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6 Simple and Efficient Marketing Strategies to Boost your Consulting Business in 2023

Efficient marketing strategies for your consulting business

Did you know that almost 32% of consultants say they struggle to get new clients for their business? 

Consultants who have around 1-3 clients per year market their business less (only 25% market their business daily) than consultants who work with 6+ clients per year (38% market their business daily). 

This shows that the number of clients you get directly depends on how frequently you market your consulting business.

Promoting your consulting business in 2023 might seem intimidating at first. But with the right set of consultant marketing strategies and implementation, you can easily reach the right audience’s ears.

In this blog, we will go through 6 simple yet efficient ways in which you can promote your consulting service to build a client base and increase your income. 

Before we dive in, 

There are 2 basic things to be kept in mind as a business owner before we get to know and start implementing our marketing plan for consulting businesses. 

a. Identify your niche

To make your consulting company successful, you have to be smart to choose who you promote your business to. Targeting the right audience is necessary. 

Some factors that should be considered while finding the right target audience are:

All these factors would ultimately determine how you market yourself as a consultant to your chosen audience and also help you define your USP.

b. Define your USP

You have now already defined your target audience and researched about them. The next step is to list the needs of the audience that your business can provide solutions for. This can be done by conducting a short survey of your potential/ existing clients. 

It is also important to analyze your competition. Identify what your business can do better that can set you apart from competitors. By increasing the value of your services, providing credibility, and building relationships & trust , you can create your USP. Use your USP to develop your own promotional strategies. 

So far we have covered the basics on what basis we choose our target audience and how to set your USP. So now let’s jump right into our 6 effective marketing strategies for consulting firms that would help boost your business today!

1. Claim your local listing on Google

About 97% of people learn more about the company online than anywhere else. 88% of these searchers who search for local businesses on a mobile phone either visit or call the business establishment within 24 hours. 

It’s important to have your consulting firm listed on Google. This way, you can help your potential clients find you easily on Google search . You can create a business listing through Google My Business . Google My Business (GMB) is a tool that is free to use and helps your business to appear on Google search results and Google Maps.

marketing strategy for consulting business

GMB lets potential clients see your business information, website, open hours, physical location (on Gmaps), and read reviews from former/existing clients. A strong GMB page means customers can easily reach you, increase your website traffic, and withstand future algorithmic changes . 

Once you have created your listing you have to maintain it regularly by:

After your listing is verified by Google, you can directly start accepting appointments from your claimed listing using Reserve with Google (RwG). 

RwG lets searchers who need your services directly book appointments from Google search, website, and maps . RwG lets you add a “ Book now ” button to these channels from which you can start taking appointments. 

You have to have a partnership with a consultant scheduling software like Appointy to let your potential clients make appointments anytime and anywhere via RwG. 

2. Establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry

You may already be an expert in your field since you are a self-employed professional, but being a thought leader means producing content that can reach your potential audience and provide them with value.

In the long term haul, thought leadership can reinforce a consulting company’s foundation by increasing its reputation and legitimacy . A well-planned approach with the correct set of ideas can set your path right for achieving your thought leadership goals and make you one of the most influential businesses in the industry. 

A man in a suit giving a speech in front of a projector screen

What can you do as a thought leader?

What type of content can you share as a thought leader?

Here are some most effective ways to establish yourself as a thought leader with your content:

1. Speak and present at events and conferences

When it comes to generating new business, after referrals, 20% of the consultants chose networking and events to be the next best marketing technique (we’ll talk about referrals shortly!) 

You have an opportunity to showcase your expertise in the specific industry to audiences who are interested in hearing about them. Share some of your skills and update them on several industry trends specific to their industry. 

You can present topics based on a specific niche (For example, social media marketing for management consultants). You could also share a success story from your experience as a consultant. 

Make sure to use this as a great networking opportunity to talk with potential clients and several other businesses to form bonds and ultimately increase your influence and credibility.

2. Blogging

Another form of content you can create and promote is by writing and maintaining your own blogs or contributing to others’ blogs. It lets you share your thoughts and expertise in a written format that can reach audiences in any part of the world and lets you grow your following.

You can get these followers to sign up for your newsletter and make them your potential leads. Providing value and consistent posting are the backbones of building a strong blog readership. 

Some blog ideas that you can write for your audience: 

Experiment with your written content and review which topic resonates well with your audience and write your following blogs tailored to the same. You can also partner with bloggers from other industries and share each other’s blogs to expand your audience. 

3. Webinars and workshops

You can host webinars and workshops on topics that your audience has been recently creating a buzz about. Webinars can be used to promote your content to people around the world. Conduct FAQ sessions, share industry-based information, interviews with other industry experts , etc. 

For example, if you are a Finance consultant and if your younger audience (age group 18-30) is talking about stalks and investment at a young age, then you should hold a webinar for the same where you can give them insights and ideas about investment opportunities, how to go about it, etc.

4. Podcasts

Podcasting for your business can be efficient in many ways. Firstly, audio format is way easier to grasp than video. You can listen to podcasts while doing other things whereas videos need your undivided attention. The production requirements are also comparatively low for podcasts. 

It helps you build an audience and provides a ton of networking opportunities while you interview some of the renowned people in your industry. Ultimately, it is a long-term consultant marketing strategy. 

Ensure to promote all the content you post and events you attend on all your social media handles . This builds your profile and ultimately boosts your reach.

3. Use social media to increase reach

The most efficient way in which social media can be used for marketing consulting companies is by building an active follower base, sharing valuable content, and networking with potential customers. 

Most of your success depends on which industry you are a part of, how well you connect with people, and the quality/ interactiveness of your posts. A good amount of time and effort has to be spent, but you would get fruitful results in doing so. 

A hand holding a black smartphone with social media apps on screen

What do consultants use social media for? 

The goal is to use social media to reach more prospects, develop relationships, promote content , and ultimately send potential clients to visit your website .

A website is a tool that helps you with your growth and social media is what fuels this growth.

The ultimate goal here is not to sell your service. It’s more about building connections, providing value, and helping your follower base.

Choose the right platform to post your content

As of now, there are 2 main platforms for consultants worth promoting on.

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is best for consultancies to connect with the prospective target audience and hopefully convert them from a new contact to a client by offering value at each stage of the transition. They are also the source of new connections/ leads . 

Explain what your consulting is all about and what services you provide in your bio. Make sure to list out your key achievements, certifications, associations you are a part of, and testimonials/ reviews from current and former clients. 

The primary purpose of Twitter is to direct your target audience to your website, podcast, or blog. The golden rule of Twitter is to provide value first and promote only with value.

Twitter, unlike LinkedIn, is a very casual platform. It’s more of a platform where you provide value to your audience, join different conversations, and get a general idea about what your audience is talking about.  

Some ways to interact with your network and grow your audience are to use relevant hashtags in your posts, re-share content of people and businesses in your network, hold Q&A sessions to answer doubts and communicate directly with your follower base, and make it more personalized so that people get to know about you. 

Type of content to post

Some content types work better for consultants than others. Here are some of the content forms which you can share on your social media:

4. Offer referral programs

37% of the consultants agree that referrals are their primary means to get new clients. Consultant referral marketing is a marketing technique that uses word of mouth and recommendations to increase the number of clients through the network of existing clients.

How do referrals work for consultancies? 

When existing clients refer your consultancy to someone, you are already halfway there toward meeting your goal! The person getting referred will get to know about the services you provide and since the referral is coming from a trustworthy source, the person getting referred develops trust in your brand .

Why do consultancies need referrals?

While investing in marketing, you need to manage your expenses well. Referrals are an economical way to get new customers for your consulting service. The only expense would be on what you reward the referrer. Here, the client himself/ herself would act as a channel for marketing your consultancy services and ultimately increase your reputation to build trust through a word-of-mouth promotion.

Incentivize your referrals

Incentivizing both ends of the party (the referrer and the person getting referred) is necessary for this strategy to be effective. Both party members should be awarded similar incentives. Apart from incentivizing, it’s also recommended to appreciate the referrer for their efforts. 

Some examples of possible incentives are:

5. Co-market with other businesses to expand your presence

Co-marketing is basically a referral strategy but only between other consultancies and businesses. Consultant co-marketing can act as a good marketing plan for small consulting businesses and other businesses whose work directly compliments yours. 

Two happy men in suits shaking hands

Why do you need co-marketing?

Assuming you are one of the minor players in your locality’s consultant market and you don’t have a good social media infrastructure, blogs, and a marketing plan, then apart from promotions, offers, etc., this particular strategy would give an added value. Here, both businesses can act as promotional channels for each other to boost their business. 

What type of businesses can your consultancy business partner with? 

Let’s take an example, say that you run a marketing consultancy. You can choose to potentially partner with a sales consultant in your locality. If potential customers have engaged you for marketing, it’s possible they might need help with their sales too. So you can use these connections to create list of referrals from other consultants.

Co-marketing works well for consultants as you can leverage your partner’s relationship to increase your reach, get more leads, and ultimately market your consulting and professional service with very little effort! 

6. Join hands with other consultants through associations

Consultant associations bring together consultant businesses from a specific geographical area. They range from associations that are nationwide to those that have businesses in individual neighborhoods, cities, states, etc. Here are some popular consultant associations to join. 

marketing strategy for consulting business

What are the benefits of being a part of an association? 

Joining consulting associations has several benefits. The resources and services they offer can help you get new leads, and manage and run your consultancy efficiently . If you feel that your consulting business is being mismanaged or is struggling then it’s best to take advantage of the expertise and skills offered by these associations. 


Consultancies might have different consultant marketing strategies to promote their business. Finding the right set of ideas that work best for you depends on how you like to market your consulting service and the nature of your customers. 

Never stop promoting your business and it ensures you a steady influx of customers on a regular basis. 

The pandemic has made consultancy businesses become more digitized! Consulting scheduling software , like Appointy, helps in automating manual administrative tasks like appointment scheduling for consultants, payment processing, employee management, etc., hence letting you focus more on improving your business.

About Appointy We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, and resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.  If you have any thoughts on this blog or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below.  We love a good talk!


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Market a Small Business | 4 MIN READ

8 effective marketing strategies for consultants.

marketing strategy for consulting business

By MBO Partners | February 19, 2021

market a small business

Effectively marketing a consulting business is a challenge that can be overcome by implementing specific strategies that boost your visibility and credibility. With a bit of thought, effort, and dedication you’ll be on your way to cultivating a distinctive and respectable brand.

Here are eight effective ways to market a consulting business:

1. Develop Your Personal Brand

When you start out as an independent consultant, it’s important to remember that  you are now your brand . There are many new, emerging ways to market yourself to ensure your small business is visible not only on the Internet, but also in your community and among your colleagues. Remember, everything you do, say, or publish online reflects on your business. Take a moment to assess how you present yourself online and adjust or adapt as needed.

2. Write an Effective Sales Pitch

If you’ve done any research on starting a business, you’re likely familiar with the elevator pitch: a concise, compelling statement describing your business. You should be able to give a potential client your elevator speech in no more than 30 seconds. Although this technique may be more common in traditional business, it will help highlight what’s important about your personal brand and share information quickly with others.

3. Create a Professional Website

A  credible website  is the backbone of a good brand. Your website will likely be the first place potential clients look when they’re researching your credentials, so make sure it is well written, up-to-date, and professional. The quality of your website often speaks to the quality of your work, so be sure to employ professional design help if needed, and ask for candid feedback from friends and colleagues.

4. Prove You Are a Thought Leader

Establishing yourself as a  thought leader  is one of the most effective marketing tools for independent contractors. Blogging via your own website or through a channel such as LinkedIn is a creative outlet that allows you to share your expertise and reach an audience you may not connect with through traditional marketing methods. Speaking opportunities are another way to promote your name and voice. Reach out to professional organizations, conferences, and local media and offer to share your expertise.

5. Grow Your Social Network

Social networking  has become a marketing force to be reckoned with. What better way to speak directly to people with similar interests and leverage word of mouth referrals to win new clients? To brand your business online, start with LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Your professional profiles should contain important information clients may need and must be updated with current content. To maintain professionalism, don’t spam your social network contacts at every opportunity. Work to find a balance between sharing what’s interesting to you and what’s related to your business.

6. Determine Your Target Audience

Your target audience is the people who have the most to benefit from the services you offer. Take time to define your target audience and to understand their specific needs, where they spend their time online, and what the best ways are to communicate to them. This research will help you focus your marketing efforts towards the people who are the most likely to respond positively.

7. Use Video to Your Advantage

Give listeners and viewers a sense of who you are as an expert and as a professional with video content. Engage with followers on Instagram, or create video blogs. By sharing your personality, you can begin to build a circle of trust and drive new clients to your business. For best results, get a friend or colleague to help set lighting and edit for introductions and titles.

8. Take Time to Network

One of the biggest secrets of consulting success is developing a strong network.  There are many ways to network, be it attending relevant conferences, local meet-ups, and promotional events to connecting with people online and setting up virtual meetings. Regardless of how you choose to network, be sure to connect with people who have varying interests and levels of expertise. Creating a diverse network will help you spark innovation, collaboration, and creativity.

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Marketing - 12 min READ

How to promote your consulting business

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Copper Staff

Contributors from members of the Copper team

February 7, 2020

If you're a consultant, you need clients. That's obvious. But the best way to get them is much less clear.

Should you be blogging? Going to networking events? Starting a newsletter? These marketing strategies for consultants, along with many others, have merit. Choosing the right method for your consultancy, however, can be difficult.

So we've put together this list of 10 ways to market your consulting business. You don't need to do all of them. You just have to pick a few and see if they work. If they do, great! If not, move on to the next option and see if you get better results.

Here's what we'll cover:

0. Choose the right niche

1. place google and social media ads, 2. launch an email newsletter, 3. host events, 4. reach out to potential clients directly, 5. attend networking events, 6. get referrals, 7. speak and present at events, 8. make connections on social media, 9. partner with another consultant, 10. start a blog.

Before we jump into the marketing strategies themselves, let's touch on an important related topic:

This isn't exactly a marketing strategy, but it's a crucial part of an effective consulting career. Highly specific offerings might limit your target market, but they also increase your appeal to potential clients.

As an example, let's say you're marketing your management consultancy. If you market yourself as a management consultant, you'll be competing with every other management consultant out there.

If, however, you market yourself as a "management consultant for business-to-business (B2B) companies," you'll narrow your target market. This is a good thing.

First, you'll be competing with fewer other consultants. If a competing consultant serves business-to-consumer (B2C) companies, B2B companies won't hire them. Your competition pool just got smaller.

You can go even more niche than that, too.

