Marketing is a field that embraces a wide range of responsibilities, with the ultimate goal of increasing brand awareness and sales. While consultants might not be on the front lines selling products, they oversee every aspect of the process, from research to point-of-sale displays. A consultant is an advisor who might work on the staff of a company, for a consulting firm that sells consulting services, or as an independent.
Move Into the Role
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, product marketing consultants need at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing or a similar discipline, although some employers prefer a master’s degree at this level. After graduation, these professionals typically learn the ropes by working in sales, advertising or public relations. You can enhance your job prospects and industry credibility by earning certification through an industry group such as the American Marketing Association. Consultants are in on product development from the beginning, bringing expertise and advice in areas ranging from packaging and displays to new product announcements. The BLS expects employment in the field to grow about 83 percent from 2008 to 2018, which means there should be plenty of job opportunities.
Develop Strategic Plans
Product marketing consultants typically work with advertising, PR and sales managers to devise an overall marketing strategy for each new product. The marketing consultant may perform research into target demographics for the product, its competition, and its perceived value in the marketplace. After reviewing the planned sales approach and advertising and public relations campaigns, the marketing consultant can then see analyze strategies to spot potential weak areas and make recommendations. While all the various components of the marketing strategy work independently, they ultimately must be corralled under one comprehensive umbrella, overseen by the marketing consultant.
Train the Team
In many companies, the product marketing specialist trains the sales and customer service teams that have direct influence over customer experiences. With an in-depth understanding of the company, the product and its target market, the marketing consultant can bring all the pieces together for the sales and customer service representatives so they can effectively meet expectations, increase sales and solve customer problems. To be successful, the consultant must have strong communications and leadership skills, as well as the ability to identify and resolve any issues that come up.
Track the Product’s Progress
Once all the pieces of the total marketing campaign are in play, the consultant may leave for another assignment or stay to direct the flow of information as it comes in. Proper follow-up is an important part of forming productive relationships with clients and ensuring their continued business. Consultants may receive reports and updates from the company, and then return for regular meetings with managers to tweak a campaign or put more resources into an area that seems to be generating the most return for the investment. Consultants maintain relationships with clients to ensure repeat business on the next product rollout.
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