Digital Marketing for Professional Firms
post # 476 — December 13, 2007 — a Client Relations post
David Koopmans, Director of Mokum Marketing in Melbourne, Australia wrote in by email to raise the topic of how professional services firms can use the web in their marketing strategy and what the specific benefits are.
He points out that among some types of professional firm there is often resistance to the concept of marketing in general, and the digital space in particular.
If you were advising a professional firm about web marketing, what would you stress?
Iâ€™m not sure how much hard evidence there really is about the benefits of the web in marketing professional services. I suspect that key decision-makers and buyers are not spending much time on the net. Their staff subordinates (HR people, marketing directors, strategy people etc.,) may use it more, and you may be found that way, but I doubt that there is much of a direct executive audience.
I would probably point out that the old adage â€œdemonstrate donâ€™t assertâ€ remains the key to effective use of web technology, and that websites need to have voluminous amounts of easy to search and easy to find content, so that you can you can prove that you have something to offer (and are generous and professional enough to share it.) The ease of use of your digital marketing gives you an opportunity to show your ability to put yourself in the shoes of the client / purchaser and understand things from their perspective, rather than saying â€œlet us tell you about us.â€
Iâ€™d also stress that you need to be well advised by people who understand search engine optimization, so that if there are buyers who donâ€™t know you, you are found when they begin searching.
Itâ€™s still early days for blogging, podcasting and videocasting, but Iâ€™d have to guess that, for most professional service firms, these are not high return activities — again, because Iâ€™m not sure that the â€œhigh-levelâ€ buyers are listening and watching.
Iâ€™ve had a lot of fun and success with my own activities (which I reported on last year in an article called â€œAdventures in Modern Marketingâ€) but itâ€™s very hard to unbundled the incremental marketing benefit that being active on the web has brought. I’m not sure what I would advise a client to do in this area, nor how much of their marketing budget to devote to web activities.
What do the rest of you think? What advice would you give to a professional firm about digital marketing? What have we learned?
David, I don’t think you are saying this, but just to be sure, I wouldn’t say that all people who make purchasing decisions for professional service firms are spending only a little time on the internet or using little digital content. Even if that were true, it won’t be for that much longer. (Well, maybe another decade…)
Nevertheless the benefits are quite specific and long term. Not to be taken lightly when making the investment decision.
Like smoking and losing weight (if I may), don’t look to blogging and a digital content strategy if you’re looking for a quick boost in profitability. However, if you’re after some long term strategic advantages, and you have the discipline, then I think it’s well worth it.
posted on December 13, 2007