I've worked with an agency that focuses on branding for sports teams and sports-related organizations. That's a very specific niche, and they've developed a lot of expertise in that area. If someone runs a search for "sports branding consultant" and this agency comes up, they'll know immediately that they're looking at a consultancy with valuable, specialized expertise.

It's worth noting that some people recommend not niching down into a specialty. Greg Faxon, for example, makes a compelling argument that you shouldn't choose a niche —you should instead grow into one.

But whether you decide to niche down or not, you need to know what you're offering and who your target audience is.

Online advertising has an advantage among digital marketing strategies for consultants: it's highly targeted.

Blogging, social media, and in-person events increase your exposure to a lot of people, but it's hard to know if you're reaching the right people.

With ads, you can reach the people who are looking for your services. Or the ones who need your services but don't yet know it.

You could show an ad to people who search for a term related to your topic, target people who work at companies that could be valuable clients, focus on people in your city or state, or use any number of other targeting criteria .

Figuring out the Google keywords to target in your ads isn't always easy. This is where a niche comes in handy.

Running an ad using a keyword like "marketing consultant" will be very expensive and make it hard to stand out among all the other people advertising using that same keyword:

google ads for consultants

But what if you were to advertise on a keyword like "Santa Fe artist marketing consultant"? You'll have less competition and it'll be easier to stand out.

On platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, you can also target people who work in a specific industry or have a certain job title, ensuring that your ads get your business in front of the right people.

One piece of advice: don't over-target your ads. If you target “marketing managers of mid-size companies in Philadelphia,” you could be missing out on some opportunities. What if a CEO knows the company needs help and is searching? Or someone just outside of the city needs your help?

Like anything else, running a successful ad campaign takes practice, trial, and error. Be patient and try different targeting strategies. Use wider or narrower audience targeting. Try different keywords. Experiment with your ad copy.

Eventually, you'll find a strategy that works.

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In an article for Consulting Success, Anthony Iannarino, Chris Brogan, Peter Sandeen, and Ian Brodie highlighted the importance of their email marketing efforts. These are big names, and the fact that they get the most value out of email marketing speaks highly of its efficacy.

Of course, starting and running your own email newsletter is a big undertaking.

First, you'll need to get people's contact information. You may have a few clients you can add to your list, but you're going to need a lot of people on your list before it starts to pay dividends.

To get more people interested in your newsletter, you'll probably have to use other content marketing tactics: blogging, creating lead magnets like webinars and ebooks, building a social media presence, and so on.

You need to first convince people that what you have to say is worth listening to. Only then will they be more likely to sign up for your newsletter .

After that, it's a matter of keeping your list organized and up-to-date using a CRM . But a good CRM goes beyond just organizing your contacts and splitting them into lists. You can also integrate it with an email marketing provider.

For example, Copper integrates directly with Mailchimp, making it easy to move contacts between the two services:

copper crm mailchimp

Once you've connected the two platforms, you can see who has received a particular email campaign and when they're going to get the next one:

next email campaigns in copper crm

Integrating Copper with Mailchimp not only makes it easier to start a newsletter, it also helps you keep track of who's getting which emails—with full context of that customer or prospect’s history with you.

Before you start integrating, though, here's something to keep in mind about using an email newsletter to market yourself as a consultant: it's not an ad.

Your newsletter should answer people's questions, educate them, and let them get to know you. That's the primary function.

You can dedicate about 20% of your newsletter to advertising. That means you can pitch your services or talk up a sale in one in every five emails. You're building a relationship, not using this as an opportunity to hard-sell—that's the fastest way to get people to unsubscribe, and we don't want that.

Focus on providing something people love to read, and your newsletter will take you far.

Here are a few examples of newsletters that have worked well for consultants:

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Getting face time with potential clients is invaluable. You can let your personality shine and immediately answer questions. If you combine that with providing something they're interested in, you have a great marketing tactic.

Live events help consultants attract the kinds of people that want to do business with them.

Some consultants use webinars to gather people from all over the country or the world (here's a list of webinar tools to help you get started). Others host meetups in their hometown.

Either way, they bring people together to exchange useful information, demonstrate expertise, and build relationships with potential clients.

Not sure what you'd focus your event on? Consider making it about your field of expertise.

If you're an engineering consultant, host a meetup where people can come to learn about new trends in engineering. You (or someone else) can give a presentation to demonstrate your knowledge, then take questions to show people the value you could provide to their company.

Webinars are similar; get a group of people who are likely to have similar interests and questions, share some information, and leave time for chatting at the end.

When you first start your event, you probably won't have a lot of attendees. That's okay. It will build momentum as people start getting value from it and sharing it with their friends.

Before you run your first webinar or event, focus on getting the word out. Social media, LinkedIn groups, Meetup.com, reddit, and any other place that you interact with potential clients are good bets for sharing your event:

market a webinar for consultants

Inbound marketing is great, but sometimes you have to be proactive. Reaching out to a potential client helps you stand out from the many other consultants out there and, if you do it well, can be a very effective way of getting work.

Of course, you'll have to find potential clients to reach out to. Depending on your field, there are many ways to do that. Here are just a few:

Direct outreach can be very effective, but it also takes time. If you send 100 cold emails, you might only get 20 responses—and that's after multiple follow-ups. You'll need to be persistent.

Iko System found that the sixth email in a sequence got a big boost in response rates (even though most email chains stop after one non-response).

Hunter.io also has this comprehensive writeup on how to write a good follow-up email after no response.

So the number of follow-ups is up to you. Just know that it may take a handful of emails and calls—or a lot more than that—to make contact.

Some people even use direct mail to get in touch with potential clients. It's definitely a good way to stand out, but you'll need to make sure that your offer is good enough that they'll want to respond to you.

Robert Bly has some great suggestions for selling consulting services via direct mail at the National Mail Order Association.

Consulting Success ran a survey among consultants and asked them about the types of marketing they do — and the types that work. The second-most effective strategy was networking and events (the most effective was getting work via referrals , which we'll talk about shortly).

The great part about attending events — whether in person or virtual — is that the crowd is focused. Not only are they there to meet other professionals, but many people also go to these events specifically looking for freelancers, consultants, and other service providers.

Finding events geared towards your area of consulting can make the process even more effective. If you're a marketing consultant, go to marketing meetups. If you work with small businesses, go to local business networking meetings.

You can also go to industry conferences, chamber of commerce meetings, boot camps, speed networking events, and any other event that sounds like it could work for your consultancy.

If you're not used to networking , it can be intimidating — and a big challenge. But with some practice, it'll become much easier. Once you've done it a few times, it becomes second nature. ( Here are some tips for virtual networking , too).

Here are some conference networking tips from our Events + Social team:

The only thing that makes consultants more money than networking, according to Consulting Success's survey, is referrals.

When a client of yours refers someone else, you're already several steps ahead. You know they're interested in your area of service. They've already heard about you, and they're probably looking for the kind of help that you provide.

In short, they're qualified and ready to receive a sales pitch . You don't have to go through the lead generation process, so you can just skip right to qualifying or sales. It saves you a lot of time.

Of course, getting referrals isn't always easy. You'll have to regularly remind your clients that you're looking for referrals and you might even need to set up a referral bonus or system . You can offer referrals to other businesses and hope they return the favor or even partner with another business that provides a complementary service.

Don't forget to look to your past clients for referrals, too. Check your CRM for past clients and people you’ve networked with to see who might give you a referral based on your relationship history, their industry, and other information you have about them:

copper crm's customer history logs

Copper lets you find your past clients and reminds you of all the interactions you've had with them, making it easy to reach out after you've been out of touch for a while.

Email someone to ask about how things have been going since you last talked, and work a request for a referral into a subsequent email.

You'll have to try a few different strategies until you find the one that works best for your consultancy. For help getting started, check out " How to Get More Customer Referrals ."

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Opportunities to speak and present are a lot like networking events, but they can be even more effective.

You get to show off your craft and abilities to a group of people who are interested in hearing about them, plus you get the chance to help those people by giving them useful information.

Speaking and presentation opportunities can take many forms. You might present at a local meetup to share some of your skills or keep people updated on trends in the industry. Or you could give a presentation at a conference that shows off your expertise in a particular niche (this is one of the best ways to get sales leads at trade shows ).

When you give a presentation or a speech, you need to strike a tenuous balance. You want people to know that you're a consultant and that your services are available—but you're not giving a sales presentation. So your focus needs to be on presenting useful information.

Your best bet is to focus on the information you're sharing with your audience. (But you can mention once or twice throughout the presentation that you're a consultant—you could even share a success story from one of your clients.)

At the end of your presentation, you can mention that you'd love to chat with anyone interested in learning more about your area of expertise or working with you on new business opportunities.

And be sure to take advantage of further networking opportunities wherever you give your presentation.

Hang around after you're done speaking to meet with people who are interested. Walk around the exhibit hall and chat with people in your industry. Talk to other speakers who give presentations on similar topics.

These types of events are great networking opportunities, so be sure to take advantage!

Using social media is a great marketing strategy for consultants. But social selling as a consultant isn't easy.

The most effective way to use social media involves building an active following, sharing interesting news, and making strong connections with people who can hire you or make valuable referrals.

As you can imagine, that takes a lot of time and effort. Some people manage to collect thousands of followers in a matter of weeks while others build their following over several years. Your success will depend on your industry, your current social connections, and the quality of your posts.

If you share things that people want to see—tutorials, tips, behind-the-scenes looks, algorithm updates—you'll get followers. If you only post about what you're doing, you probably won't see much engagement.

It's also a good idea to keep an eye on social media trends for various platforms.

LinkedIn, for example, sees a lot of "candid" videos where people speak into a camera about their industry, expertise, and experiences. On Instagram, Stories have become very popular. If you take advantage of these trends, you'll reach more people.

Pro-tip: Social media is a bit like your email newsletter. It's not about selling—it's about making connections with people.

Few people are ready to buy right now, so you'll want to make a name for yourself by providing useful and entertaining social posts. Then, when people are ready to hire a consultant, they'll remember you, because they’ve become acquainted with you through repeated interactions.

If you're not sure how you'd use social media, check out consultants in your field online. See what they're sharing and how they're helping their followers, providing value, and making connections. Try not to copy their exact tactics though (unless you can do it better)—use them for inspiration on developing your own.

Lots of consulting services go well together:

Pro-tip: If you can find someone who works in a field that complements yours, you can partner to help each other with business.

Let's say you're a sales consultant. You might find a local marketing consultant and offer to send business their way—if they'll consider doing the same.

Once clients are done getting marketing help, they'll likely want help with sales. And if they've engaged a sales consultant, there's a good chance they want to improve their marketing, too. Use your connections to build a pipeline of referrals from other consultants.

If you want to use content marketing to your advantage as a consultant, starting your own blog is a great way to go. It lets you share your expertise with the world, reach your audience, and grow your following (which you can then reach with your newsletter).

But growing a blog readership isn't easy. You need to post consistently and provide value to your readers. That might mean tips on what people in your industry are facing, or it could be thought leadership that helps people understand difficult concepts.

There's no one right way to run a blog—especially as a consultant. Try different topics to see what resonates with readers. Post at different rates and see if daily or weekly posts fare better. Partner with other bloggers to share each other's posts and take advantage of a wider audience.

Here's a great example of a short blog post by a marketing consultant. In it, Chris Brogan defines a problem, shares his audience's experience, and suggests a few actions to take to get better results. It's to the point, provides valuable information, and speaks specifically to the people he's trying to bring to his consultancy.

In the end, it's best to start with a few ideas and go from there. Your blog might grow exactly how you imagined—or it could turn into something completely different. If you're not sure how to get started, check out Ryan Robinson's guide to starting a blog .

Find the marketing strategy that works for your consulting business

Every consultant finds a different mix of marketing strategies that works for them. You might go all in on social media. Or spend most of your time asking for referrals. Or you could run a newsletter, go to events, give presentations, and write a blog.

The mix that will work best for you depends on how you like to market and where your customers are. If your potential clients aren't going to local networking events, don't go to local networking events! Find where they spend their time and meet them there.

One final note: keep marketing even when your calendar is full. You never know when a client will have to cancel their contract (or disappear from the face of the earth). Continue looking for clients and make a habit out of your marketing strategies to make sure you always have a pipeline of consulting projects ready to go.

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The Complete Guide to Starting a Consulting Business

Learn about the types of consulting and how to start a lucrative, successful consulting business.



Access 8 templates for consultants in The Complete Consultant's Success Kit.

entrepreneur consultant reviewing blueprints as she starts her own consulting business

Updated: 07/27/22

Published: 04/15/21

Have you heard the phrase: "You owe me for the years, not for the minutes"? 

When you think of consultants, the first ideas that might come to mind are busy schedules, high-profile clients, and lucrative salaries. But why do these companies pay consultants so much money for advice or even seemingly small tasks that could've been done in just a few minutes?

That phrase is exactly why. Consultants have dedicated their careers to offering years of experience in a specific area to businesses and entrepreneurs who need their expertise.

Download Now: Free Consultant's Success Kit

If you’re passionate about helping others succeed by providing niche expertise that’s been honed by years of education, experience, and skill development, a career in consulting may be for you.

We’ve compiled this guide to dig deeper into the lucrative and fulfilling world of consulting — and how to start and market a consulting business of your own.

What is Consulting?

Types of Consulting

How to start a consulting business, how to grow your consulting business, what is consulting.

Consulting is the process of providing expert advice, opinion, and/or strategies for a fee. Consultants — whether individual or firm-based — specialize in a niche industry or trade.

Let’s hone in on an important aspect of the above definition: expert . Consultants are experts in their field. They possess knowledge so valuable that someone else — an individual, department, or entire organization — is willing to pay for it.

Consulting is about much more than giving advice , though. Consulting can include a wide range of activities, including problem diagnosis, data collection, feedback, strategy-building, and implementation.

Consultants and consulting firms are highly sought after because they can bring a unique and fresh perspective to a pressing business problem or challenge. Sometimes, business owners and leaders need a new set of eyes when approaching an issue; as a consultant, you can provide that unbiased perspective.

Simply put, consultants work to make their clients more successful. This can require a lot of work, which is why the consulting business is so lucrative.

Consultant vs. Contractor

You may have heard the words consultant , contractor , and even freelancer used interchangeably.

If you were to open your own consulting business practice, where would you stand?

While all of these parties work with businesses (versus being employed by them), that’s about where their similarities end.

Contractors (including freelancers ) are self-employed workers who are contracted out by companies to provide services.

Consultants, as we’ve defined above, primarily provide an assessment and expert advice. They can be self-employed or employed by a consulting firm.

