Marketing consultants often work for firms that provide consulting services to companies, government agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations. While few large consulting firms focus solely on marketing, Copernicus Marketing Consulting and Simon-Kucher & Partners are two examples of companies whose revenues are earned in large part from marketing consulting. Large management consulting firms such as A.T. Kearney, Bain & Company, and the Boston Consulting Group also have marketing consulting practices. Government agencies, corporations, and nonprofit organizations employ consultants. Many management consultants are self-employed.
Although competition for consulting jobs is fierce, there are a variety of ways to launch a career in the field. Joining marketing and consulting associations is a good way to network and to learn about job openings. Contact consulting firms directly to learn if they are hiring You can also network with hiring managers and recruiters at social-media sites such as LinkedIn or at networking events held by associations. Many large consulting firms recruit on campus, and your college’s career services office can provide you with information on recruiting events, advice on crafting a strong cover letter and resume, and tips on prepping for interviews.
New hires (known as associates, consultants, business analysts, fellows, and various other titles, depending on the consulting firm) at large management consulting firms begin as generalists before obtaining experience in marketing consulting. After several years they become marketing specialists at the firm, move on to work at a boutique marketing consulting firm, or work as internal consultants at a company, government agency, or nonprofit that needs marketing expertise.
Consultants who work as internal consultants at corporations and other businesses can advance to supervisory positions. Those with considerable experience can advance to executive-level positions such as chief marketing officer, vice president of marketing, or chief executive officer. Those who are employed by consulting firms can advance to take on managerial duties or eventually become partners (also known as principals)—consultants who have a financial stake in their firms. It’s not easy to become a partner. In fact, industry experts estimate that new graduates have only a 35 percent chance of making partner during their careers. Some consultants launch their own firms.
Visit the Society of Professional Consultants Web site (ttps://www.spconsultants.org) for advice on networking, interviewing, and other aspects of the job search, as well as to access career development webinars.
Conduct information interviews with consultants, and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field. Visit the IMC USA Web site, https://www.imcusa.org/search/custom.asp?id=2065, for a database of consultants (including those who specialize in marketing).
Become certified by the Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) and other associations in order to show employers that you’ve met the highest standards established by your industry.
Attend the American Marketing Association’s annual marketing conference and other industry events to network and to interview for jobs.