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How much should I pay a marketing consultant?


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Ah yes, the million dollar question. Ok well, maybe not quite a million dollars, but nerveless the question is less about how much you should pay and more about what you or your business can afford. Let us explain.

Like most other consultants in any other industry, the rates charged vary dramatically based on factors such as level of expertise, location and demand to name a but a few. As a quick aside, if you’re unfamiliar with the pricing models often used, it might be worth you reading our post on how marketing consultants charge? which goes in to more detail on this topic.

In this post, however, we discuss the different factors that might affect how much you should, or could pay a marketing consultant for their help and advice.

What can your business afford to pay a marketing consultant?

Hopefully you’ve established some kind of need to work with a marketing expert. Perhaps you’re frustrated by a lack of new sales leads coming in to the business or you don’t feel your marketing accurately reflects your product or service offering. Either way, it’s important to have a clear rationale for seeking head and advice in the first place. You should know your business better than anyone and hopefully you have a budget for marketing related expenditure. So the first question to ask yourself is “Does the marketing budget have any room for external advice”. If the answer to this question is no or your marketing budget is non-existent, you might want to revisit your numbers. Any marketing consultant worth their salt doesn’t come cheap.

What kind of help are you looking for?

Marketing consultants are effectively selling their time, so the amount of help or ‘time’ you need, is going to impact how much should pay. For instance a one off consultation is likely to cost much less than a 6 month marketing retainer. It won’t be uncommon to hear the term ‘day rate’, once you know how much the consultant charges per day you can multiply this by the days required to give you an idea of the total fees involved.

Be guided by the expert on the amount of marketing support they think your business needs and if this aligns with your budget and expectations then things are looking good. Unless you’re a marketing expert yourself, don’t dictate how many hours or days you require. The time required is balance between the needs of the business, what the marketing strategy requires and what the business can afford to pay.

Type of work vs type of consultant

The technical requirements of the task in hand can also impact how much you should pay. For example, a large website migration project is likely to be technical in nature, require lots of planning and has multiple moving parts, therefore the fees associated are going to be higher when compared to the relatively simple task or uploading the latest blog to the website.

Assessing the type of work required is a worthwhile exercise. It will give you an understanding of which tasks are better performed by a marketing consultant, (for example might be super technical in nature or require specialist skills) versus those jobs that might be better suited to an in-house member or the team or a less expensive resource.

Type of marketing consultant

Having researched the market thoroughly, a business owner might expect to pay anywhere between £150 to £1,500 per day for marketing support. The type of consultant and support will usually set the fee. For example

Interim Marketing Director

You could expect to pay anywhere between £500 – £1,500 per day for an interim marketing director with the right experience and skillset. We’ve specified interim, because it’s unlikely you would hire a consultant marketing director on a long term basis. To command this type of fee, you might expect to see the following skills and experience

  • 10+ years marketing experience
  • Marketing degree or CIM marketing diploma at the very least
  • Experience of running a marketing budget of more than 500k.
  • Capable or building and or managing an in-house marketing team
  • Time spent in an Agency
  • Experience of reported directly to the MD or board
  • Omnichannel experience

Marketing Manager

For those businesses who don’t require a full-time member of staff. Marketing consultants are often drafted in as managers of the marketing function to get things done. Planning the strategy and ensuring it’s delivery. Highly experienced individuals, with a deep understanding of marketing in all it’s forms. You should expect to pay anywhere between £250 – £600 per day. To command this type of fee, you should expect the following skills and experience:

  • At least 5+ years marketing experience
  • Marketing degree or CIM marketing diploma if possible
  • Experience of writing an effective marketing strategy
  • Be a proven project manager with examples of scheduling and cost-control
  • Ability to manage third-party suppliers and an excellent network of them to call on.
  • Relevant discipline experience, e.g. PPC, SEO, web development, events print, etc.
  • Ability to report on campaign success encompassing key performance indicators.

Marketing Assistant

Marketing assistants are the foot solders of the marketing operation, actioning parts of the strategy. This will involved things like updating the website, proof reading, sharing posts on social media, writing copy blogs, helping at events and graphic design.

You might expect to pay anywhere between £150 – £250 per day for a marketing assistant, with the following attributers.

  • 1+ years experience – We’re big believers that enthusiasm and big ideas can go along way when experience is in short supply.
  • Graduate level or College leaver
  • IT literate

Final thoughts

Hopefully this guides help you answer the question “how much should I pay a marketing consultant”. Clearly this is dependent on a number of factors including level of expertise and location but If you’re looking to work with a marketing consultant in the near future, be sure to consider these questions:

  • What can the business comfortably afford?
  • What type of marketing help and support are we looking for?
  • What type of consultant do we need?