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What is a Marketing Consultant?

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A marketing consultant, in short, is one who knows his chosen line of work and can develop insightful recommendations, provide a solid analysis, and offer guidance on ways to improve, expand, and redefine myriad products and services. This is not to be confused with a public relations expert–a marketing consultant improves a company's offerings while a public relations consultant promotes a company's offerings. Often, companies won't make that distinction, so it's entirely possible to find yourself juggling both titles simultaneously.

To offer fair warning, do not be surprised if you discover that you are always on the job. Most companies will require an on-call presence and will need you to be available at all times, especially if your position requires media releases and a presence during crises as well as during times of celebrations. You might be expected to release a media statement at the drop of a hat, depending on who your employer is, and you stand to have every word scrutinized by the same media you're speaking directly to via a press release, whether in print or on camera. It can be glamorous; it can be incredibly stressful; but usually, it is rewarding, fast-paced, and exciting. Some of the better-known marketing consultants include Kristin Zhivago, Jeff Johnson, Omar Tyree and Neal Lemlein, a well-respected entertainment consultant. These people have taken their marketing backgrounds to higher levels, often after having started at the ground floor of a consulting agency and worked their way up to the top.

Marketing sales agents are those who can incorporate improvements by taking them to the next level while getting results through revised sales efforts. Best described as energetic, positive, and results-oriented, those who choose these careers usually know quickly if it is something they are passionate about. If they are not, they fade fast; but those who thrive tend to remain loyal to this chosen line the entire course of their careers. Per the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site, within their ''significant points'' outline, they state, ''Despite much faster-than-average employment growth, keen competition is expected for jobs; opportunities should be best for those with a graduate degree, specialized expertise, and a talent for salesmanship and public relations.''

Marketing consultant jobs and responsibilities vary by a company's marketing departments. Some consultants are
required to maintain an inventory of marketing promotional items, such as give-aways with company logos (e.g. golf balls, ink pens, and baseball caps) while some attend job fairs and prepare elaborate slide-show presentations for board members, new hires, or subcontractors. Many are capable of event management duties and many companies combine their marketing and public relations departments in an effort to streamline and coordinate the efforts of each specialized area. An especially interesting avenue is the recent surge in the specialized field of research analysis. Other job titles might include marketing analysts for new product research, senior marketing development managers, and marketing interns.

Companies are facing unexpected challenges due to their complexities and viability concerns in the current economic climate. Often, they incorporate the services of marketing consultants to help them hone in on problem areas, seek new avenues, and take advantage of under-incorporated areas. Time-management issues remain especially challenging to companies in all sectors, and because of this, a new breed of analysts has emerged. Time-Management Consultants are linked to other marketing positions since time is seen as a commodity. There are those who have managed to combine marketing efforts with their time-management skills. This marketing aspect is still in its infancy and many believe it is a temporary and misguided attempt at time management.

It is important to remember many marketing positions will require at least some travel, especially for those whose responsibilities include attendance at various marketing shows. Often, degrees in marketing are required to obtain these positions. Internships are available at many of the larger corporations and educational assistance is often made available to those who have been with the company for a period of time.

You might expect to find consultant jobs in non-profit organizations, online companies, financial and banking fields, fashion, retail and areas. Fortune 500 companies are just as likely to offer marketing consultant jobs as smaller local companies. But keep in mind, the needs of these larger corporations will vary greatly from those of smaller companies.

So now that you know what it is, is it for you? Leading career-experts say the market looks great for those wishing to break into the marketing field, and especially so for those wishing or willing to travel. The companies who have international recognition are the very ones who are really looking to add to their marketing departments. Companies may not be making major investments in product lines and their service offerings, but they do intend to make the most of what they know has worked for them in the past. Their goal is to not lose footing in the tried-and-true areas. They are accomplishing this by incorporating the talents and skills of consultants.
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