The first thing you'll need to know is that a consultant has to be a great marketer. That means staying on top of your education and being a specialist in the field. Start by taking a marketing course or two to decide if this is the field for you. Learn different techniques that'll help you become a specialist in marketing all kinds of services and products. You'll need to learn many different methods that will work for all kinds of businesses. Otherwise, you'll be limiting the type of customers you're able to work with. No one wants to limit their field, so make sure you cover every area you can.
If you'd like to start your own consulting business and hire other consultants to work with you, you'll need to make sure that you have a business or marketing degree. Even if you're working for another business, you'll find that a degree can greatly improve your chances of being hired. If you have a degree, but you got it a while ago, be sure to take some additional management and marketing courses to help you learn about potential changes to the marketing field. Remember that you'll need to have good business experience yourself if you want to open your own consulting firm.
It's usually a good idea to work for a marketing company for a while before you become a consultant. This will help you get hands on knowledge of how to position and present products, reach your target market, and accomplish your goals. You'll need a strong understanding of the products and who needs them. You also need to learn what methods are best for reaching a particular market.
Make sure that you take the time to develop research and problem solving skills. That way, when you approach a company, you'll be able to easily define the problems in their marketing methods and offer solutions that'll really work. You need a good portfolio of past projects so you can prove your ability to motivate potential customers to buy your services and products. Learn to write high quality marketing material, including plans, press releases, ads, website content, sales letters and brochures. This will not only get you the practice you need, but also help you have examples you can show companies. That way, they'll have a clear idea of how you can improve their existing marketing materials.
Learn how to work with others. As a consultant, you're not going to take the reins and do it all yourself. You have to be able to coach others in packaging, promotion, price points and many other areas. It's important to be able to work with an advertising department without becoming frustrated or feeling like you need to take over. Be a good teacher and an efficient communicator if you'd like to be a marketing consultant. Make certain that you know all areas of business, so that you'll be able to advise clients on the correct approach for their products and services.
Make sure you market yourself correctly, too. Don't spend so much time getting ready to help your clients that you ignore your own business. Web and traditional advertising are important to making sure that you get the clients you need. Make certain you reach your potential market with your website and other advertising methods. An effective marketing consultant has to be able to use the skills they've learned to help themselves. This will help build client confidence, too.