How Do You Become a Marketing Consultant?

Marketing ConsultantThere are plenty of reasons to become a marketing consultant: The position is expected to grow by up to 41 percent over the next ten years, and the typical professional in this role makes a six-figure salary within just a few years of being hired, according to CNN Money. The job is fast-paced, and it’s committed to producing real marketing results for businesses that otherwise have no real plan to market their products and pull ahead of competitors. To become a marketing consultant and take advantage of this lucrative role in corporate America, however, there are a few requirements that must be met in advance.

A Marketing-Specific Education is Almost Always Required

Marketing consultants are highly paid because they’re among the most knowledgeable people in the profession and they know how to produce quick results for their clients. That expertise has to come from somewhere and, as far as most employers are concerned, it typically comes from a marketing-specific education. That means candidates for these positions must have at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing, though many of the most successful applicants have either a Master’s of Science in Marketing or an MBA with a marketing concentration.

Be Sure to Have Real-World, Hands-On Marketing Experience

Marketing consulting is a hard field to break into as a recent graduate, since most of the best positions require candidates to have at least five years of experience in a corporate or agency marketing setting. The reason for this is actually pretty simple: In order to consult with external businesses on their own approach to marketing, candidates must have experience creating successful campaigns of their own. Hiring committees will want to see at least a half-decade of proven, measurable success in this area, though many employers will want to see between 10 and 15 years of consistently high levels of success.

Bring a Portfolio to Document Marketing Experience and Successes

After achieving an advanced degree in marketing and gaining the necessary experience to qualify for a consulting interview, candidates will want to create or revise their portfolio. Employers want to see examples of marketing campaigns and product developments, proven jumps in analytics and measurable data points, and even recommendations from previous clients and corporations served. This portfolio can often serve as the differentiating and deciding factor between final-round applicants, so make sure that it showcases academic merits, professional highlights, and letters of recommendation that can make a real impression on the final decision-maker.

Versatility and the Ability to Be Self-Employed

Finally, be sure to understand that not all marketing consultant jobs are based in agencies. While plenty of consulting agencies do exist in this area, many marketing consultants are self-employed, work for smaller businesses, or even freelance in order to make use of their talents. Even if a “big” employer won’t bite, consider applying directly to businesses as a marketing consultant. This is how many people in the profession gain their initial consulting experience and develop context for professional interviews, agency jobs, and leadership positions in the consulting industry.

Related Resource: Quantitative Marketing

An Exciting Industry, But One That Requires Extensive Work

Marketing consulting is a fast-growing industry with excellent salary and income potential, but it requires quite a bit of its successful applicants and professionals In order to successfully become a marketing consultant, applicants will need an extensive educational background, documented marketing experience, and a talent for deciphering data and creating a cohesive marketing campaign as quickly as possible.