Strategic Marketing and its implications for Professional Service Providers

Many of my readers may not be aware that I facilitate Marketing a Professional Practice workshops.

These workshops are designed to teach professional service providers ranging from architects to doctors to management consultants how to build their reputation and market themselves elegantly in an inter-connected society.

At my last workshop, I was asked for a classical explanation of strategic marketing and its value and why it should be in writing. So, here is my response:

As Lee Iacocca, former chairman of Chrysler says that the discipline of writing things down is the first step toward achieving them.

Strategic Marketing is a conscious and systematic process that involves the following steps:

  • Selecting target market segments using such classification as industry, readiness for consulting, company or division size, function, or issues such as productivity etc.
  • Analysing the specific needs of those market segments;
  • Developing the capabilities to address the target markets’ needs with expertise, relevant programs, and assessment and evaluation tools (that includes determining costs, prices and delivering service options);
  • Designing visibility and credibility strategies to increase name recognition and reputation in the selected marketplaces;
  • Identifying prospects and making presentations to specifically address prospective clients’ unique interests;
  • Providing the highest quality of consultant services on client projects;
  • Managing consultant client relationships to ensure on-going mutually beneficial partnerships.

Develop & Implement Cost-Effective Strategies, Tools & Techniques

The late Howard Shenson, in his book “The Complete guide to Consulting Success” writes that the marketing strategies consultants use have a profound effect on their chances for success.

He advocated the use of low – cost and no –cost strategies for consultants as his research showed that the use of indirect, more public relations like activities are far more effective than direct, hard-sell techniques that so many consultants use.

Tom Lambert echoed this in the book “High-Income Consulting”. Lambert used to conduct, in Europe, the world’s leading seminar on building and sustaining a consultant practice, which was attended by more than 200, 000 attendees worldwide. Lambert said that your overall marketing strategy should be aimed at becoming well known in your field, and that indirect methods of marketing brings clients to you.

He also emphasised that the tactics that you select must be consistent with the reputation and image that you want to create.

Laurence G, Boldt writes in the book “Zen and the art of making a living” that the name of the game in marketing is circulation.

Getting into circulation – and staying in circulation. Getting out and meeting people is circulating. Circulating flyers, making speeches is circulation”.

I liken it to Name Recognition. Whatever technique or tactic you use must be designed to increase your name recognition and to build your reputation. Above all, you need imagination and effort to try and see what works and what don’t work.

For more information and some handy tips regarding marketing consultancy services, read my chapter that I wrote called ‘Consultancy Marketing: Developing the Right Mindset’ in the book The Advice Business – Essential tools and models for Management Consulting by Prof. Charles Formbrun and Mark D.Nevins or attend the next Marketing a Professional Practice workshop in Johannesburg on the 24th June.

Footnote: The Marketing a Professional Practice workshop used to be called Marketing a Consulting Practice. Due to it attracting professionals like architects, lawyers and other professionals I have decided to change the name to be more in line with the target market.