A consultant typically works on an as-needed basis for companies. You can either work for a marketing company that provides consulting services to clients or hire yourself out as an independent or freelance consultant. A bachelor’s degree in marketing management, promotions and advertising can provide a solid basis for the job. An MBA with an emphasis in market research analysis also will serve you well in fulfilling the duties of a marketing consultant.
Interview Subjects and Gather Information
As a marketing consultant, it’s your job to guide the tenor of the project and either oversee a group of researchers on big projects or conduct the actual research yourself. For each project, decide on the type of marketing research you’ll employ – either qualitative or quantitative. Qualitative research is more in-depth and gives companies a thorough understanding of their markets and target populations. Quantitative research relies on percentages and averages within a certain group and gives clients a broader view of their markets.
Analyze the Data
This is where your market research analyst background is most vital. After you’ve conducted the interviews and gathered the information relevant to the customer’s needs, you head back to the office to analyze it all. As the consultant on the project, you may do the work yourself using market forecasting and statistical software programs or bring the results back to your office team who will compile the actual reports.
Prepare a Report
You are the face of the company, whether it’s your own business or a full-service marketing firm. You know what the client wants and needs and in what form. At this point, you either write the marketing research report yourself or review a report delivered by your analysts. It's important that the report communicate your findings in terms the client can understand. You‘ll work closely with marketing managers in large companies and advise owners of smaller businesses.
Your report also should carry recommendations for a marketing plan to follow the research. Market research doesn’t help much without a plan for how the customers can utilize the information. If you’re providing online market research, for example, you may include ideas for how a company can optimize its website for better search results or create mobile apps and increase social media campaigns. You may recommend changing or upgrading branding efforts or identify potential areas of growth for the clients.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Market Research Analysts
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers
- Marketing Research Association: What is the Professional Researcher Certification Program?
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