However, if, as a consultant, you were asked to provide a service or deliverable, you could be hired into a contractor -type role.

For example, let’s say you were hired to assess a sales team’s performance. Upon initial assessment, you recommend a new sales strategy and training plan. If you were then asked to draw up and deliver this written strategy and training plan, you would be considered a contractor (in addition to a consultant).

Consultants exist in practically every field. Let’s discuss the different types of consulting in which you can specialize.

Consulting refers to a variety of specialists in virtually infinite industries.

In this section, we’ll unpack some of the most sought-after types of consulting practices, any relevant niche opportunities that fall under them, and what your career in these respective trades may look like.

1. Management Consulting

Management consulting is the most common type of consulting and includes many different niche consulting careers under its umbrella. Firms like McKinsey, Bain & Company, and Deloitte primarily work in management consulting. It’s a $250 billion industry — at least, where it stands as of 2021.

As a management consultant, you would work with business leaders to help their companies run smoothly. This typically involves assessing certain processes and providing advice on how to improve or implement new ones.

Not all management consultants are the same — some follow a generalist approach and assess each organization as a whole, and some specialize in more specific departments or fields.

2. Strategy Consulting

Strategy consulting is an important subset of management consulting. The purpose of strategy consulting is to review key business strategies and provide expert advice on how to improve or develop new ones. Strategy consultants are typically experts in a certain industry or field and advise on high-level, strategic business decisions, such as company vision, resources, and investments.

3. Operations Consulting

While strategy consultants primarily work with the “why”, operations consulting addresses the “how”. These consultants address operational processes including procurement, outsourcing, supply chain management, and more. Also, operations consultants often do more for businesses than give advice — sometimes they also offer implementation and deployment services to help clients put their new processes to work.

4. Financial Strategy Consulting

Financial consultants, or advisors, help businesses make informed, objective, and legal financial decisions to improve returns. This sector of management consulting works in corporate finance, financial restructuring, risk management, and even real estate . All financial consultants must meet certain requirements and obtain a license to offer financial advice.

5. Human Resources Consulting

The purpose of human resources (HR) consulting is to help companies hire and retain remarkable employees. These specialists address HR processes including training and development, conflict resolution, management philosophies, benefits and pensions, and employee satisfaction. HR consultants also ensure businesses are following legal and ethical personnel practices.

6. IT Consulting

Information technology (IT) consultants implement and manage new technologies, such as systems integration, software development and management, and enterprise architecture.

As an IT consultant , you might help businesses figure out what software to invest in and how to use it to meet goals, solve challenges, and implement important changes. This consulting division is a highly specialized and lucrative industry, worth almost double the management consulting industry — $460 billion .

7. Business Consulting

Business consulting is a broad term that refers to specialists who work with businesses on anything from financial advising to training to layoffs. (You’ll see that this category overlaps with others in this list.)

As a business consultant , you’d typically work with small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) — as opposed to management consulting, where you’d work with enterprise-level businesses — to objectively assess challenges and provide solutions.

8. Sales Consulting

Sales consultants work to improve the performance of sales teams, regardless of size or industry.

As a sales consultant, you’d typically work in sales training and development, but you could also be brought on for other purposes, such as choosing a CRM , improving the sales process, or boosting team morale. Because sales is considered one of the most important parts of a business, financially-speaking, quality sales consultants are highly-valued and sought-after.

9. Marketing Consulting

The purpose of marketing consulting is to evaluate a business’s marketing efforts and provide guidance on how to improve to meet goals and bring in revenue.

As a marketing consultant, you might specialize in a certain field of marketing, such as content marketing, PR, or social media marketing. Or, you might focus on a niche marketing process, such as defining target audiences, customer acquisition , or brand awareness .

10. Environmental Consulting

Are you passionate about environmental laws and regulations? Environmental consulting may be for you. As an environmental consultant, you may advise businesses on how their practices affect the environment around them and often work with industries like construction, waste management, real estate, and energy (but can be hired by any type of company).

Environmental consulting is particularly important as companies work to reduce their permanent impact on the environment.

11. Financial Consulting

Financial consulting overlaps somewhat with the financial strategy consulting we discussed above . The main difference, however, is that this category also includes independent financial consultants that work with individuals, families, and entrepreneurs.

As a financial consultant, you may help with everything from day-to-day expenses, investments, and taxes to cash-flow issues, insurance, and financial legalities.

12. Career Consulting

Individuals and businesses alike use career consulting to either equip themselves or their employees to grow in their jobs. As a career consultant, you may help clients with skill development, resume building, job applications, interviews, and understanding the job market as a whole. If you have a background in HR or recruiting, career consulting may be for you.

13. Healthcare Consulting

The purpose of healthcare consulting is to maximize the impact and output of healthcare organizations. Healthcare consultants are basically management consultants that work in the healthcare industry. They analyze the personnel, profits, and processes in an organization and provide advice on how to improve and solve pressing challenges.

14. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consulting

It's not uncommon for companies of any size and industry to find themselves lacking the specific skillset that diversity and inclusion consultants bring. Hiring an HR consultant is simply not enough to overcome implicit and explicit bias in an organization and that's what makes DEI consultants one of the most sought-after professionals in this market.

As a DEI consultant, you'll bring an objective point of view to business' equity problems — especially those that involve personnel and culture. If you have a background in HR, psychology, sociology, or nonprofit management, you may find that with specific training and education, DEI consulting could be your next career move.

15. Public Relations Consulting

While public relations might be a staple in enterprises, the function is more often coupled with marketing and communications in smaller companies. But public relations is a discipline all its own, and unfortunately, that fact is usually realized in the middle of a crisis.

As a PR consultant, you might work on a retainer to help plan for crises before one occurs or you may be brought in during the middle of a crisis to determine a company's best course of action to work with the public and media. 

16. Brand Consulting

As a brand consultant, you'll be responsible for assessing where a brand currently stands in the market. Competitor analyses, research, and design may fall under the scope of work, but if you prefer to specialize in one area, that's certainly an option.

Brand consultants may work closely with marketing and sales consultants to bring products to market, adjust prices, and offer creative expertise to position a company a certain way in the minds of consumers.

Are you specialized in a certain field or niche industry and believe you could offer quality advice to others? You may consider opening your own consulting business.

Here are six steps to follow to start a consulting business that helps both you and your clients succeed.

1. Assess your skills and strengths to choose your niche.

Before anything else, brainstorm and define what skills and strengths you believe would make you a good consultant. Remember — consultants are experts in a certain niche. Their knowledge is valued so highly that they’re paid to share it.

More importantly, good consultants aren’t experts in everything .

What makes you an expert? What do you love to do and talk about? If you had to stand in front of a classroom and teach on any subject, what would that be? What do your friends, family, and coworkers ask your advice on?

These are just a few questions to ask yourself to start thinking about what skills and strengths would make you a consultant. Jot down your answer before moving forward.

If I were answering for myself, I’d say I’m an expert in writing and content marketing. I’ve worked in this field for my entire career and genuinely love creating content and helping others do the same.

2. Analyze your market needs and pain points.

Once you establish your consulting niche, you should have a better idea of what industry and market you’ll be targeting. Following my personal example from above, I would be targeting the marketing industry and specializing in content marketing and creation.

Narrowing your market as a consultant allows you to understand the needs, challenges, and pain points your potential clients face, which can help clarify how you can use your skills to provide solutions.

For example, let’s say my target audience as a content marketing consultant struggles with consistent content creation, SEO, and tracking published content.

Defining these factors allows me to know precisely how I can help my clients (e.g. with writing, SEO, and metrics) versus simply saying, “Hey, I can help you with words!”.

Just as you specialize in a certain skill set as a consultant, you should also specify what services you provide for your clients. This information can also help you better market to clients, which we’ll talk about below.

3. Develop your brand, website, and service offerings.

The next step in getting started as a consultant is creating the external-facing components of your business. This includes your website, branding, and service offerings. These resources can help clients identify you and can help your business stand out among competitors.

Whether you identify your business with your name (e.g. Allie Decker LLC ) or with another name (e.g. Content Marketing Consulting LLC), you should give it an official name and website to boot.

The other important part of this step is outlining how you work with clients and how much your consulting costs.

Whether you organize your services into clear-cut packages and prices or simply list your services and request that clients call you for more information, you should at least give visitors an idea of what you specialize in and how you can help them (hence what we defined in steps 1 and 2 ).

4. Open your business.

You know what your skills are, how your skills can help others, and how potential clients can discover and learn more about you — it’s time to open your business. This step is a bit more complicated than flipping a proverbial sign from Closed to Open .

First, consider the legal structure of your business. Legitimizing your business gives it credibility and gives you direction when it comes to taxes, staffing, and other legal details.

Next, think about what tools you may need to conduct business and connect with clients. These might include tools to help find new clients and jobs — like a LinkedIn membership — and video conferencing software like Zoom or Skype.

At this stage, you should also open a business bank account, invest in an accountant (and eventually an assistant), and order business cards with your branding and information.

Download The Complete Consultant's Success Kit to access 8 free templates for planning, researching, and client onboarding.

5. Market your business to attract new clients.

Now that you’ve opened your business, it’s time to grow.

A consulting business isn’t a business without clients. Selling your consulting services isn’t like selling a car, a house, or software. Sometimes, you may find yourself selling your services to people who aren’t even aware they need them.

Consulting marketing can adopt a variety of marketing methods:

Regardless of how you promote your consulting business, invest in consulting marketing methods that will get you in direct contact with your potential clients.

Methods like blogging, podcasting, and social media marketing don’t necessarily draw a direct line to new revenue, but they are powerful for growing awareness and establishing expertise.

A healthy mix of direct marketing and awareness marketing will help your consulting business succeed.

Once you get in front of potential clients, have an established elevator pitch and client proposal template ready to go. Half the consulting “battle” is providing advice; the other half is selling your advice in the first place.

As you grow your client base, use a CRM like the HubSpot's all-in-one CRM platform (which comes in a free version for small-to-medium businesses or a paid version for enterprise businesses). It can help you keep track of client information as well as the context of your relationship with each client.

6. Stay organized and scale.

As you grow and master your consulting business, stay organized and consistent. High-quality results are the best way to incite referrals from previous clients — and referrals can be your best source of new sales .

In fact, as you build successful relationships with clients, don't be afraid to ask for referrals for new leads.

Once a month or so, sit down and analyze your consulting business. Look at your client list, software tools, and other business practices; analyze what’s working and what’s not.

Understand where you can cut extra effort and resources to ultimately save money. Lastly, subscribe to industry trends so you can keep your business relevant to the challenges and trends your clients are facing.

Starting a consulting business is a remarkable feat, but that's not where the work stops. These six activities will help you grow your consulting business, too.

1. Conduct a competitive analysis.

Examining your competition can be intimidating, but with the right mindset, you can learn a lot from them about how to grow and improve your consulting business. Moreover, you can identify gaps in the market and find new ways to improve upon their strategies.

If you haven't done so already, conduct a competitive analysis of any other consultants or consulting firms in your niche and area. 

How do they market their business? What consulting services do they offer, and how do they describe and bundle them? What are their prices and fees?

When you study what's working for your competitors, you learn more about your clients' customer journeys and how you can improve your chances of being hired over your competition.

2. Start a blog.

Blogging is a uniquely effective way to market your business, establish authority in your niche, and help your business organically rank online. Many people — professionals, too — hesitate to start a blog because they don't know how to manage a blog or what to write about. Well, we've compiled a helpful guide to help you past that roadblock.

Download our free guide to starting a successful blog and receive an 8-part planner to get your blog up and running.

Another source of great blog content is your client base. Pay attention to what issues or questions your clients face and gather feedback about what information would be helpful to write and share. In the same vein, blog content can also serve as sales enablement content — sharing a popular blog post or two with potential clients can help them understand why to hire you and what they may learn from working with you.

3. Share thought leadership content.

Similar to starting a blog, the process of publishing thought leadership content can help you establish your authority and attract new clientele. Consider platforms like Medium that already have an audience; publish your most authoritative, data-driven, opinion-based content on there to potentially boost your brand awareness. 

You can also use tools like HARO to connect with journalists and bloggers looking for expert quotes, anecdotes, and stories for their content. Respond to queries to get your voice featured as a thought leader in your consulting niche.

4. Explore new consulting verticals.

Take a peek at your competitive analysis (if you've run one): Did your findings yield any verticals or specializations that your competitors are offering and you aren't? Consider adding new verticals to your services to further differentiate yourself and grow your business.

For example, if you're a content marketing consultant, you could consider introducing consulting services for email marketing and social media marketing. If you expand, just be sure that you have relevant experience and expertise — don't add new services for the sake of new business.

5. Network and make new connections.

Networking in person is pretty straightforward. But networking online ... well, that's a different story. Thankfully, with today's technology, there are countless ways to network and make new connections.

Between social media, dedicated Slack channels, and online masterminds, the only thing standing in your way of making new connections and friends online is you . One of my favorite spots to network is on Twitter — it's the easiest platform on which to engage with folks and start interesting conversations, and it's been a good reminder of old connections that I can revive with a short Tweet or email.

Test a few platforms and programs and see which one helps you get connected, attract clients, and build a community.

Start Consulting Today

Consulting may be a fascinating, lucrative career, but it’s also a mindset. Successful consulting businesses begin with an individual or team of knowledgeable experts who are passionate about helping others.

Regardless of how big your firm becomes or how long your client list gets, keep your passion and expertise centered and you’ll always find success — for yourself and your clients.

Top consultants are great at planning, presenting, and marketing their services. Get started with your consulting business plan by downloading our free consulting templates below.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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The Consultant’s Marketing Plan and Business Plan

These two interactive plans epitomize your consultancy. While both plans portray your vision and outline your path to success, these two critical plans have different purposes.

In the marketing plan, the consultant articulates the company vision and establishes a marketing path to accomplish that vision. The business plan lays out the financial and operational structure that accomplishes the consultant’s mission statement. Most investors will expect an accurate and updated consulting business plan . Consultants should maintain accurate plans that depict short and long term projections and profitability overviews.

The marketing plan sets the company vision and articulates the consultant’s mission. Like the business plan, the marketing plan should include short and long term goals. The marketing plan focuses on the strategy that will result in the achievement of the vision. As the consulting practice emerges, the path may require adjustment, but the long-term vision should not deviate. That vision is the passion that drives the consulting practice and is at the core of the consulting firm’s culture.

