing: Send commercial emails to different corporations to gain and expand your audience. Your emails can contain sales, business offers, advertisements and donation requests.
- Video Marketing: Create suggestive videos like commercials, manuals, recommendations, etc. Spread your videos on YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo; attach them to your websites and blogs, distribute them via email.
- Public Relations (PR): Public Relations field is a bit different to marketing, but it can be useful, too. While marketing is strongly centered around selling products, PR is more about maintaining a good public face. Still, it is important since a good reputation allows one to build trust, and therefore sell products.
- Branding: Branding is a more broad space that is designated to building a brand using social media, websites, videos and more. Branding helps to create presence and trust. It concentrates more on keeping the existing customers rather than attracting the new ones.
Step 4 Choose a Platform
Now, depending on the type of marketing you chose, your platform of choice will be different. Of course, if you’re marketing in social media, you will have to choose from that:
- Instagram: Here, you can create posts with detailed descriptions of your products, accompanied by beautiful pictures, and stories about the process of your business work to attract curious people. Almost every person now has an Instagram account, so eventually, you will find your audience.
- TikTok: TikTok algorithms are very specific, so they recommend people short videos from their location. It is great for promoting small businesses and gaining an audience.
- Pinterest: Create beautiful and aesthetic-looking boards with links to your business website. Attract people by simple and modern designs and careful object composition.
For a content marketing consultant, think about these platforms:
- Udemy: A platform that you can use both for learning and developing your skills and for sharing your business. It has a simple design and an audience of over forty million people!
- Uteach: Uteach is our development. Our intuitive website will help you gain knowledge that you need for promoting your business, as well as to create your own website. Uteach is very versatile and flexible, so it is useful for almost every type of business. The best thing is that Uteach, similar to lego, can be used in so many different ways, and all that comes with a low price.
Step 5 Market Yourself
And finally, market yourself. Yes, this is the last and most important point. Use your knowledge, your skills, employ your business plan and work on the platforms of your choice. Make yourself visible on the market, provide relevant content in order to promote your products.
Here are some ways to do that:
- Blog posts: Write blog posts about yourself, your business and the products you provide. Illustrate that with pictures and photographs, keep the background design fairly simple. Work carefully on the content itself, make it the way so the customers would stay interested and intrigued. Make a narrative, a story out of your business.
- SEO: Optimize your content for search engines. Use keywords in the blog posts, articles and Instagram posts – this will bring them up in Google search. Use hashtags and alternative image descriptions for social media to make your posts visible and searchable.
- Multi Platforming: Create the main platform for your business, like a website shop, and promote it on Instagram, Tiktok, Pinterest, etc. Seize the opportunities that the Internet provides you with.
- Feedback and Q&As: Engage with your audience, make them feel that you care about them. Improve your business by listening to their feedback, place Question & Answer sections on your website and social media, plus allow comments.
Start Your Digital Marketing Consulting Business Right Now
Now it is time to review the practical part. When every step towards becoming a good specialist and content is ready, you have to remember that the platform you choose will be with you for a very long time, so make sure to make the right choice. We talked about multiple platforms available a bit earlier now; let’s review in more detail one of the best ones - Uteach.
To start your business and journey with Uteach, first of all, register on the platform. After registration which will take just a few minutes, you will be redirected to your website. Go to the admin’s dashboard and start customization.
You can take a look at the step-by-step instruction on “Virtual Training: Complete Guide and Best Platforms”.
And remember that the sooner you start, it will be more beneficial for you because you will have lots of time to learn, grow and establish your web presence.