What Is Marketing Consulting?


There are few service businesses as misunderstood as marketing consulting. Even seasoned executives are not completely clear on what differentiates true marketing consultants from those that practice some facet of marketing. To make matters more confusing, it is now the vogue for most specialized service firms to position themselves as marketing experts! In fact, they commonly believe their particular expertise is the solution to every marketing problem.

For example, advertising agencies are no longer advertising experts; they are marketing experts. Public relations firms are no longer just "PR", they are marketing experts. Promotional firms are no longer purveyors of hats, horns, pens, pencils and calendars; they are marketing experts. Even industrial design firms are into this change of hats; they are "marketing based" product designers.



That question is: Exactly what is marketing? Is it advertising, website creation, follow me on Facebook, hats and horns, merchandising, selling, public relations, market research, product design or is it "strategizing?" Just like on all those college multiple guess quizzes, the right answer is... "all of the above."


Without digression into heavy marketing theory, it is sufficient to say a marketing consulting firm should be well versed and competent (not necessarily the ultimate expert) in all elements of the marketing mix. By marketing mix, I am referring to the Seven Ps of marketing... positioning, product, price, promotion, place, people and prayer. Your consultant should be able to objectively consider all elements and have no vested monetary interest in a specific element.


WHITE PAPER #7  Greg L. Alford
Peachtree Consulting Group, Inc.

Your marketing consulting firm should have

no vested monetary interest in any particular

element of the marketing mix.


The list is growing with social media advisors and website designers also claiming to be marketing experts. So... What does a real marketing consulting firm do and how do they differ from those previously cited? This is a good question but one which raises another question that is also hazy and of greater importance.



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