Hiring a Marketing Consulting Firm? Here is all you need to know.

March 21.2019 



Marketing is about providing value to a community. It helps bring better products and services to enrich people's lives. Consequently, great marketing builds demand. Business functions like accounting, production, and R&D are inconsequential without an adequate demand for products and services. Marketing consulting firms are instrumental in creating this demand through innovative strategies.


Let us consider these figures:


457.6 billion dollars. That's approximately how much the world was set to spend on marketing services in 2018. 


550,000 new businesses are launched each year in America alone. '


A info graphic describing the global expenditure on marketing


We can now state with conviction that there is a dire need for marketing expertise. 


This is where marketing consulting firms come into the picture.  


Through the course of this article, we will address a few questions that revolve around marketing consulting firms such as:


  • What is a marketing consulting firm?
  • Why do you need a marketing consulting firm?
  • What do they do?
  • How to choose the right firm?
  • Which are top marketing consulting firms? 


What is a marketing consulting firm?


A marketing consulting firm is a group of marketing professionals to whom companies and businesses outsource their marketing activities. They usually comprise of seasoned marketing executives who have had the experience of working in a variety of industries. These executives are supported by different teams within the firm such as advertising, design, research and, marketing technology. They give a comprehensive analysis of the market and help clients to improve their business. They also assist clients in selecting and efficiently utilizing the latest marketing tools.



Statistics such as revenue and growth rate of Marketing Consulting Firms



Why do you need a Marketing Consulting Firm?


Like Philip Kotler says, good marketing is no accident. It is a culmination of carefully formulated strategies and flawless execution. 

Listed below are reasons for appointing a marketing consulting firm:




Traditional businesses believe in building a marketing team from the ground up.
Yes, that works. 
Building an in-house team has its own fallacies and inefficiencies. 

A business will have to go through an expensive hiring process. Employing an experienced marketing professional at high salaries can put a huge dent in the moderate budget of a growing firm. That followed by exorbitant trial runs of different marketing strategies can burn through a fair amount of funds. 

Thus bringing in the right marketing consulting firm at the appropriate time can hugely contribute to cutting costs. They also needn't be kept on payroll indefinitely. They can be brought in to set up processes and frameworks that can be used by the in-house teams. 


Changing Landscape:


The market(ing) landscape has changed with the emergence of new technology, marketing behavior, and opportunities. 
With the influx of digital marketing, there is constant change across the best marketing practices. A marketing process in a company must leverage the latest methods and be on top of the current trends to be able to take the right decisions and carefully steer the ship.

Fresh Perspective:

In companies with established marketing teams, continuous exposure to the same type of work allows for a few cognitive biases to creep in. These biases can drive major decisions and can leave them wondering why there is a plateau in marketing performance. 

In such a scenario, looking for fresh perspectives by consulting marketing firms can provide a much-needed breakthrough!




Time is money. Marketing consulting firms don't need lengthy onboarding processes. They can be brought in to deal with specific time-sensitive issues. There is no wastage of resources and a lot of time for action. 


Conventional Workplace Barriers:

Organizations are made of people and people inherently don't always do what is best for the company. There is always underlying office politics and apprehension. This restricts employees from taking decisions which are in the best interests of the company. 
Marketing consulting firms entirely dodge this bullet. They can work around this without bringing in emotions and veiled self-interests in the way. 



Marketing needs accountability. Marketers need to justify their spending in terms of profitability.  Strategies must be followed through and implemented right till the end. But there always is the possibility of losing track along this long path. When that happens, all the previous work that was invested is rendered worthless. 
On the other hand, firms that you hire can be given clear objectives and goals. Following which they can be held accountable using regular checkpoints and monitoring. 



What do they do?


Marketing consulting firms can be brought in for many different reasons. There is a range of firms that differ according to the primary service they provide (for ex. Traditional marketing,. content marketing, SEO, lead generation). 

Enumerated below is a general list of services that a marketing consulting firm provides:



List of services provided by marketing consulting firms.



Planning and Strategy


Marketing strategies require a proper mix of discipline and flexibility along with an iterative improvement process. A marketing plan is a primary tool for managing and regulating a marketing effort. Formulating a plan requires detailed research and experience

Marketing consulting firms rely on their expertise and time tested strategies to lay down innovative and actionable marketing plans that help clients hit their targets. 




Marketing in the digital age is close to impossible without a set of essential tools. But narrowing down and selecting the right tools can be a nerve-racking process. Are you familiar with Martech 5000? It is a list of 6782 companies competing in the global marketing technology space. Imagine having to choose from this list?


A list of 5000 companies in the Marketing Technology Space


This list was populated over 2 years ago. The number of companies in this space, if anything, would only have increased. 

Marketing Consulting Firms understand this predicament and help clients choose the right Martech stack according to their needs.


Inbound Marketing


Inbound marketing is cheaper, more effective and has a higher conversion rate as compared to any other strategy. Setting up an effective inbound marketing framework is crucial. This would involve developing the right content strategy, implementing the best SEO practices, setting up a stable content syndication process and so on. A well-established marketing firm will have in-depth experience in setting up in various businesses. A business can leverage this experience and use these firms to set up a fool-proof inbound marketing process. 