Developing your Marketing Plan Determining and identifying your consultancy’s USP and vision will take time. The plan should be impressive, well thought out and must reflect your passion for your consulting practice. Remember that as your practice expands, new employees will be reading and most likely scrutinizing your marketing plan. Deliver your vision articulately and concisely. Make sure you have created a consultancy culture and environment that would appeal to you if you were applying for a consulting job.

Begin structuring your marketing plan by defining your impassioned vision. From that end zone, look back and envision the field you must cross to reach the goal line. This exercise will help the consultancy anticipate some, but not all, of the obstacles that will come into play. Build the plan backwards from the goal line to your own one yard line.

Six Tips to Help Develop Your Marketing Game Plan

After you develop your marketing plan and have foreseen some of the obstacles on the playing field, you should also identify certain first down markers along way. Your short term goal is to make first downs. Your long term goal is to build upon that record of first downs and cross the goal line. You may miss a few first downs but you may also make some long gains en route to the goal line. Be prepared to adjust your strategy, but never lose sight of the end zone.

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The principles for marketing a consulting business are no different than any other company. Therefore, a marketing plan is important to you as a consultant. Marketing is the ability to identify and meet human needs. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as the organizational function and set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers, and for managing customer relationships in a way that benefits the organization and its stakeholders. Marketing management is the art and science of choosing target markets and keeping, getting, and growing customers through creating, delivering, and communicating superior customer value. There are multiple customer markets, including: consumer markets, business markets, and global markets. These are all affected by communication, money, and information. In order for your consulting company to lead the market, you must strengthen your brand name, measure your marketing effectiveness, develop new products based on your customers' needs, gather feedback from your customers, and utilize new marketing technologies.

When developing a marketing strategy, it is also important to think from the perspective of how the client will choose you. Unless you are highly specialized, you may be competing with other potential consultants. So here are some things companies look for, as you develop your strategy for marketing.

Do you have a written process?

Is your process turning away consultants from future advertisements?

Is it timely and efficient?

Is it consistent from project to project?

Are you attracting the most qualified firms?

What is the true cost of the process for firms?

Can the process be improved?

If you are the sole consultant for your company, you will be responsible for the marketing of your firm. In order to best market, you must understand some of the marketing strategies and market forces. There are a number of factors that affect how you market, where you market, and to whom you market.

Emerging marketing forces

Improvements in information technology allow you to make more targeted communications, and to more effectively produce your products.

Competition from online stores, direct-mail firms, and e-commerce is transforming the market for small retailers and brick-and-mortar stores.

Converging markets within industries helps some companies survive in the marketplace, where market giants like Gateway and Dell rise and fall more rapidly.

Globalization affects transportation, communication, and shipping throughout the world, where it is easier for consumers to buy products from other countries.

Increased consumer capabilities

Consumers have increasing opportunities for purchasing goods and services in today's market.

Public opinion – As technology improves, specifically the use of the Internet, social media plays a large part in peer influence and public opinion. Social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, and YouTube allow for a wide array of comments on products and services within the marketplace. Customers are easily able to post opinions and videos about products or services particularly if they are unhappy.

Buying power – Consumers are more able to compare prices and services using the Internet for almost any item they want to purchase. Comparison of products and services are just a click away. This gives consumers more buying power.

Greater variety – Consumers have far more products and services readily available, at the click of a mouse, than they ever have in the past. Quite often, there are hundreds of websites offering the same product, with differing levels of quality and different pricing.

Greater information – As a consumer, you have the ability to purchase from all over the world, removing the restriction of just local goods or services.

Greater access – C onsumers of today can make a purchase 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from their mobile phone, home, or office -- and have the goods delivered within a very short time.

As a consultant, you will make a determination on the best marketing mix for your company. This will be somewhat trial and error, but otherwise based on researching the market. Depending on whether you want to offer a solution to your clients, make your product more readily available, or simply inform your clients with information, your marketing activities should focus on four key dimensions of customer needs. This includes:

Solutions – the ability to resolve problems for customers

Information – lets consumers know where they can learn more about a product

Value– allows customers to weigh the cost and see the total value of the solution

Access – lets the customer know where they can find it

There are several key questions you need to ask yourself when developing your marketing plan. You develop your strategy by identifying potential long-term opportunities and combining them with your core competencies. Let's review the list now:

How do you choose the right market segment?

How do you differentiate your company's offerings?

How do you customize the offerings for each customer?

How do you develop customer loyalty?

How can you tell which customers provide the most value or importance to your company?

How do you measure the payback from your marketing and advertising actions and investments?

How do you improve sales?

How do you respond to customers who only buy on price?

How do you establish multiple marketing channels, and yet maintain a manageable span of control?

To answer these questions, there are several actions you must take.

Connecting with the customer – This includes creating the best value for your customer in developing a strong, profitable, long-term relationship. As the company owner, you need to determine, through questioning or surveys, what your customers are looking for in terms of features and prices. How do they make their purchasing decisions? Is it by an individual, group, or a committee?

Building a stronger brand – This involves continual refinement of your abilities and competencies, and refining your look and feel and branding.

Monitoring market trends and innovation – As you look at your macro-environment to determine client demographics, culture, and economic scale, you focus your marketing research on measuring market potential, determining your forecast demand, and measuring your marketing expenditures in relation to marketing activities.

Shaping and refining your market offerings – This includes determining what marketing factors to include in your sales pitch, such as quality, design, and features. In providing for other factors, such as price discounts, credit terms, and other activities, you give your clients a greater perceived value in your competition can offer. As a consulting firm owner you will to maintain an active monitor marketing insights through use of the Internet and other marketing and advertising channels.

Delivering quality and value – this should be embodied in all of your marketing activities you want to communicate the value of your products and services to your customer through mass communication programs which consist of advertising, public relations, and holding conferences or events.

By connecting with the customer, building a stronger brand, monitoring market trends and innovations, shaping your offerings, and developing a consistent ability to deliver quality and value, you are developing your overall marketing strategy. Within your strategy, you will develop your marketing mix. Your marketing mix will consist of the channels you use to deploy your consulting services. Quite often the marketing mix is a combination of pricing, service delivery, advertising, and customer service. As a consultant, there will always be a demand for your services; but consulting, like any other business, has its ebb and flow with market demand. As a consulting business owner, you are responsible for coordinating your marketing mix to improve your market share and penetration. Market share is the selective demand that clients have for your products and services, over other clients. The market penetration is the growth of your firm within the market.

Marketing mix

Structured under your strategic plan and marketing mix are the core business processes that you need to maintain as a consultant to maintain customer value.

Client acquisition process includes all the activities you do to define your target market and network for prospecting new clients.

Client relationship management process includes the activities you used to develop a deep relationship and understanding of your clients, to better offer them services.

Market intelligence process includes all the activities you do to develop market information, and your client offerings or new services and the actions you take on this information.

Innovation and new offering process includes the activities you undertake to research, develop, and launch new services to your clients.

Delivery management process includes all the activities you undertake as a consultant to develop your final product and presentations to deliver to the client.

As a consulting business owner, you want to spend more time consulting than marketing. A number of companies spend significant amounts of money developing worthless brochures and websites that have little return on investment, and do not grow the customer relationship or market penetration desired. Knowing this key information, you want to focus your intent and creativity on crafting the message that results in the most action. This type of marketing is called breakthrough marketing, and is often used by businesses that already exist in the market, but want to maintain growth within the market. This can be accomplished through a combination of efforts, including customer knowledge. This means interacting with your clients and knowing their needs. Other efforts that will help you with your breakthrough marketing include developing a quality strategy, which conveys to potential clients that you have above-average quality. A brand extension strategy, by offering additional consulting services and good communications to create client awareness and develop preference.

Breakthrough strategies focus on the distinctive characteristics of your consulting service; your ability to sell your services to a client is much different from a tangible product. The best way to convince clients to use your services is to use a service quality model. Service quality models focus on reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy, and tangibles. Reliability is your ability to provide the promised consulting service dependably and accurately. Responsiveness is your willingness to help your clients by providing prompt consulting services. Assurance is your ability, as a consultant, to convey trust and confidence to your clients and to show courtesy, knowledge, and expertise.

As you market your plan you want to ensure that your written offer conveys the positive benefits of using your consulting company. These positive benefits include:

Offering the most qualified consultants

Technical knowledge

Maximizing efficient use of the client's time

Minimizing of regulatory or legal issues

The written code of conduct

No conflicts of interest

Ability to meet scheduled deadlines

The highest quality

As you develop your consulting business in conjunction with offering services, you may also want to offer products. Based on the type of consulting you do, you may want to offer printed materials, DVDs, or CDs for future clients, or additional clients, based on the work you have already performed. This provides you with a broader sales base.

Determining your pricing for your consulting services will help you develop a baseline, or standard practice cost, for your services. Make sure that you are comfortable with the prices you charge and that you are paid adequately for your services. You must understand the overhead cost for your business and make sure that you are covering the cost of running your business. This also includes payroll and benefits costs, and non-visual costs such as insurance coverage. Part of your marketing strategy may be in setting your price to become competitive or more attractive than other consultants, prices. Although you want to maintain a competitive rate in the market. You also want the rate to be attractive. You can develop the framework for the prices you charge by bench-marking other consultants in the area to determine your rate-setting methodology. This may include hourly rates for services, weekly fees, or a retainer. Clients will have different preferences for rate charges. Some will prefer an hourly basis, while others prefer to know the overall cost of your consulting.

Improving your marketing presence and your overall marketing strategy is very important to increasing your client base. Over time, you will develop a listing of new and prior customers. There are several marketing methods you can use, which include the traditional methods of printed advertising in newspapers and business journals. Then, there are a number of not so traditional methods that you can use to boost your business, which include public speaking and tailored presentations, articles, and newsletters. Your marketing is a constant process of self-marketing and self-promotion. Consulting companies spend a considerable amount of their time marketing their services. These charts display some of the common marketing aspects of consulting marketing.

When branding your company, there are a number of ways this can be accomplished. The primary focal point is your consulting proposal. Make sure it includes your logo and brand on letterhead, on notebooks, on business cards, pens and pencils, on cell phone applications, CDs, envelopes, and other items you may use for advertising, such as cups, or literature.

Consultant screening

Many potential clients who routinely use consulting services may uses a selection screening process. Remember, there may be multiple consultants bidding on the same job. Knowing this allows you to plan accordingly and adjust your marketing strategy to meet the needs of the request for bid.

Offer package projects at a discount

You may offer package projects. This would involve taking on many different parts of the company that need some consulting advice -- offering additional consulting days for follow-up at no additional cost.

Offer discounts on future business

Once you have performed consulting services for a client, you may offer them additional services at a discounted rate.

Summary Reminders and Takeaways

Your business's marketing strategy is the most important factor that affects your finances. A marketing plan is a key tool in determining your overall needs and goals for your company. It is important that you understand consumer markets, business markets, and economic effects. Be sure that you have a written process for marketing, which you can audit, that provides timely and efficient use of your financial expenditures and is consistent from project to project.

The Internet and social media provide the greatest opportunities for marketing success today. Consumers are exposed to public opinion on a frequent basis. They have greater buying power, greater variety, greater information, and greater access than ever before. Consumers can view your consulting firm's marketing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from their mobile phone, home, or office. How far you expand your marketing is up to you. It is as simple as a newsletter, or as innovative as a consulting application clients use from their phone.

Your marketing plan should address the four key dimensions of customer needs: the ability to resolve problems for the customer, to let them know where they can learn more about your product, to weigh the opportunity cost, to see the total value of your solution, and to let the customer know where they can find your services. These are known as solutions, information, value, and access.

The actions you must take in the development of your marketing plan will also address how to connect with the customer, how to build a stronger brand, monitoring market trends and innovation, how to shape and refining your market offerings, and how to deliver quality and value.

The marketing mix consists of products, price, promotion, and place. You want to develop your marketing share, because it is the selective demand that clients have for your products and services over competitors. This includes what you offer, any discounts or credit terms, how you do sales and marketing, what kind of education you provide about your products or services, as well as what type of marketing channels you have.

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Consulting Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

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Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their consulting businesses. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a consulting business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today. It can be used to create a business consulting business plan, a management consulting business plan or any other type of consultancy business plan.

Download our Consulting Business Plan Template here

What Is a Consulting Firm Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your consulting firm as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Consulting Firm Business Plan

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Source of Funding for Consulting Firms

With regards to funding, the main sources of capital raising for a consulting business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable. But they will want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.

The second most common form of funding for a consulting business is angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding, or, like a bank, they will give you a loan.

Sample Consulting Business Plan Template

Your business plan should include 10 sections as follows:

Executive Summary

consultant meeting with prospective clients

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of consulting business you are operating and the status; for example, are you a starting a consulting firm, or do you have a consulting business that you would like to grow?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the consulting industry. Discuss the type of consulting business you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target market. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.

Company Analysis

In your company analysis, you will detail the type of consulting business you are operating.

For example, you might operate one of the following types:

In addition to explaining the type of consulting business you operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to questions such as:

Industry Analysis

consultant work

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the consulting industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your strategy particularly if your research identifies market trends.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your consulting business plan:

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your consulting business plan must detail the clients you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: Corporations, Federal Government, Nonprofits, Consumers, etc.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of consulting business you operate. Clearly,  nonprofit organizations  would want different pricing and service options and would respond to different marketing promotions than the federal government.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the business sizes and types, or consumer ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the clients you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target audience. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your clients.  

Competitive Analysis

consultant meets with a prospective client

Direct competitors  are other consultants and consulting firms.

Indirect competitors  are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes doing it themselves and in-house expertise among others. You need to mention such competition to show you understand that not every company or consumer engages a consultant.

With regards to direct competition, you want to detail the other consulting businesses with which you compete.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.

Marketing Plan

operations consulting

Product : in the product section you should reiterate the type of consulting business that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific consulting services you will be offering. For example, in addition to IT infrastructure consulting, will you also offer an IT Security component?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the consulting services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the location of your consulting business. Document your location and mention how the location might impact your consulting success. For example, maybe your consulting business is located in an office complex with lots of potential clients.

Promotions : the final part of your consultant marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider as a consultant:

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes  include all of the tasks involved in running your consulting business such as serving clients, prospecting new clients, procuring supplies, keeping the office clean, etc.

Long-term goals  are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to serve your 100th client, or when you hope to reach $X in sales. It could also be when you expect to hire your Xth employee or open a new location.  

Management Team

financial advisory

Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in the consulting business. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in consulting businesses and/or successfully running small businesses.

Financial Plan

business planning

Income Statement

An income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you serve 5 clients per month or 25? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets

While balance sheets include much information, to simplify them to the key items you need to know about, balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. For instance, if you spend $100,000 on building out your consulting business, that will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $100.000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement

Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a consulting business:

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your consulting business plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office design blueprint or location lease.

