Regarding marketing, everyone thinks they're an expert. Few are.
There is quite a bit of confusion and lack of clear definition regarding what marketing really means to a firm. In the professional world, marketing establishes a firm's position in the market - large, small, new, old, personal, creative, experienced, specialist or generalist - any way you want to say it. While marketing is a foundation of experience, image, reputation and culture for each firm, at the top of the pyramid is sales. Sales is closing a deal and gaining a client or customer. And, in between Sales and Marketing are Public Relations and Business Development.
Marketing positions the firm and it's talent and experience. Public Relations is third party reporting about your firm, typically through the media. Business Development creates personal relationships with prospective clients BEFORE a project is identified. Sales typically driven by principals, closes the deal.
Marketing isn't Sales. PR isn't Marketing. BD isn't PR or Sales. Each is a unique and important element and step of the process. It is difficult and often unsuccessful to skip a step and leave out an element or to think BD will close a deal. It just doesn't work that way. Marketing is where it all begins. There are a lot of tools. And, you're going to need a plan.
Visioning and Goal Setting - Knowing the heart and soul of your firm and putting it down on paper is a first step in Marketing Planning. Facilitating a half or full day Visioning session away from meetings, phones and disruptions can be an enlightening experience. It certainly can be one of the most important elements to define "A" and to make getting to "B" a lot easier with a road map and a plan.
- Facilitating of Visioning session
- Mission Statement
- Goal Setting, short, mid and long term
- Market evaluation
Branding - For many existing firms, branding elements are in place. However they may have been created at firm conception, years ago, or created with different vision or mission. The brand should be checked against your Vision and Mission Statement as well as any change in direction and marketing to make certain it can scale up to the job.
- Evaluation of an existing brand against the competition and in support of the firms culture and vision
- Evaluation of an existing brand against a new direction based on firm growth and change
- Procedures for changing / updating branding elements
Communication Tools - Most of these tools are rudimentary and standard fare, however even the business card can take on new responsibilities of image, culture and communication, so imagine how impactful digital technology tools should be to your firm. Connecting people to your business, your contact management system becomes the lifeblood. The contacts that are in your business world on a daily weekly and monthly basis and in everyone of them is an opportunity.
- Contact Database evaluation and refinement
- Contact Database development and categorization
- Collateral Material evaluation and development
Web - After creation and some initial splash, many firm sites lay stagnant, outdated and ignored. Websites have evolved into dynamic marketing and recruitment elements that can bring value to your firm. Your site is a portal to your practice and it is one of those first impression elements where you engage clients and prospective employees professionally for the first time. Since these first impressions are often made on mobile devices, your platform should recognize the viewers device and be quickly transformed into a suitable format - smart phone, pad, laptop or desktop.
- Website evaluation and concept
- Increasing traffic to website
- Web site Analytics
- Landing Pages
Social Media - The world of social media is a 24/7/365 communication event and your firm is present or not and participating or not. Engaging social media simply by creating a presence and reading up on client and peer ideas is itself an eye opener, however voicing your firms expertise and experience is an opportunity to exhibit knowledge and skills. While not all social media can bring an impact to your practice, but the ones that can have the ability to amplify your voice and message, through the power of connectivity. Since social media is a two way street, it does require dedication and attention, so understand each has a purpose and each must have an owner to direct the knowledge traffic.
Social Visibility - If everything above is addressed and things are humming nicely, it's time to get out of the office and put in the face-time with influencers, referral sources, prospects, and clients.
- Presentations, lunches and events
- Public Speaking
Client and Peer Associations
Service or Geographic Expansion - The idea to expand project or service offerings or to do the same service but in different cities can seem like a great idea to build on expertise and increase business volume. It is, but it doesn't come without risk and complication.
- Adding new expertise to the firm
- Exploring existing expertise
- Let an out of town project lead the way
- Merger and Acquisition
So what do we do now?
I'll help you figure it out. Some clients need everything. Some only need review and improvement of their existing plan. Some need an advisor to help prompt action on a regular basis and someone to monitor progress and hold them accountable. This can be a "pick and choose" menu approach or comprehensive planning. Once your plan is in place, I can help in training your own staff to load updates and feed a blog. I can also help you create content through interviews, research and a little creative writing.
If an effective marketing plan would help you get to the next level, let's talk further.