New effective marketing strategies to promote consulting business

The management consulting sector has experienced spectacular growth over the past twenty years. However, although the stated objectives of the advisory missions are rotating essentially around the strategic directions and productivity gains of firms, no study has successfully demonstrated these gains. In addition, the work of research on the power of consultants conducted so far offer conflicting visions of the influence of consultants, who do not fully explain the use massive to consulting firms.

The symbolic functions of consultants

However, a very recent theoretical model proposes a additional explanation of this phenomenon. Indeed, this model highlights the role played by certain symbolic actions of consultants, as full economic functions of consulting firms. These particular functions are for example using a renowned consulting firm to legitimize decisions already taken or to send a signal inside or outside the organization. 

These functions are therefore closely linked to the symbolism of consulting firms that help to develop effective strategies for business. However, despite new perspectives offered by the symbolic interpretation applied to consultants, no in-depth empirical study has been conducted to date on this topic. 

Main interest of this work is therefore to show, thanks to a study conducted in four multinational consultancy, that the symbolism of consultants and their symbolic functions are relevant elements to take into account when trying to understand the rise of consulting, as well as in the analysis of client-consultant relationships and their impacts on change missions. Implications for managers, consultants and researchers are also developed in this work. 

In search of the new ways to market consulting business a global board survey of strategy, growth and performance identifies key challenges that they have to meet. The focus is on the organizational structure and the governance.

Priority strategies for consulting business

The survey unveiled the results of the first edition survey of boards of directors in the region: “Agenda priorities across the region”, which presents the opinions of a vast number directors from 20 countries in the region and gives a unique perspective on the issues that hold the most the attention of boards of directors, having regard to the various aspects of governance


Strategy, growth and performance are the three main challenges that have animated the boards of directors. Mergers and acquisitions have been a major challenge in the past year, but this theme should lose momentum importance in the future. In order to create effective strategies our respondents expect an increased focus on structure organizational and governance.

• The growth and competitiveness prospects seem slightly more optimistic.

• An effective and flexible strategy remains crucial.

• Innovation is central to the priorities, more particularly in terms of process, business model and product innovation.

• The topic of cybersecurity is more important than ever.

• Strong and effective leadership at the board level is a major concern.

• Board assessments are in full swing.

Strong and effective leadership a key issue

Sectoral knowledge, strategic direction of the company and development aspirations are the key factors taken into account in defining future skill requirements advice. In terms of diversity, seventy five percent of respondents indicated that internationalization and the main criteria, followed by gender and professional qualification.

The marketing strategies for a consulting business is often used to demonstrate that they follow effective modern management principles. Managers, when they have use of consultants, are in fact interested in the signal they send to others, to the both in the organization and outside of their own business. From a customer perspective, the value of service is therefore not based solely on labor productivity. 

On the contrary, consulting companies may want to pay more for a higher quality signal when this is beneficial to their interests. Some of them used the signature of prestigious consulting firms as an integral part of their communication strategy theory to find new ways to market their consulting business. Use a firm of advice made it possible to convince them that management was involved in improving shareholder value.