Putting together a business plan for your consulting firm is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the consulting business, your competition, and your prospective clients. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful consulting business.  

Finish Your Consulting Business Plan in 1 Day!

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your consulting business plan?

With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed consulting business plans for thousands of companies that have gone on to achieve tremendous success.

Click here  to see how Growthink’s  business plan consulting services  can create your business plan for you.

Consulting Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my consulting business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Consulting Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Consulting Business Plan.

How Do I Download a Free Consulting Business Plan PDF?

You can download our consulting business plan PDF template here . This is a business plan template you can use in PDF format.

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Winning marketers relentlessly focus on expanding their playing field using a strategic approach to identify and fulfill unmet customer needs. Creating and capturing new market spaces and building strong brands is the domain of strategic marketing and the focus of our work.

As classically trained marketers, we are functional specialists and work across a spectrum of companies — from global Fortune 500 companies to venture-backed startups, within business-to-business and business-to-consumer settings.

Working closely with your team, our business strategy and marketing sales consultants employ a disciplined approach and a broad spectrum of analytical tools in mapping customer needs to marketing requirements and then aligning the offering with target customer requirements.

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The best marketing and sales organizations orient around the customer—and rely on analytics, agile processes, and a test-and-learn culture to create more personalized experiences. BCG’s marketing and sales consultants guide the way. 

Companies that win don’t just talk about customer experience—they sell and market in a way that’s both convenient and relevant to customers. Traditional approaches don’t foster this seamless simplicity. What’s needed is a new paradigm: an integrated unification of marketing and sales. We help companies develop the underlying human and technical capabilities that enable a more agile, data-driven marketing and sales organization.

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Our Marketing and Sales Services

Digital Sales

Digital Marketing

Sales Channel Strategy


Marketing Function Excellence

RELATED SERVICES: Pricing and Revenue Management , Customer Insights

How We Help Marketing and Sales Organizations

Our Marketing and Sales Solutions

A key challenge in marketing and sales is navigating an ever-increasing array of choices. To help clients focus their efforts, our marketing and sales consultants are supported by unique solutions, methodologies, and expertise.


Fabriq by BCG

Personalized marketing, pricing, experiences offer a route to bigger revenues—and higher customer satisfaction. But getting personalization right means tying a lot of pieces together, including data, algorithms, testing, and delivery. Fabriq is a set of tools and modules that helps you link all the parts, and shave months off development time.


Marketing Catalyst by BCG

Data can shed light on how marketing efforts are faring—and where to turn up, or turn down, the dial. The problem is: there’s a lot of data. Marketing Catalyst integrates analytics, research, and data into an easy-to-use interface that matches marketing investments with growth opportunities. So companies get a clear, fact-based view of likely returns, enabling them to optimize their marketing mix and campaign planning.



A company’s purpose—the “why” driving what you do—is a crucial enabler of success. Over the past 15 years, purpose-driven organizations have grown 10% faster than the market. But purpose does more than unlock growth. It also energizes employees, inspires customers, and creates social impact. BrightHouse, BCG’s global creative consultancy, helps companies define their true business purpose, embed it across the organization, and unleash its power.

Additionally, our Commercial Accelerator assesses marketing, sales, and pricing in concert to measure the true impact of an initiative and spark more effective investment. A key tool is BCG’s Return on Commercial Investment (RoCI) metric, which aggregates all commercial KPIs to help companies understand where they stand—and what to cut, keep, and prioritize.

Our Client Work in Marketing and Sales


We helped lead an end-to-end marketing transformation for one of the world’s largest convenience retailers to achieve $200 million in-year growth —on a path toward more than $1 billion in annual impact. Our digital marketing consulting experts redefined marketing execution through over 100 pilots in all channels and shaped a vision for a new retail media division. And we fully integrated an agile-squad model to upskill their teams for sustained impact.


A leading global technology company, held back in their new cloud offerings by a traditional field based sales model, was falling behind digital native competitors. We helped the organization design a next-generation sales model and build a regional inside sales center in 90 days and established a true global demand center marketing team. The company expects this new capability to well over $1 billion in run-rate revenue after the first three years.


We helped a client in the retail industry realize an increase in annual revenue of $300 million by implementing one-to-one marketing—experiences based on preferences, usage, location, and context relevant to individual customers.

Amway China Steps into Its Digital Future General Manager Innovation Hub Amway China Ken Li talks about the company’s transformation and the tangible impact it has had on the business.

Explore Our Insights on Marketing and Sales

The Declining Relevance of Humans in Delivering What Customers Want | Rectangle

The Declining Relevance of Humans in Delivering What Customers Want

Retailers and service providers should rethink where and how they deploy their sales agents in light of data that shows current approaches aren’t delivering the experiences consumers want.

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The Human-Tech Equation for Improving Marketing ROI

The floor has fallen out from under marketers. They need a bold new approach to measuring the impact of their efforts—and determining where to spend their organizations' dollars.

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Business Consulting Business Plan

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Growth Management and Strategies

Strategy and implementation summary.

GMS will pursue a strategy in line with the experience of the owner, and implementation will be performance based and follow a clear path. Milestones are important to the implementation of this plan, and so is the vision and the will of the company’s owner, Mr. Dawson. The overall company strategy is tied very closely with the sales strategy, that is, with the front lines of the business. One of the biggest threats to any strategy is that they can become too high-minded, and not literal enough to translate into action. This will not be the case with GMS, a solid company that hires top talent and achieves it’s goals on time and on budget.

5.1 Competitive Edge

GMS has a significant competitive edge in the following areas:

5.2 Marketing Strategy

GMS’s marketing strategy revolves around a three-tiered focus. At the top of pyramid one, imagine a customer service ideal. This ideal is also included in the competitive comparison.

Pyramid two is focused on the execution level of all sales efforts. Not just as a goal, but execution as a strategy for building a stronger focus and building on what has already been accomplished. There are many tactics available in this pyramid, and those details are available in the marketing plan upon request.

Pyramid three has at the top a team-centric company culture. Tactics revolve around building this culture from the ground up so that it rewards innovation and determination, and management shows no personal bias or favoritism except when a salesperson or consultant is outperforming the mean. Although this strategy appears to be an internal management goal or company summary object, it is highly relevant to marketing’s performance because without integrity standards and a consistent company culture, GMS’s marketing will feel disconnected and unsupported, and will suffer as a result. A more detailed breakdown of tactics and programs related to this strategy is available in the full marketing plan. 

5.3 Sales Strategy

GMS plans to develop and train 5-6 new salespeople by year two. Upon start up, the primary sales contact will be Mr. Dawson, but this will change as the revenues increase, and the company is able to invest in human capital.

GMS has a sales strategy that focuses on an initial needs analysis. Once the results of the needs analysis has been forwarded or described over the phone to a potential client, the salesperson will ask for a personal interview, a chance to sit down and discuss specifics. At no time should this be perceived by the potential client as “pushy” or “agressive.” 

The goal of this sales process is to get behind the numbers, and the business successes, to identify where the client’s needs lie. Once this is mapped out, GMS will decide how these problems can be best addressed, and will offer both a bid and some action points. If the client wants to use the action points to move forward on their own, this is very acceptable. GMS’s research has in fact shown that the clients that choose this path, often come back to seek additional information, and more often than not, accept the bid.

This strategy differs from the course often taken by large consulting firms in that the customer is not condescended to, or treated as if the knowledge isn’t right there in their own heads. Often, consulting companies will send a large ego to clean up a client’s mess, and find that the strategy backfires when the client only chooses to give the consultant the chance to bid. GMS’s sales strategy revolves around customer service and empowerment, not condescension and sales “closers.”

5.3.1 Sales Forecast

Sales forecast is based on the assumption that most of the revenue will be the result of consulting bids. The growth in retainer revenue is about 30% lower than the expected yearly growth in consulting bids of 80%/year. This may seem like an agressive number at first glance, but this is not a large company being discussed in this business plan. The smaller the company, often the larger the opportunity for exponential sales growth, and especially if the firm uses sound sales and marketing strategies to take share from the larger, less nimble consultancies.

The Needs Analysis service is listed only to highlight the fact that some outside information gathering firms/consultants will be used to compile the necessary information. This poses some risk because there are no costs associated with the Needs Analysis efforts. Nevertheless, GMS is confident that this product will set the company apart from the competition, and generate sales far in excess of the costs incurred.

Business consulting business plan, strategy and implementation summary chart image

5.4 Milestones

The milestones table includes one listing each for the business plan and the marketing plan. Each of these are crucial to the long-term and short-term success of GMS. The other milestones are also important, but most are simply tasks necessary in starting up almost any business. Nevertheless, the most important milestone in this table is financial. The SBA loan will determine whether this company will have the working capital to operate for 5-12 months with little or no immediate revenue. If GMS cannot find the working capital to meet the minimum cash flow expectations set forth in this document, the company will dissolve and the owner will turn his talents elsewhere. Therefore, it is possible that the line item for “SBA Loan” may be changed to acquire family or friends as investors. Ideally it will not come to that and Mr. Dawson will be able to retain full control of the company, and direct it entirely based on his vision.

Business consulting business plan, strategy and implementation summary chart image

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New to Consulting Firm Marketing? Start With These 5 Areas.

By Jason Mlicki   |   October 10, 2022   |   Digital Marketing

The foundational tools for marketing and growing a consulting firm are the same as they were when this article was first published in May 2014. But their importance has escalated in an increasingly competitive, high-inflation environment. We’ve updated the content to reflect the latest thinking and illustrate what it takes to set your firm apart and attract new business today.

Maybe you’ve just been promoted to the Director of Marketing role in your firm, maybe you’ve been marketing professional services firms for some time and just accepted a new post in a consulting firm, or maybe you’re a seasoned B2B marketer who’s fairly new to the consulting industry. Regardless of what brought you to this moment, you may find yourself stuck with the same question, “Now what?” This article lays out a sequence of five things I believe any new marketing leader in a mid-sized consulting firm should be thinking about.

#1. Positioning

For any marketer to be successful, they need to start with clarity on the types of clients they hope to attract. While most consulting firms already have brand and business strategy figured out long before they endeavor to hire a non-consultant to lead the marketing post, there are occasional exceptions. So it’s important we start at the beginning:

If the principals of the firm can’t offer you clear and concise answers to most of these questions, you may have a positioning problem on your hands.


#2. Differentiation

What differentiates one consulting firm from the next in the eyes of a potential client? While positioning is quite often the root of differentiation, it’s still just one aspect of what distinguishes one firm from the next. Even for the most specific business problem, clients generally have at least a handful of viable alternatives to solve it.

Differentiation is about strategically aligning critical aspects of the firm’s business against its positioning such that it creates something unique and valuable to the firm’s ideal clients. The culmination of this is often grounded in a distinct point of view or POV—essentially its core belief about the best way to go about solving its clients’ problems or addressing their opportunities.

That said, we can’t invest in everything. Generally, a firm has to make decisions about where to invest resources (and where not to) in order to fulfill its point of view and build something tangibly different and uniquely valuable to its ideal clientele.

Usually it’s some combination of these things that works:

In most cases, one of these things in isolation is not the basis for meaningful differentiation; generally, a firm must invest in multiple areas in order to build something that’s truly unique and tangibly valuable. The combination of these factors crystalizes the company’s POV. Another Rattleback client, TBM Consulting , leverages its diagnostic process, proprietary management system, and a culture that’s grounded in working at the point of impact to drive efficiencies, remove waste, and generate immediate results for its clients. All this ladders up to the consultancy’s defining mantra: in manufacturing, speed wins every time.

Another resource related to differentiation you may find helpful:

#3. Thought Leadership

These days, the intelligent cultivation, development, and dissemination of thought leadership has become one of the most important and effective tools in marketing and branding a consulting firm. Indeed, this is what brings your firm’s differentiating POV to life. Done right, thought leadership can become one of a firm’s most effective and valuable tools for attracting potential new clients. Yet, doing it right is quite hard. And, with the rapid explosion of content, cutting through the noise has become harder than ever.

For thought leadership to work you need the following:

Oh, is that all? Yes, it’s a lot. But firms that truly invest themselves in the process of thought leadership can attain extraordinary results — case in point, CEB essentially changed the entire marketplace conversation on how selling gets done with the research, insights, and content it poured into its 2011 book, The Challenger Sale. The firm claims to have trained over 80,000 sales professionals on the Challenger methodology, and its stock price gradually grew from $37.39 per share on November 10, 2011, when the book was published to $75.90 on January 10, 2017, when it was officially sold to Gartner in a $2.6B transaction. For more on how they did it, check out the post Demand Generation at Training and Advisory Firm CEB .


#4. Website

Our research shows that the most successful high-growth firms consider their corporate websites to be their most valuable marketing asset. Further, they recognize that the website is much more than a capabilities presentation or a place for credentialing. It is a strategic tool that plays a pivotal role in client acquisition and in initiating new conversations with real prospects you want to do business with and whom you may already know, or not. When built correctly and with thoughtful consideration to where a prospect is in the buying journey, a website will enable a firm to:

#5. Marketing Planning

You’re in luck — if you’ve made it this far, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty. You’ve tackled the most strategic aspects of marketing and growing your firm and you’ve invested in the content and tools necessary to do so. Now you need to drive into the tactics and details of how you’ll drive the engine — the marketing plan. Ultimately, we’ve found that an effective marketing plan for a consulting firm needs to cover three macro aspects of the firm’s client acquisition efforts:

Another useful resources related to marketing planning:


While tools like thought leadership and websites have evolved over the past several years, the fundamental principles for growth-focused marketing for professional services firms remain the same. Know who you want to attract, what problems you can help them solve, and why you can solve them better than your competitors. Then have a solid plan for telling that story and promoting your POV. While this blog is far from a “how to market a consulting firm” list, I do hope it serves as a useful resource to put you on the right path as you embark on your new endeavor. If you’d like some help, give us a call . We can dive deeper into any or all of these fundamentals to make sure your marketing is working as effectively as it can.

Should Marketing Automation Be On Your Consulting Firm’s 2014 Marketing Agenda?

3 website best practices of the leading thought leadership marketers, the structure of a modern a/e firm marketing department.

Jason Mlicki

Jason Mlicki is Principal of Rattleback. He helps clients envision their desired future state and aligns our agency resources to enable them to realize it.

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Marketing Consulting Services

Digital marketing best practices are constantly evolving, and can’t-miss strategies can quickly lose their impact. The most successful brands understand that digital marketing is a 24/7/365 effort. If you’re not keeping up with the latest best practices, the competition is passing you by.

