Marketing As Education

May 14, 2013

Another entry from the ‘What Is Marketing‘ Department.

In addition to attracting new clients and also your favorite definition of marketing here is another definition that you can add to the list.

Marketing is all about education. Specifically, it’s about helping five groups of people learn more about you, and how you help clients.

Helping Support Staff & Colleagues Learn

Before even thinking of telling the world about our services, make sure that everyone at home base is on the same marketing page.

Anyone and everyone who will have any client contact plays a part in our marketing. In practice, this means that it’s essential that they fully understand who we are, what we stand for and how we help clients.

As an added bonus, these people can and often do, offer helpful insights and observations that might improve the effectiveness of our marketing.

Helping Referral Sources Learn

Networking and referrals remain the major source of new clients for service professionals. This being the case, it is essential that our referral sources fully understand who we are, what we stand for and how we help clients.

It’s also essential that they understand who the kinds of clients we love to serve…our ideal clients. If they know the kinds of people we love to serve, it’s unlikely they will refer any potentially problematic clients.

Helping The Market Learn

Strange as it may appear, parts of our market remain unaware of our services and similar services of comparably qualified professionals.

This means that the starting point for marketing as education is helping the market understand not only the existence of our professionals services, but also how these services can help them make a difference in their lives.

Instead of echoing what everyone else in your industry is saying, tell your own story, which includes an introduction to your personal brand and brand promise.

Helping Potential Clients Learn

For potentially ideal clients to hire us, they must see us as likeable, competent and trustworthy.

Instead of promoting personal and professional achievements, a better approach would be to outline common problems that face people like them…and then discuss how these and similar problems were resolved. Another good place for your personal brand and brand promise.

Ideally, our marketing will help potentially ideal clients learn why we are their most logical choice as some one who can and will help them with their problems.

Helping Clients Learn

Consistently, professional services includes huge elements of helping clients learn. For the most part, this involves learning more about the technical aspects of out service.

We can also help clients learn to make the most of our help…how to get even better results from our service. Even better results will produce even more satisfied clients, which in turn will probably produce even more repeat and referral business.

For most of us, education is a critical component of our client service.

Why not also make it a key element of marketing professional services?

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Last week’s blog Best Professional Service Marketing Strategies could be considered the marketing application of the ‘Less-Is-More‘ principle.

Based on a survey asking over 10,000 consultants how they marketed their services, the post identified networking and referrals as the source of most money. These strategies are just two of 13 identified marketing activities.

Consistent with the the ‘Less-Is-More‘ principle, 78% of respondents reported spending less than $6000 on marketing each year.

Focus On What Generates The Most Revenue

The lesson here is to focus resources on those strategies that generate the most revenue.

Another key finding of the survey addresses clients served and the fee average fee revenue that they generate.

Once again, consistent with the ‘Less-Is-More‘ principle 87% of respondents report working with fewer than 20 clients each year.

But these clients pay well: 93% of responding consultants report average the first time fee from new clients to be more than $500, with 61% reporting these fees to be greater than $2000.

Applying The Insights

For the sake of completeness, 68% of respondents typically charge on a monthly or project basis.

As a model for marketing all professional services, this survey offers two great insights.

In terms of marketing our services, the best approach is to narrow the focus to those strategies that work best for us…probably networking and referrals. But keep in mind that the other 11 strategies can support primary strategies.

Similarly, instead of trying to help everyone who could conceivably benefit from your assistance, focus on serving and satisfying a few ideal clients.

Ideal clients truly appreciate the value that you deliver…and are prepared to pay the higher fees that you charge and deserve.

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The Marketing Muddle

July 24, 2012

Whenever I conduct a marketing training event, I enjoy asking the question: “What is marketing?

After a short pause while participants collect their thoughts, the responses begin.

Invariably advertising, promotion and sales are among the first answers. The come terms like networking, direct contact, referrals, and keeping in touch. Internet-savvy participants offer up website, email, blog and social media.

A little prodding helps generate concepts like research and communications.

My pleasure comes when I advise the group that all of the answers are correct…but they all are also wrong.

All of the responses are correct in that each is an element of marketing.

However, they are all wrong because marketing is more than the sum of its parts.

As a planned activity, marketing was initially developed to help dairy farmers sell more cheese.

Since then it has become the tool of choice for virtually everyone from the neighbor staging a yard sale to the world’s largest business and non-business organizations.

Along with the information explosion generated by computer and Internet technology, there has also been what might be called the marketing muddle.

To learn more, see I Am A Professional!