3 Keys to Successful Professional Services Marketing

1. Relationship

Building and maintaining close relationships with clients is perhaps the single most important feature of successful professional services marketing. Especially for many smaller scale firms, intentionally cultivating relationships can lead to enhanced trust, loyalty, referrals and positive word-of-mouth. All of these outcomes are absolute gold for professionals, and while maintaining client relationships can mean significant investment, a great relationship network will have a huge payoff for any business.

2. Target & Specialise

As a professional services provider, particularly for smaller scale businesses, you cannot hope to be all things to all people. Picking strategic and profitable segments of the market to target is vitally important for success in many professional services industries. Let’s be real; marketing is likely going to be a secondary priority to delivering the actual service, so it pays to be smart about the customers/clients you target to gain maximum profitability. Also, building expertise in strategic areas can build on your credibility as a professional and contribute to competitive advantages in specific service areas.

 3. Going the extra mile

Ultimately, it is the quality of service that is going to dictate your success in a professional services market. It is therefore worth thinking about what extra ‘1%ers’ you can deliver to your clients to add unique value to your service offering. What does this look like? Really, it’s all about being on the front foot to identify the unmet needs of your clients as they arise. You might have experience from a history of working in specialist areas (such as criminal law or retirement-specific financial planning), comprehensive referral networks, or unique synergies across departments/other firms that may be valuable to your clients. Characteristics or capabilities similar to these will enhance your service offering and get you an edge on your competitors.



The Client Value Pyramid

What I call the ‘Client Value Pyramid’ is a useful way of categorising clients to efficiently focus your marketing and business growth effort. This framework has been taught as a staple of marketing strategy and can be used across a range of different marketing contexts. It is well worth having in the back of your mind when assessing which of your existing clients to approach to grow their contribution to your revenue.

The Price Promotion Trap

Price promotions are a common marketing strategy to generate a burst of increased sales of a product to penetrate the market. Price promotions involve temporarily reducing the price of a product to in an attempt to increase the sales volume over the standard sales rate during promotion period. Price promotions are great for many reasons, some of which include massive increases in sales volume, increased usage and interaction with the brand for the market and quickly selling off large amounts of stock. These benefits however come with a sacrifice, and it’s worth considering them before engaging in price promotion to gain incremental sales over the promotion period.

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The Issue with Arts Marketing

I’ve recently been consulting for a new start-up art business that is set to deliver some incredible paintwork. Throughout last year I did some pretty heavy research into what works when marketing for organisations within the arts sector, as it is significantly different to commercial marketing and comes with its own unique set of challenges. Marketing the arts ‘product’ can be a very difficult concept for traditional commercial marketers to fully understand. The unique visceral and emotive method of ‘consuming’ art often means that the normal rules of marketing do not apply.

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Marketing Strategies that Get You Spending More

I’ve often heard marketing described as a dark art that’s all about ripping customers off. There’s some belief out there that marketers (particularly advertisers) are just manipulatively brainwashing you and getting you to buy their products. I find this opinion quite amusing both as a marketer and as an aware consumer. Although I understand how marketing communication can be scary to some with the extent of stuff companies can find out about us, I don’t agree with the generalisation that all marketers are evil. Instead, I believe that we consumers have the ability to think for ourselves, that we should be discerning about what advertising messages we act on and then take responsibility for our own purchasing behaviour. I trust that you are reading this blog as one of these consumers, with a realistic appreciation of business competition, who doesn’t blame your purchase ‘mistakes’ as the fault of the big bad corporation. With that said, here I’ll discuss some clever marketing that has been designed to increase your usage and get you spending more, beyond what may be entirely rational in hindsight.

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