Whether you need to build an entire marketing strategy from scratch or refine your approach,  Brafton’s marketing consulting services can help update your marketing efforts for the best results possible.

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When Do You Need Marketing Consulting Services?

Some companies can manage their marketing needs on their own. But those businesses have enormous, dedicated marketing departments with team members who specialize in every conceivable concentration.

Few organizations have the resources, expertise and time needed to keep up with marketing trends and optimize their strategies accordingly. Even large corporations struggle with the break-neck speed of digital marketing, and may need the assistance of a consulting firm.

Businesses that stand to benefit from marketing consulting services typically meet any of the following criteria:

Why Work With a Consultant?

Working with a marketing consultant gives you direct access to a team of experts who live and breathe digital marketing all day, every day. Brafton consultants understand how every part of your marketing strategy impacts performance. They can tweak and finetune your marketing efforts to get better results.

Our marketing consultants are well-versed in the many factors that determine digital marketing success, including:

Think of us as an extension of your organization and your marketing team. We’re here to fill knowledge gaps, lend our specialized expertise to your marketing efforts and produce better results for your campaigns.


We’re here to fill knowledge gaps, lend our specialized expertise to your marketing efforts and produce better results for your campaigns. _____________

What to Expect From Brafton’s Marketing Consulting Services

Our marketing consulting services are full-service, end-to-end solutions. We can vastly improve any aspect of your marketing efforts you’re struggling to execute.

Marketing Strategy Development

Your marketing strategy needs to be laser-focused to reach potential clients, bring in qualified leads and score valuable conversions. Brafton marketing consultants can craft a successful marketing program, campaign or strategy built around the specifics of your industry, your business and your customer base.

We also take into account the latest changes and updates to the digital marketing landscape. Industry best practices become outdated very quickly, but we always have our ears to the ground to catch the most recent developments. You can rest easy knowing your marketing strategy incorporates the most up-to-date engagement trends, search engine algorithm changes and marketing best practices.

Brafton consultants understand how sales and marketing efforts support one another. They devise marketing strategies that generate qualified leads while leveraging sales data to inspire your next successful marketing campaign.

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Search Engine Marketing Consulting

Search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) are fundamental components to today’s marketing strategies. If you’re not making the most of SEO and SEM opportunities, your brand’s digital presence will suffer.

Every aspect of your marketing efforts needs to take SEO into account, from website design to content creation. Brafton marketing consultants approach SEO and SEM demands from every angle:

SEO is at the core of everything we do. We ensure your website is primed to rank higher in targeted search results, drive high-intent traffic to your site and raise your brand’s digital profile.

Persona Development Services

Know your audience – that’s the secret to successful marketing. Our consultants will develop customer personas to guide your marketing efforts, from outreach strategies to content creation. Our diligent, time-tested process uses considerable research to define your key customer demographics and sketch out your buyer and influencer personas.

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Social Media Consulting Services

Social media networks are great places to interact with potential and returning customers and start establishing a digital presence for your brand. Brafton’s social media consulting services are tailored to each of our clients, accounting for your industry, your brand and your audience. We steadily build your social media presence, increasing your followers, working with industry influencers and guiding users to your other channels.

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Website Design and Audit Services

Your brand website is the centerpiece of your digital marketing strategy, but it needs to be fully optimized to produce the best results. Our website audit services run a comprehensive analysis of your site’s performance, scrutinizing factors that impact search ranking, domain authority and user experience.

With those insights, we can guide website redesign efforts to increase your brand’s online visibility, rank higher for search queries and support the customer journey from one end to the other.

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Email Marketing and Automation

Email remains one of the most important channels for digital marketers, supporting lead generation, prospect nurturing and brand awareness objectives. Brafton offers a host of email marketing services to support your marketing strategies, generate conversions and produce tangible results for your business.

Our email automation capabilities simplify and accelerate your email marketing efforts, reaching more potential customers with far less effort.

Marketing Automation

Brafton marketing automation services also extend to other facets of a marketing campaign including content marketing, social engagement and brand promotion. We take the headaches out of managing your day-to-day marketing needs.

Content Marketing

In many ways, content marketing is digital marketing. Virtually every aspect of a marketing plan is driven by content: landing page copy, marketing materials, social media posts, lead nurture emails, etc.

Our consultants develop content marketing strategies that are tailored to your marketing, commercial and business goals. Whether you need heavily researched content to establish thought leadership, promotional material to showcase new products or help to maintain a strong social presence across different channels, we can help.

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Retargeting Services

A good retargeting strategy can keep your brand top of mind for potential customers even when they’re not visiting your site. Retargeted ads remind past visitors to come back and peruse your offerings or catch up on your latest content. Paired with third-party data and web analytics, retargeting strategies can even help brands reach out to customers who have never visited their site.

Cutting-Edge Strategies and Crystal-Clear ROI

Brafton marketing consultants can package the right retargeting strategy that builds brand awareness and drives more valuable traffic to your site.

The digital marketing landscape can change in a flash, and not all businesses have the in-house resources or expertise to keep up with new developments. Whether you’re a small business or large enterprise, Brafton’s marketing consulting services can help you stay ahead of the competition with cutting-edge strategies that generate crystal-clear ROI.

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Contact our consulting team today to find out more.

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Marketing Strategy Consultant Services to Build Your Business

Casey Slaughter Stanton

Casey Slaughter Stanton

Founder and CEO CMOx, The Fractional CMO Company

Our marketing strategy consultants can help you develop and implement a comprehensive marketing plan for your business.

Your strategy is the precursor for great marketing results. We help set up your team and systems for success.

We help you realize your marketing goals by setting up your departments correctly.

Confidence in your strategy and systems means you can repeat and scale winning efforts.

What is Marketing Strategy Consulting?

Marketing is crucial in order for an organization or a business to reach its short and long-term growth objectives. A successful marketing strategy includes:

From here, a chief marketing officer or marketing strategy consultant can put together a “right fit” marketing strategy. This marketing strategy becomes the foundation of the marketing campaigns the marketing department will execute.

Often, an organization will bring in a marketing strategy consultant to define this strategic  marketing plan . The marketing consultant will then support in the execution of the marketing strategy.

Without execution, a marketing strategy and the fees of the marketing strategy consultant are wasted!

Before you hire a marketing strategy consultant, be sure to know exactly what the consultant can do: (strategy, leadership, big-picture).

Know what additional resources are required to execute on the strategy (SEO experts, a new website, graphic designers for branding, PPC experts, etc).

There are some specific  differences between a strategic marketing consultant and a fractional CMO  that are worth noting.

Marketing strategy consulting may be beneficial to your organization if you lack an overarching, holistic marketing strategy. That said, it’s important to consider hiring a marketing strategy consultant who has experience in your niche or industry.

For example, if your company has a SaaS product, you want a marketing strategy consultant who has a proven track record for selling SaaS products and growing SaaS businesses with marketing.

Bringing in a marketing strategy consultant on a short-term basis can help create an effective marketing strategy for the business and guide how to deploy that strategy with the team members, new hires, and outsourced vendors and labor, including agencies.

Marketing strategy consulting can help you and your company achieve more with your current resources. You can obtain the right game plan for your unique business without wasting time.

Functional Marketing Systems Map - Fractional CMO and Marketing

Why hire a Marketing Strategy Consultant vs a Marketing Agency?

After I spent nearly a decade of experience inside of a marketing agency, asking the question “why should a company hire a marketing strategy consultant versus a marketing agency” is a smart question.

Typically, marketing agencies provide some level of strategy, so that they can sell more of their hourly, or monthly services to a client. In this way, the consultant only knows how to solve problems that include the resources at the agency.

Said another way, a marketing agency often looks at problems that they have experience solving with their team and only focus on those problems, which may mean missing out on other more critical errors. Take for example a PPC-focused marketing agency: They want to create billable hours for PPC, since that’s where their strengths are. If your key product doesn’t have a solid product-market fit, the PPC company will overlook this (huge) issue and focus on driving PPC traffic. You need a holistic approach to your  marketing strategy .

By hiring a standalone or outside marketing strategy consultant, your company can benefit from getting the right marketing strategy for them. Regardless of the relationships that the consultant has with individuals or agencies to get the work done.

It is better to know the right strategy and to find the right team to deploy the strategy than it is to have a strategy forced onto a marketing team.

Make sure you read the  5 things to know when hiring a marketing consultant .

Hiring a marketing agency can potentially make your intellectual property (specifically how you attract and convert new customers) available to the marketing agency’s other clients. If you are working with a marketing agency, I encourage you to have them sign a work for hire and non-compete agreements so that they don’t disclose the information that they learned from your business.

A simple rule of thumb for hiring a marketing agency:

If there is a short-term problem and you want a fast solution, hire a marketing agency with exact experience in solving your specific problem. If you have a long-term problem, consider the costs of bringing on a part-time team member to take over this work and have them document their process inside the company’s standard operating procedures.

Schedule a Call

Ready to discuss your marketing strategy?  Schedule your no-cost Discovery call with our team so we can see how we can help you.

Why is strategy so important in Marketing?

It is better to have a great strategy and good execution than great execution with a bad strategy.

Your marketing strategy is the direction that your business is heading and how it gets there. The individual campaigns that get run may change, but the strategy is who the ideal customer is, how to acquire them, the acceptable cost for a new customer acquisition, where your ideal prospects are, and the ways your product/service/brand solve problems these prospects have.

When developing a strategy, it is important to make sure that new ideas and initiatives are carefully added into the plan in a thoughtful way.

Get Focused: Top 5 Marketing Initiative Examples for 2021 All of those elements are critical in building your marketing strategy. Without a clear marketing strategy, you may find your team stays busy with marketing campaigns that don’t work together.

A great marketing strategy is one that builds momentum on top of different campaigns.

For example, you could run a Google search campaign on the Google Ads platform that drives people to your website.

From there you can use Facebook to remarket them, and even use a pixel with LinkedIn to send an email to those website visitors.

Those three separate campaigns can work in symphony to drive qualified prospects to your website, and then follow up with them to become a lead. This is especially true in B2B, but also in B2C.

In the B2C space, prospects may learn first about your business through a content article or a blog or a YouTube video or someone reviews your product or service.

Then, other marketing campaigns need to be used to keep the attention and keep the conversation alive in the mind of the prospect.

Having a marketing strategy allows you to have a deeper, more thorough marketing funnel that is multi-channel in order to drive your qualified prospects to your business so that they can transact and become repeat customers.

It’s easy for marketers to “check all the boxes” with marketing campaigns. They can stay busy and do everything that is possibly needed.

But this comes at a huge risk:

By not having a clear, actionable and measurable marketing strategy, marketing effort becomes the measure of success, instead of repeatable, scalable results.

What outcomes can I expect from hiring a Marketing Strategy Consultant?

When hiring a marketing strategy consultant, you should first make sure that that consultant delivers some kind of clear marketing strategy in a certain amount of time. In our experience, we find that 30 days at a minimum is needed to draft a true marketing strategy for the business. Any less time will produce a weaker understanding and prescription for the business.

The strategy must be based on what assets the business currently has, the growth trajectory for the business (which may include acquisitions, going public, or even being acquired), the capabilities and capacity of team members as well as what marketing campaigns are working today.

As a business, you must get a strategy plan from your marketing strategy consultant. At CMOx, we call our comprehensive marketing strategy a Functional Marketing® Systems Map.

This document covers explicitly what is working right now for your business, and where there’s room for improvement.

It includes:

A marketing strategy consultant may be just a consultant or they may also be able to get you in touch with individuals who can do the labor, such as independent contractors or W2 employees.

A great marketing strategy that is not deployed isn’t worth very much. So make sure when you hire a marketing strategy consultant that you also have a consultant that also has relationships with possible vendors or has the ability to hire vendors to get the work done.

If you are interested in bringing in a marketing strategy consultant to your business, contact us at CMOx today to arrange your strategy call.


CMOx is a Fractional CMO company and consulting firm that provides marketing strategy services to businesses doing $2-20M per year.

Casey S. Stanton is a marketing strategy expert and founder of CMOx, the Fractional CMO company. For over 10 years Casey has been leading marketing strategy for 7 and 8 figure businesses in both digital and brick-and-mortar markets.

If you’re not reviewing these 7 KPIs monthly, you don’t know the health of your business.

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A modern business needs skilled and creative professionals to fill its marketing department. But at times, the internal team requires additional supervision and outside perspective on their efforts. That’s where a marketing consultant comes into the picture.

With social, economic, and political ambiguity in almost every industry, marketing consultants are high in demand. Using their expertise, these outside professionals help businesses scale with growth strategies and actionable marketing plans.

If you’re an aspiring consultant or a business owner curious about the idea of hiring a consultant over a full-time marketer, keep reading. In this article, I’ll share the typical roles and responsibilities of a marketing consultant.

Let’s get started.

Who is a Marketing Consultant?

A marketing consultant is an external professional who plans out, owns, and executes the marketing efforts of businesses, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies. They help their clients set up frameworks for boosting brand awareness, generating more leads, improving conversion rates, and other strategic marketing reasons.

Unlike a full-time, in-house employee, a consultant also acts like a partner – advising the management about best-practices, while also doing the hard work.

Most professionals end up creating their own marketing consulting firms and hire additional profiles to offer consultancy on fixed rates.

A consultant is different from a traditional advertising/marketing agency. The latter can only help come up with creative ways to execute your strategy and deliver your marketing messages. A consultant, on the other hand, can do everything – from conducting market research to executing the marketing campaigns.

How a Marketing Consultant Can Help

If you’re a business owner or a marketing manager, here are some of the benefits of hiring an experienced marketing consultant for your company’s growth:

All things considered, strong marketing consulting can impact your business bottom line.

In a world where businesses need all the help they can get in standing out from the competition, capturing market segments, and communicating their messages, marketing consultants play a critical role.

Typical Roles and Responsibilities of a Marketing Consultant

At the end of the day, a marketing consultant is a highly experienced marketer who offers their services on a one-off basis.

They are perfect for organizations that require assistance with their marketing initiatives, and don’t want to hire a full-time employee for that purpose.

Furthermore, a marketing consultant’s job description depends on the type of services they offer. A consultant might only specialize in creating strategies, but not necessarily have the resources to fully execute said strategies.

But a typical consultant who is a complete package would be tasked with the following (keep in mind that a business/client won’t necessarily have their consultant do all of the following):

1.      Understand Company Objectives and Conduct Market Research

Before anything else, a marketing consultant is expected to do their homework and really dig deep to understand their client’s business.

Diving headfirst into a marketing initiative without first understanding the business, its industry, and its strategic requirements, is a classic recipe for disaster.

