How Much Do Marketing Consultants Make?

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A marketing consultant works with businesses to assist in creating the strategy for the marketing, branding, and advertising of a particular business. A marketing consultant is solely focused on the client and works to help them determine what a customer wants and helps the client drive customer engagement. Once that's established, the consultant helps the client develop (and implement) a plan to meet customer need. Salaries for marketing consultants vary by region and industry but are most often determined by demonstratable skills and expertise.


Marketing consultants have to be both creative and analytical. It's a balancing act between right brain and left brain activity. Basic tasks include: 

  • Marketing Research
  • Planning Marketing Events
  • Managing Press Conferences and Developing Press Releases
  • Reviewing and Implementing Marketing Initiatives
  • Reviewing Brand Development and Creation
  • Monitoring Return on Investment of Advertising Campaigns
  • Facilitating Client Marketing Strategy Meetings

Average Salaries

The average base salary for marketing consultants is $49,527 a year. However, because of the high cost of living in New York City, the average salary in Manhattan is $53,144 a year, which is 7 percent above the national average. But, if you live in Des Moines, the average salary is $44,147, 11 percent below average.

Marketing consultants can either work for themselves or in a corporation. An example of salaries in a corporation as reported by Glassdoor include the following for internal marketing consultants: 

  • Dell - A marketing consultant at Dell can expect to make an average total pay of $115,658.
  • Wells Fargo - A marketing consultant at Wells Fargo can expect to make an average total pay of $79,050.
  •  AT&T - A  marketing consultant at AT&T can expect to make an average total pay of $79,640.

Consulting fees range anywhere from $20 an hour to $200 (or more) an hour. If you're unsure how much to charge I suggest charging an hourly rate and if you have to bill for the project, determine the number of hours you'll need to work and multiply that by your hourly rate.  

A reasonable way to determine your hourly rate is to use a Hours Worked in the Year formula. If you assume you’ll be working more or less full-time with a couple of weeks off, you’d end up with 40 hours a week for 50 weeks, or 2,000 hours per year.

From here, it’s a simple matter of plugging in the numbers.

Say you were offered a long-term contract with a major Fortune 500 firm and need to know how to set your hourly rate. Let's say you made $45,000 when you last worked full-time, but think you’re worth a modest raise to $50,000. Or, you just believe you are worth $50,000 based on experience and training.

In that case, the formula would like this:

Hourly Rate = $50,000 ÷ 2000 hours = $25/hour

It's also worth noting that those with a specialty in a particular field and knowledge about the client's business can charge a bit more.

Marketing consultants often work as contractors or freelancers after leaving a corporate job. Conversely, if you're planning your career path and think working as a marketing consultant is a stepping stone to a corporate job, here's the hierarchy of marketing consultant positions:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Marketing Director
  • Senior Marketing Manager
  • Marketing Communications Manager
  • Vice President, Marketing

A career as a marketing consultant is both challenging and rewarding. To be a successful marketing consultant you must be comfortable with strategic planning, management, developing internal and external communications campaigns, and have a keen understanding of the world of digital marketing.