Social Media


Out of 7.7 billion people on this planet, 4.2 billion are on social media. If that is not a convincing reason for every business, brand, and company to get their social media strategy right, I don't know what is. 

An important aspect of social media strategy is choosing the right channels according to the kind of business you are in. A marketing consultant will prove instrumental in formulating this strategy. 




Research suggests that B2B pricing performance improves when the decisions are spread horizontally across sales, marketing, and finance units.  In contrary to the beliefs of the economists, Marketers are aware that consumers interpret price information along with other factors such as previous interactions, advertisements, and online resources. Marketing consulting firms would have played important roles in pricing decisions in many companies across industries making them seasoned pricing experts.



How to choose the right marketing consulting firm?


Before choosing the right marketing firm, it is important to analyze the need for one. Listing down what you and your business wish to accomplish through a consulting firm will make choosing the right firm a fairly easy process. Additionally listing down the budget available, a time scale of the project will also aid the complete process. 

If you are targeting a specific process in your overall marketing cycle, it allows you to select a firm with an appropriate area of expertise. 

Here are the aspects of a firm that the business owner should look at before narrowing down on one.


Experience of the Firm


Choose firms that have previous experience in your industry. 


Problem Solving Capacity


Check testimonials of previous clients and see how the firm has taken on challenges and addressed them. 




Clarity in communication between the business and a marketing consulting firm is necessary. An open conversation between both parties ensures a constant loop of minor improvements and adjustments through the course of the project. 




This is a make or break factor. Getting the pricing right is crucial as an exorbitant fee can actually be counterproductive towards the final profit gained. 


Here’s a quick checklist for you to get started before you hire a marketing consulting firm.



Checklist for hiring Marketing Consulting Firms




Top Marketing Consulting Firms:


Compiled below are two rankings of Marketing Consulting Firms.

The first, by Agency Spotter, is a comprehensive list of 50 marketing firms sorted by size. This list is sorted by the yearly revenue of each firm. 


The Top 10 are:


1. Accenture Interactive

    A subsidiary of the marketing consulting firm Accenture, it is a New York-based firm that specializes in design, marketing, content, and commerce.

2. PwC Digital Services

    Under the ambit of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, this agency deals majorly with digital transformation, digital strategy, and digital operations.

3. IBM iX

    A hybrid digital agency and consultancy that serves its clients as global business design partners. 

4. Deloitte Digital

    A creative digital consultancy arm of Deloitte that deals with various verticals like logistics, cybersecurity, and strategy. 


5. Dentsu

    A Japanese Marketing and Advertising giant that works in marketing, advertising, media, and PR. 

6. Epsilon

    Epsilon position themselves as a global marketing innovator. They take pride in providing world-class data intelligence and customer insights.

7. Ogilvy

    The brainchild of David Ogilvy, Ogilvy is one of the largest ad agencies in the world. They are known for their work in branding and advertising. 


8. Bluefocus Communication Group

    Bluefocus, a Chinese conglomerate, manages an international portfolio of award-winning digital marketing, PR, communications and advertising agencies.



    An agency under the Omnicom umbrella, BBDO is a New York-based advertising and marketing powerhouse.

10. DDB

Another agency under the ambit of Omnicom, DDB handles marquee clients like Heineken, Ubisoft, and Volkswagen.


You can check out the rest of them here.



The next one is a list of top 7 Marketing Consulting Firms by Advisory HQ. The methodology used to populate this list includes analyzing various factors like experience, industry reputation, ability to adopt the latest technology and practices, and willingness to take risks.


1. Bain & Company

    Bain & Company, an international consulting firm that services client across boundaries, using actionable insights and helping teams engage to maximize their success.


2. CMG

    CMG is a reputable marketing consulting firm that works with early growth stage companies and that does not shy away from bold and innovative ideas and strategies. 


3. EquiBrand Consulting

    With over a decade of experience, Equibrand takes an analytical approach to solving marketing challenges.

4. L.E.K. Consulting

    Founded in 1983, this veteran firm is the outsourced marketing team for many international companies


5. Nielsen

    Nielsen is a global performance management company that provides comprehensive market analytics. 

6. Novantas

    A marketing consulting firm that caters specifically to banks and financial institutions and provides services such as pricing, sales management. 

7. PwC Digital

    Under the ambit of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, this agency deals majorly with digital transformation, digital strategy, and digital operations.


Marketing Consulting Firms for Small & Medium Businesses


As an early stage startup or business, it can be quite expensive to hire large firms and digital agencies. However, there are many other firms that cater specifically to the needs of small businesses


Given below are few resources that can be leveraged to look for and vet multiple marketing consulting firms.




It is established that creating an entire marketing process from scratch is not a simple process. On the other hand, seeking out professional assistance is not elusive anymore. With a range of marketing consulting firms that cater to clients across different industries and price points makes availing marketing expertise relatively easier than it has ever been. 

Strangers, no more!

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