To that end, the marketing consultant works closely with the main stakeholders – the CEO, CMO, the president, etc. – to understand the business goals.

Afterwards, the consultant conducts extensive market research to understand the target audience, identify growth opportunities, and validate the need of the products/services. However, if the consultant has ample experience serving similar clients from the same sector, they may not necessarily conduct market research from scratch.

2.      Create and Implement Marketing Strategies

This is the core responsibility of any marketing consultant.

A consultant is like a jack of all trades. They have ample experience with both conventional and digital marketing.

After understanding the business, requirements, and the target audience, they work closely with their clients to devise a marketing strategy.

The main strategy would include:

To execute the overall marketing strategy, the consultant comes up with additional strategies. These include, but aren’t limited to:

After devising all of the required marketing-related strategies, the consultant also implements them by sharing them with the relevant stakeholders and coming up with plans.

3.      Develop Marketing Material

A marketing consultant is also responsible for developing (or at the very least, supervising) marketing material.

For a marketer, this mainly involves copywriting. However, a skilled professional may also be directly involved with graphic designing and video production processes.

The deliverables may include:

Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A client business may ask its consultant to develop additional material.

4.      Coordinate Activities Related to Marketing

A marketing consultant may be a jack of all trades, but it’s impossible for one person to execute all of the marketing campaigns on their own.

For that reason, the consultant turns towards the in-house or external teams of creatives, PR professionals, and analysts.

The consultant creates a clear schedule for the initiatives and coordinates with the concerned teams to ensure all marketing activities are carried out on time.

This entails having strong communication, leadership, teamwork, and time management skills, in addition to proficiency in using various team collaboration tools like Asana, Slack, and Monday.

5.      Communicate the Brand Message Across the Organization

An organization can’t fully succeed with its business marketing until and unless all of its employees – or at least, all of the concerned departments, especially sales and marketing – understand the core business, its values, and the market it wants to capture.

That’s where internal marketing comes into the picture. The company’s culture plays a vital role in marketing to internal stakeholders. While the consultant may not have much jurisdiction in that area, they still help devise and execute an internal marketing strategy.

The consultant ensures that the brand message is clearly communicated across the entire organization. Doing so not only helps in keeping the employees engaged, but also enables them in becoming true advocates for the business.

6.      Analyze Marketing Performance and Report to Stakeholders/Clients

In addition to conducting research, creating strategies, and executing plans, a marketing consultant also analyzes the performance of their efforts and shares them with their clients.

This job, while rewarding, comes with a great deal of accountability.

A consultant has to own their work and prove the significance of their services. In addition, they have to justify their fee.

For that purpose, they use various key performance indicators that are highlighted in the main marketing strategy. These could include:

The consultant creates detailed monthly, quarterly, or annual reports (this completely depends on the specific requirements of the client business), and shares those numbers with the CEO, CMO, president, and/or the strategists.

7.      Come Up with New Marketing Initiatives and Improve Existing Efforts

The difference between a mediocre marketing consultant and a great one is that the latter goes one step further to figure out ways to consistently help the business in terms of marketing.

This involves conducting additional research to discover new markets, figure out ways to improve existing strategy, and recommending MarTech that could help with marketing automation.

How to Become a Marketing Consultant?

An entry-level marketer isn’t qualified to call themselves a marketing consultant.

You need a certain level of experience, expertise, and skillsets to qualify – things that take some years to add up.

That being said, here are some of the boxes that a marketing consultant should tick:

For marketers who envision themselves offering their services as independent consultants, it’s only a matter of spending ample time in the workforce, gathering experience, and expanding your skillsets.

How Much Do Marketing Consultants Make? (What to Pay or Demand)

Seeking the services of a marketing consultant is usually cheaper than hiring a full-time in-house marketer.

However, that doesn’t mean that their services come cheap.

According to one source , marketing consultants charge anywhere from $40 to $300 per hour, depending on their experience and what’s required of them.

Furthermore, the rates may also vary from sector to sector. For instance, marketers who specialize in SaaS may charge higher than those who cater to the education sector.

If you’re new to the consulting business, look up average pay rates for your industry. Similarly, business owners should do their homework for smooth negotiations.

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How to Start a Consulting Business

Everyone has an untapped reservoir of knowledge. Put yours to work for you as an independent consultant.

By Entrepreneur Press • Jun 13, 2003

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Are you an expert in your field? Are you tired of working for someone else? If you answered yes to both, then starting your own consulting business may be your next venture. Consultants are in high demand, especially in today's economy, and you can become a consultant in almost anything.

Before diving headfirst into business ownership, you should learn what to expect. This article will discuss the basics of starting a successful consulting business — from what services to offer, to creating a marketing strategy, to the kind of paperwork you'll probably need to file.

How Much Does It Cost To Start a Consulting Business?

If you're thinking of starting a consulting business, you're probably wondering how much it will cost to get started. The good news is that the startup costs for a consulting business are relatively low. The business model is low-cost, but there are still a few essential expenses to budget for, including marketing, office space, and networking events.

Marketing costs can vary depending on the type of marketing you pursue. A simple website and some online advertising can quickly add up, and while business cards may seem outdated, don't neglect the power of word-of-mouth referrals.

If you plan on meeting with clients in person, you must also factor in the cost of office space.

You could also meet with clients in your home office, a coffee shop, or a public place. Still, renting an office or coworking space can give your business a more professional appearance and help you build credibility with potential clients.

Can You Make Good Money as a Consultant?

Consulting work can be profitable, but it depends on a few factors.

First, you must determine what kind of consultant you want to be. Some general consultants help clients with a wide range of knowledge, and there are experts in specific areas like accounting, marketing, or human resources consulting.

After you've honed in on your specialty, research what services and hourly rates you should offer. There are a few things to keep in mind when setting your prices. Consulting is often seen as an investment, so clients may be more likely to pay more for a good consultant — someone they believe can help them achieve their goals because of the experience that consultant has.

What Types of Consultants Are There?

When most people think of consultants, they think of business consultants. However, there are many other types of consultants, including (but not limited to) financial, IT, HR, and marketing consultants, the most common of which are detailed below.

Business Consultants

Business consultants provide businesses with advice and guidance on various topics, such as marketing, finance, and operations.

These consultants can be beneficial in times of change or growth when businesses need to make critical decisions but may not have the expertise.

Many business consultants are self-employed, working as independent consultants; however, large consulting firms also offer a wide range of services.

These firms often have teams of specialists who can help clients with any issue they may face (e.g., business processes, public relations, and value propositions).

Financial Consultants

Financial consultants help people with their money. They know a lot about money management, i.e. how to save it and how to make it grow.

If this niche appeals to you, ensure you are financially literate — you'll need a deep understanding of bank accounts, stocks, loans, interest rates, or other areas, depending on your specific expertise.

To be an excellent financial consultant, you must be patient and helpful, and you also need to know a lot about business math to help people figure out how much money they're making and how much they need to save.

Moreover, the best financial consultants understand how to advise people from various economic backgrounds. It's essential to have a knack for helping people make intelligent financial decisions no matter how much money they're working with.

IT Consultants

IT consultants help businesses with their technology needs. They can help companies choose the right type of technology, set up and manage networks, and provide training on how to use new systems.

Being a successful IT consultant requires you to have a lot of technical knowledge and be able to explain complex concepts in a way that people without a technical background can understand.

It's also critical to stay updated on the latest changes in the tech industry so you can advise your clients on the best options for their business.

HR Consultants

If you're looking for a career that's constantly evolving and challenging, becoming an HR consultant may be the perfect fit for you. HR consultants work with businesses to help them develop and implement human resources policies and procedures.

Related: Human Resources - Entrepreneur Small Business Encyclopedia

They also advise and support managers and employees on HR-related issues, such as hiring, firing, pay, benefits, and training.

Here are a few things you can do to boost your chances of success as an HR consultant:

Marketing Consultants

A marketing consultant helps businesses and individuals grow and reach their target markets.

To be successful as a marketing consultant, you must have in-depth knowledge of marketing principles and strategies and experience implementing these strategies for businesses.

Marketing consultants help businesses:

Related: How to Create a Marketing Plan

You'll also need expertise in digital marketing tactics like social media marketing, content creation, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing.

You should also plan to help your clients with their branding efforts, create marketing materials (e.g., websites, brochures, and email newsletters), and even provide training for employees on best practices for marketing their business.

The ultimate goal of a marketing consultant is to help businesses succeed by increasing sales, building brand awareness, and attracting new customers. If you can do that, you'll become indispensable to your clients.

Other Types of Consultants

There are plenty of other consultants succeeding worldwide in this day and age. If none of the jobs above feel like a good match, consider these:

No matter which type of consultant you choose to become, there is immense potential for professional growth and success. With the right skills, dedication, and knowledge, you can make a name for yourself in your field.

What’s the Difference Between a Consulting Company vs. Consulting Firm?

A consulting company is a business that provides professional services to clients. This can include anything from marketing and accounting advice to HR and legal services.

A consulting firm, on the other hand, is a business that specializes in providing consulting services. It typically has a team of experts in various fields who offer their services to clients.

There are several key differences between a consulting company and a consulting firm. The most prominent is that a consulting company offers a broad range of professional services, while a consulting firm specializes in one or two areas.

Consulting firms usually have more resources than consulting companies (e.g., staff, offices, and equipment) and are typically better equipped to handle large projects.

Another key difference is that a consulting company is usually owned and operated by one or two individuals, while many consulting firms are partnerships or corporations. In other words, consulting firms are often larger than consulting companies.

What Are the First Steps To Starting a Consulting Business?

So, you're leaning closer toward becoming a business owner. But where do you start? Starting any small business can be complex and demanding, but you can save yourself ample time, stress, and money by knowing what to expect and preparing accordingly.

Here are some essential steps to starting a successful new business:

Create a Business Plan and Track Your Progress

A business plan is a written document that outlines your business goals and strategies and the resources needed to achieve them. It should also include your marketing and financial plans.

A business plan can help you stay organized, track your progress, and identify any missing pieces that need to be addressed.

Research the Market and Identify Your Target Clients

Before you launch your consulting business, you should understand the industry and identify your target audience. Doing market research can help you understand the behaviors and pain points of the new clients you should target, your potential competitors, and what sets your business apart.

Related: Target Market - Entrepreneur Small Business Encyclopedia

Develop Your Brand

Your brand represents your business, so creating a robust and recognizable identity is crucial. Start by developing a company name, logo, website, and other visuals that help to reinforce your brand.

Additionally, be sure to use consistent messaging so that potential clients clearly understand who you are and what services you offer.

Related: Branding Basics – How To Build a Stellar Brand from Scratch

Build a Strong Network of Potential Clients and Partners

Networking is critical to any successful business and especially important in the consulting industry.

Cultivate relationships with potential clients, partners, and influencers in your industry to generate more leads, grow your client base, and build a successful consulting business.

Related: 7 Tips for Networking

Secure the Necessary Financing

Before you can launch your business, you'll need to secure the necessary financing. Consider options such as crowdfunding, bank loans, or investors. Remember to outline your financial needs in your business plan to help streamline the process.

Market Your Business Effectively

Once you've completed the necessary steps to get your consulting practice up and running, it's time to start marketing.

Develop and execute a comprehensive marketing plan that includes traditional and digital strategies, such as email campaigns, social media promotion, SEO practices, and content marketing.

Do I Need a Consulting License?

The answer is usually yes if you're a business consultant or plan to become one. Depending on the state where you operate and the type of services you offer, you may need a consulting license for legal reasons.

Professional certification may also be necessary if you provide certain services.

For example, financial advisors typically require a Certification in Financial Planning (CFP) from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. or an Investment Adviser Representative designation from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Other services, such as accounting or tax preparation, might require professional licensing from the relevant state board.

Before starting a consulting business, it's essential to research and understand any applicable licensure requirements in your state. Failure to obtain the necessary license or certification could result in fines and other legal penalties.

Other Considerations

It's also important to note that state and federal employment laws may apply if you hire employees for your consulting business.

You'll want to register your business with the relevant state or federal agencies and obtain applicable permits or licenses, such as an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.

Further, obtaining the appropriate business insurance coverage is critical to protect your consulting business from potential liabilities and risks.

Comprehensive business insurance policies can provide liability coverage for claims arising from your professional activities, property damage, and other losses.

Lastly, as with any type of business, choosing the appropriate legal structure can also help protect you from liability. Depending on the services you plan to offer, there are a few business entities to consider for your consulting business.

The most common business structures are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. Each has unique benefits and drawbacks, so you should research and understand which is best for your needs.

The Bottom Line

Starting a consulting business might be the answer if you're looking for a way to make more money, set your hours, and be your own boss. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money; you may be able to start a lot sooner than you think, given you collect the right tools and resources.

Take time to consider the type of consultant you want to be and the services you can offer. And remember to fully commit to your consulting business if you're going to lay a foundation for long-term success.

Looking for more guidance? Head to Entrepreneur for more advice on starting your own business

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31 Best Marketing Consulting Firms in 2023

To execute the right marketing strategies and tactics for your business is no easy task! Perhaps you have a great internal team of marketers who can implement what is asked of them, but they don’t quite have the experience to create annual, quarterly, or even monthly marketing strategies for the future of your business. And it’s not necessarily their fault. To create whole strategies for a company takes years of experience in marketing. So you might be thinking, maybe I should just hire experienced marketers. Unfortunately, hiring an experienced group for your internal team can prove to be quite expensive. So what is your other option? You can partner with elite marketing consulting firms! These firms have expert marketers who’ve been through the trenches. They know exactly what it will take to help your company achieve success in both the short and long term. Using their guidance and marketing techniques, you’ll be well on your way to making great strides in your business in no time.

Here is a list of the best 31 marketing consulting firms in 2023:

NoGood Agency

Description: They are NoGood for your competition! NoGood has an elite group of growth marketers, martech engineers, data scientists, and creatives who’ve worked across many industries including software, retail, healthcare, fintech, pharma, and marketplace. Their combination of marketing experience, skills, and overall execution puts them ahead of many other marketing consulting firms in the region. They advise and support some of the world’s most successful brands including Nike, P&G, Microsoft, and TikTok. You are reading this list on a NoGood owned site so we are a bit biased, obviously, but why wait for others to tell our story!

Year Founded: 2017

Located: New York City, Los Angeles – US

Team Size: 30-40 employees

Services: Growth Marketing, Performance Marketing, Idea Validation, Product Launch, Inbound Marketing

Clients: Fratelli Carli, Ghostery, P&G

Case Study:  https://nogood.io/results/  

2.IKON Marketing Consultants


Description: This firm is one of the leading marketing consulting firms in India and for good reason. IKON provides expert marketing solutions across automotive, healthcare, retail, and a number of other industries. IKON  identifies the best market opportunities, developing strong strategies, and can even support implementation.

