Marketing in a One-Off Industry
post # 178 — August 31, 2006 — a Client Relations post
Tim Burrows, from GHD in Australia, has submitted the following question for us to discuss. Here’s Tim:
Across the spectrum of industries, there is a wide variety of client needs, ranging from repetitive and regular advice through to one-off projects. In the latter case, some of these clients you may never serve again. How do you market yourself if you are in a “one-offâ€ industry?
I’m not arguing that word of mouth referrals are not useful, and that’s still where you start to build a reputation and a lead flow. But does the emphasis need to change if you are mainly or mostly working on one-off jobs? Are there other activities that would be useful in this situation that would not be that useful in the case of “repeat business clients”?
I would be interested to see what kind of responses you get from the rapidly growing community that is participating in the discussion on this blog.
OK, Tim. You clearly want the views of others as well as me, so I’ll try and keep my views concise.
I still believe that the best tactics for attracting new clients (even or especially) in a one-off industry are those I wrote about in Managing the Professional Service Firm:
b) Keep up a regular stream of little articles
c) Put on seminars (on-line) and
d) Do surveys and other data-gathering research that can position you as the source of “Facts no one else has gotâ€ – even if those facts are just opinion surveys among your target audience asking them about current trends.
The surveys provide the regular, fresh content for the speeches, article-writing and seminars.
Those were my opinions, 20 years ago, and so we have to add in everything we’ve learned about online marketing (see my recent article Adventures in Modern Marketing), so you probably especailly need, in a one-off business, a website – with lots of content – where people you don’t know (or who don’t know you) can find you easily and be easily impressed with what you have to offer. (The second part is harder)
So, that’s my contribution to get us started. Others? How do you market in a one-off business? What do you do DIFFERENTLY than you do in a “repeat transaction” or”ongoing relationship” world?