Business owners engage a digital strategy consultant for an objective look at the online challenges their business faces. Typically, digital strategy consultants work within a fixed timeframe, during which they look at the difficulties facing a company online and advise them on how to improve their position. Once the contract ends, the business owner should be on a path to greater success in the digital realm.
You might assume that a small business owner would be an expert at promoting their business. However, while they are experts at running the day-to-day operations, they sometimes need an impartial observer for marketing. Moreover, they may not be savvy to the ins and outs of digital marketing.
As impartial observers and digital marketing experts, strategy consultants can offer an objective point of view. Their opinions are objectively honest because they are not personally invested in the company.
What Do Digital Strategy Consultants Do?
A digital strategy consultant creates and executes strategies in marketing, public relations, web development, branding, and related digital fields. The first thing a digital strategy consultant does is take a close look at their client’s online business objectives.
Next, they’ll see if their client’s current efforts align with their goals. Based on this analysis, they’ll map out a strategic plan to drive more online traffic and increase sales. They may also do market research and analyze a company’s competitor’s online practices.
Ultimately, a digital strategy consultant highlights the opportunities a business can exploit in the digital space. According to Marina Turea at Digital Authority Partners, these opportunities could include optimizing a website, social media marketing, paid advertisements, influencer marketing, and more.
By analyzing a wide range of data, a strategy consultant can uncover trends and make recommendations to improve online performance. The recommended strategy should support the company’s online growth. The consultant may also work to implement the plan and get things rolling.
An example of digital marketing is geofencing marketing. This type of marketing targets a geographical area and is particularly effective at trade shows and conventions. This geo-targeting connects explicitly with potential customers when they are most likely interested in the products or services you offer.
Getting Started as a Digital Strategy Consultant
Digital strategy consultants need to be knowledgeable in digital channels, platforms, tools, and techniques. Whether or not you need a college degree depends on whether you plan to work as a freelancer or for a firm.
If you’ve previously been successful at business and have marketing experience, you may not need a college degree to freelance. But, if you want to work for a consulting firm, you’ll probably need a bachelor’s degree in business administration or something similar; some consulting firms may even require their strategy consultants to hold an MBA.
Moreover, consulting firms prefer a degree of maturity and some tangible experience. The fact is, being a digital strategy consultant requires a degree of real-life business insight. Success will be hard to find if all you have is academic experience.
If you’ve recently graduated, you should look into an internship to gain experience and get noticed. When a position opens up, you’ll be ready to jump at the opportunity.
Digital strategy consultants also need the self-assurance that their strategy advice is actionable for the client. Furthermore, you’ll need mature, professional communication skills to deal with your clients effectively. These traits come with the maturity that most people acquire over time. Your clients need to take you seriously and trust your judgment.
Finding Your Place in the Consulting World
Before jumping right into life as a digital strategy consultant, it’s important to know the major players and what they do. Also, digital strategy consulting firms either offer consultation services exclusively or as one service among many. For example, a firm may provide digital marketing, SEO services, and digital strategy consulting.
If you’re starting as a consultant, choosing a niche is smart. What type of business are you most familiar with, or are you knowledgeable about optimizing websites, social media, or digital marketing?
As a consultant, you’ll need to use your expertise to produce results for your clients. When you’re just starting, the best way to do that is to rely on what you know, and as you progress, you’ll gain more knowledge and skills.
You need to demonstrate that you can get the results you claim. You can do this by presenting case studies or testimonials from previous clients. You must show that what you can do is worth it to prospective clients.
Additionally, to succeed as a digital consultant, you need to improve and build on your skills continuously. Technology keeps moving forward, and you can not risk falling behind the times.
Both Micro and Mega Firms Engage Digital Strategy Consultants
In 2017, McDonald’s signed a deal with Capgemini Group to work on its digital strategy. That strategy also included installing digital order kiosks and a delivery deal with UberEats. This digital overhaul was a massive endeavor involving nearly 600 Capgemini employees.
The New York Times also began its digital transformation in 2015; by then, the venerable newspaper had seen a 32% decline in hardcopy subscriptions and a 90% drop in revenue. Five years later, what seemed like the inevitable death of the paper was completely turned around. A digital strategy focused on subscribers rather than advertisers was at the heart of the paper’s revival. Also, focusing on leading-edge digital software and quality content put the New York Times back on top.
As you can see, digital strategies encompass a lot, everything from digital kiosks to digital news. But, as you start your career as a digital consultant, you’ll likely work with much smaller companies. Many of your first clients will probably be small, local business owners. Doing your best for every client will form the basis of an impressive portfolio of work.
Digital strategy consulting is an evolving field that offers businesses a way to evolve in the digital space. It’s not an easy job, but you can prepare for success with knowledge, experience, and hard work.
Hopefully, this has given you a look into what a digital strategy consultant does and how to become one. Like anything else, this career requires education, real-life experience, patience, and hard work.