Year Founded: 2001

Located: Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Team Size: 10-20 employees

Services: Marketing Assessment, Branding, Strategy, Digital Marketing

Clients: Coca-Cola, Hildon, TringMe

Case Study: https://www.ikonmarket.com/case-studies.html



Description: Equibrand Consulting works in small teams to execute for companies and brands. Their consulting processes are implemented and streamlined to create the best solutions for their clients. The firm works in several different ways and the majority of it is project-based, which allows them flexibility.

Year Founded: 1999

Located: Moraga, California

Team Size: 1-10 employees

Services: Marketing Strategy, Digital Marketing, Brand Strategy

Clients: Acura, Abbott, Dixie

Case Study: http://equibrandconsulting.com/portfolio-items/consumer-products?portfolioCats=244%2C245%2C238%2C239


Description: Seedx helps build marketing strategies from scratch or refine your approach and guide you along the way. The firm has worked with many different companies both big and small and has helped their marketing efforts including organizing, budgeting, and strategic planning.

Year Founded: 2015

Located: Los Angeles, California

Services: SEO, Web Design, Social Media, Content Creation

Clients: Millennium Alliance, Power Provisions, Muses on Demand

Case Study: https://seedx.us/projects/ithaca-milk/

5.Berma & Co


Description: Berma & Co is a group of expert growth marketers who have experience validating and scaling 7 figure + brands. For the last three years, they’ve combined their expertise to help deliver exceptional services to fast-growing startups and fortune 500 companies. Their ability to focus on proving early traction, produce clear results, and generate marketing ROI, separates them from other consulting firms.

Year Founded:  2017

Located:  New York New York

Services:  Product Validation, SEO, Content Marketing

Clients: Microsoft, Amazon, Nike

Case Study: –

6.Bain & Company


Description: Bain & Company is one of the biggest firms in the world. They have over 13,000 employees and offices across 37 countries. The firm is perhaps too large for early-stage companies and businesses, but they do provide consulting services in a number of industries and their ecosystem of digital innovators deliver faster and tailored outcomes.

Year Founded: 1973

Located: Boston, Massachusetts

Team Size: 14,000+ employees

Services: Marketing Strategy, Business Strategy, Enterprise Technology

Clients: –

Case Stud y: –


Description: This firm has a talented group of strategists, developers, and designers that consult across many verticals and try to understand the client’s vision and needs. Their integrated approach helps them identify opportunities to reach the right customers and increase engagement.

Year Founded: 2004

Located: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Team Size: 20-30 employees

Services: digital marketing, marketing strategy, web design

Clients: M LS Players Association, Comcast, Penn Law

Case Study: https://brolik.com/casestudy/56/the-original-brand-in-pediatric-crowns-gets-an-update

8.McKinsey Digital


Description: McKinsey Digital started as the IT service branch for the well-known McKinsey & Company Corporation. However, it quickly transformed into a digital lab that provides consulting in many different digital services including software, analytics, and design, to name a few.   The consulting firm has professionals that cross over 65 countries and clients in a variety of sectors including private, public, and social.

Year Founded:  2013

Located:  New York, New York

Team Size: 10,000+ employees

Services: Digital Strategy, IT Operations, Enterprise Technology



Description: SmartSites is a full-service consulting firm that has worked on over 700 projects. The diverse team of strategists and designers work closely with clients and pay attention to the smallest details to make sure projects meet a certain standard. 

Year Founded: 2011

Located: Paramus, New Jersey

Team Size: 60-70 employees

Services: Digital Marketing, PPC Marketing Consultancy, SEO Consultancy

Clients: AGA Truck Parts, Cut Sheet Labels, Harlem Grown

Cast Study: https://www.smartsites.com/case-studies/allied-glass-and-mirror-marketing/

10.Fair Marketing


Description: Fair Marketing works with enterprise businesses to help them increase online visibility and expand their customer base. The firm has strategists who advise and manage client campaigns throughout the partnership. 

Year Founded: 2005

Located: Spring, Texas

Services: Content Marketing, Social Media Management, Email Marketing

Clients: SafeLink Wireless, PB Talent, Mercedes-Benz

Case Study: https://www.fairmarketing.com/case-studies/pb-talent-case-study/


Description: Their dynamic team of talent extends in all areas of internet marketing. Legnd wants to give their clients exceptional results by providing targeted marketing strategies that are proven. Legnd believes their team’s ability to execute is what differentiates them.

Located: Houston, Texas

Services: SEO PPC Management, Marketing & Strategy

Clients: Team Roofing, Bayou Cajun, The Salad Station

Case Study: https://legnd.com/case-studies/new-orleans-school-of-cooking

12.V Digital Services


Description: This internet marketing consulting firm helps design strong marketing strategies for businesses of all sizes. Providing the right value with the best ROI is not easy for companies, but  V Digital Services works hard to execute this for all its clients.

Year Founded: 2013

Located: Phoenix, Arizona

Team Size: 70-80 employees

Services: SEO Strategy, Marketing Strategy

Case Study: https://www.vdigitalservices.com/client-success/

13.L7 Creative


Description: L7 Creative partners with clients to drive growth. The firm puts together custom plans and the team consults businesses with collaborative workshops. They consult, execute, and deliver winning strategies.

Located: Carlsbad, California

Services: Branding Strategy, Digital Marketing

Clients: ISC Resources, True North, E3 Housing Solutions

Case Study: https://www.l7creative.com/work/phyto-pharma/

14.Spinx Digital


Description: Spinx Digital has an experienced team that understands the full scope of online marketing. They craft marketing strategies after evaluating markets and audiences that are specific to their clients. They have worked with some of the biggest brands in the world including Amazon, GE, NBC, and many more. 

Services: Online Positioning & Strategy, Brand Development, Web Design

Clients: APC Packaging, Lavi, Splat

Case Study: https://www.spinxdigital.com/hbb-law-webdesign-casestudy/

15.Napier Marketing Group


Description: Napier Marketing Group offers strategic consulting that will translate across every digital platform. They work across a variety of industries and the team brings an exceptional level of expertise to help you across all marketing phases.

Year Founded: 1998

Located: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Services: Branding, Marketing Strategy, Business Consulting

Clients: Planned Furniture Promotions, Ashley Homestore, Simmons

Case Study: https://www.napiermkt.com/ultracomfort-brand-refresh.html


Deloitte marketing consulting firms

Description: Deloitte Digital has been a staple in the consulting world for many years. The company has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world and excel in delivering services focused on three specific areas of transformation. This includes growth and marketing, marketing analytics and operations, and finally customer experience.

Located: New York, New York

Team Size:   300,000+ employees

Services: Strategy, Customer Experience, Branding

Clients: Metlife, Morgan Stanley, GM

Case Study:  –

17.Forward Digital Consultancy

forwarddigtal marketing consulting firms

Description: This marketing consulting firm works in a number of different services. They are all about executing on strategy. Whether it’s online, social media, or other forms of online advertising, Forward Digital Consultancy helps develop and create proven online marketing strategies. 

Year Founded: 2016

Located: Pakistan

Team Size:   1-10 employees

Services: Online Advertising, Social Media Marketing

Clients: Tuition Highway, Aryoop, EFU Life

Case Study: http://www.fwddigi.com/#portfolio

brafton marketing consulting firms

Description: Brafton’s marketing consulting services can help you achieve the best results. They understand marketing takes constant effort and keeping up with the latest practices will be key to helping companies succeed.

Team Size:   100-110 employees

Services: Marketing Strategy, Content Marketing

Clients: Career Profiles, Concentric, IDI Billing

Case Study: https://www.brafton.com/clients/case-studies/how-braftons-multiasset-content-strategy-delivered-5-years-of-results-for-jagged-peak/

19.CMG Partners

cmgpartners marketing consulting firms

Description: CMG Partners establish new ways to create a strong brand and customer relationships. They use marketing strategies to help your business grow and realize market potential. Their team of consultants are creative thinkers and committed to helping clients succeed.

Located: Durham, North Carolina

Team Size: 110-120 employees

Services: Marketing Strategy, Digital Strategy, Strategy Consulting

Clients: Anterix, Ulta Beauty, Philips Lighting

Case Study: –  

20.The Brandon Agency

brandonagency marketing consulting firms

Description: The Brandon Agency specializes in B2B, financial services, and many other industries. The firm is digital at its core and their unique skill set allows them to help clients grow. They are certified as brand strategists and focus on aligning business objectives with strong marketing strategies to deliver the best results. 

Year Founded: 1959

Located: Charleston, South Carolina

Team Size: 80-90 employees

Services: brand strategy, media, social media

Clients: Green Giant, Daytona Beach, FireDisc

Case Study: https://www.thebrandonagency.com/work/crescom/

21.Advanced Marketing Strategies

advancedmarketing marketing consulting firms

Description: This firm discovers opportunities and effective marketing strategies to help clients reach profitability and performance. Advanced Marketing Strategies doesn’t provide general solutions or templates but approach each client with personalized teams.

Year Founded: 1987

Located: San Diego, California

Services: Marketing Advertising, Strategic Planning

Clients: Henry’s Marketplace, Quechan Casino, Golden Gate Paper

Case Study: https://www.am-strategies.com/home/portfolio/

22.MediaSite Inc

mediasite marketing consulting firms

Description: This firm helps in all areas of marketing from planning to strategy and results. They specialize in brand development/content and want to help clients reach amazing results through comprehensive marketing plans and design.

Located: Huntington Beach, California

Services: Marketing Planning, Creative Strategy, Social Media

Clients: Grace Athletics, Christina Sun, AS Sneakers

Case Study: https://www.mediasiteinc.com/project-5

23.CBD Marketing

cbdmarketing marketing consulting firms

Description: CBD Marketing helps clients with complex marketing challenges. Their widespread capabilities in a number of different industries including B2B, B2C, are game-changing. The solutions they provide drive results and bring success for clients. 

Year Founded: 1988

Located: Chicago, Illinois 

Team Size: 50-60 employees

Services: marketing, branding strategy, social media marketing

Clients: Whirlpool, Firestone, Stout

Case Study: https://www.cbdmarketing.com/work/featured-stories/whirlpool-corporation

kae marketing consulting firms

Description: Kae has worked in the following industries; payment, lending, banking, fintech, and telco. The marketing strategies are primarily focused on three particular areas including acquisition, retention, and go-to-market. Their strategic approach starts with a clear understanding of customers, markets, and competitors. 

Year Founded : 1969

Located: London, England

Services: market research, acquisition, marketing strategy

25.Beck Media & Marketing

beck-media_logo marketing consulting firms

Description: A combination of strategic communication and marketing initiatives helps Beck Media drive business impact for clients. Their diverse team executes across a variety of channels including media relations, influencer marketing, marketing activations, and brand road-mapping. Using these channels, Beck Media creates the most effective blueprint for success.

Located: Santa Monica, California

Services: Influencer Marketing, PR

Clients: Hulu, Netflix, Twitter

26.Customer Magnetism

customer-magnetism_logo marketing consulting firms

Description: Customer Magnetism has strong values and principles that ensure satisfaction for all clients they work with. The agency started as an SEO-focused team, but quickly expanded its expertise to full-digital services. The team at Customer Magnetism is dedicated, hardworking, and experts at delivering quality results.

Year Founded: 2000

Located: Virginia Beach, Virginia 

Team Size: 10 – 20 employees

Services: Social Media, Paid Search, Organic Search

Clients: Canteen, Echo, Bric Language Systems


marketing strategy for consulting business

Description: Driven by their purpose of helping their clients become the next and best versions of themselves, Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud, and security. Caring deeply about what they do and the impact they have on their clients and audiences, the consulting firm creates 360 degree value by embracing change and making it work for their clients’ businesses. Ranked #1 in their industry on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies, Accenture is a leading firm that will take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Year Founded: 1989

Located: Dublin, Ireland (with offices all around the world)

Team Size: 10,001+ employees

Services: Management Consulting, Systems Integration and Technology, Business Process Outsourcing

Clients: Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft

Case Study: Sun Chemical

28.Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

marketing strategy for consulting business

Description: Solving the world’s biggest problems with instinct and imagination, Boston Consulting Group is a global management consulting firm that seeks to unlock the potential of leaders in business and society. A pioneer in and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy, the consulting firm depends on vast collaboration and a diverse community to reach success. Empowering organizations to grow, have competitive advantage, and drive impact, BCG helps their clients thrive and be salient within their industries.

Year Founded: 1963

Located: Boston, MA

Services: Marketing & Sales, Corporate Development, Consumer Insight

Clients: IBM, Meta, Google Cloud

Case Study: Pandora

29.Alvarez & Marsal (A&M)

marketing strategy for consulting business

Description: A leading global professional services firm, Alvarez & Marsal helps its clients when conventional approaches are not enough to achieve results and have an impact. With a community of over 6,000 people across 4 continents,  the consulting firm helps organizations catapult growth through decisive and purposeful action. Alvarez & Marsal is a firm like no other; it will push your company’s marketing efforts beyond insights and will stand by your side to get you through the challenges you face.

Year Founded: 1983

Located: New York, NY

Team Size: 5,001-10,000 employees

Services: Corporate Performance Improvement, Private Equity Services, Restructuring and Turnaround

Clients: N/A

Case Study: N/A

marketing strategy for consulting business

Description: With the goal of building trust in society and solving its most important problems, PWC is a multinational professional services network of firms that provides services across two segments ー trust and consulting solutions. Helping companies undergo their most pressing challenges, the consulting firm is composed of a community of solvers that combine tech, ingenuity, and experience into the same mix. PwC makes decisions with forethought, all with the goal of achieving your company’s goals.

Located: London, England (with officers all around the world)

Services: Strategy, Audit and Assurance, Consulting

Clients: Bank of America, American International Group, Chase

Case Study: Chipotle

marketing strategy for consulting business

Description: Helping create long-term value for clients and society, Ernst & Young (EY) is one of the largest multinational professional services networks in the world. Considered one of the Big Four accounting firms, it offers a diverse range of services from consulting to transaction services to help their clients tackle their challenges. With the purpose of building a better working world for all, EY will help you capitalize on new opportunities and deliver responsible growth. 

Located: London, England (with offices all around the world)

Services: Strategy by EY-Parthenon, Consulting, Tax 

Clients: Hewlett Packard, Verizon, Coca Cola

Case Study: Consignor

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