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Increasing Marketing Effectiveness at Professional
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Let’s not get fooled (again)!,
co-authored by Suzanne Lowe and Larry Bodine for
The Marketer, June 2006 (we hope to provide
a link in the next newsletter)
ROI for Marketing Efforts, by Suzanne Lowe
and Larry Bodine, Accounting and Financial
Planning for Law Firms, June 2006
ROI on Marketing by Measuring Marketing Effectiveness
(PDF), May 2006, (©
Marketing the Law Firm)
Margins (PDF, sorry about the quality), IOMA
Contractor's Business Management Report,
June 2006. (© IOMA)
This article also appeared in IOMA's Law Office
Management and Adminstration Reort and Design
from the Expertise Marketplace Blog
the Competitive Intelligence Kool-Aid®.
Competitive intelligence is great, but it's not
enough to drink the competitive intelligence Kool
Aid® without studying the rest of the market
-- the clients!
the results of social media. Measuring the
results of your social media initiatives can be
tricky. Here are a few observations to keep in
Baggy-Pants Marketing Syndrome. Criminals
have a tough time running away from the scene
of a crime when their pants are falling down around
their ankles. What does this have to do with PSF
marketing? You’ll have to read my blog to
firm CMOs: watch your back? PSF managers are
putting increasing pressure on their CMOs, including,
in one case, making them accountable for the weather.
In this kind of environment, we need a robust
market-driven infrastructure to be able to guide
our firms toward marketplace leadership.
get out! Should the entire professional services
marketing function evolve upward within firms,
or actually be sent offshore?
father and my career. I may have been too
young to understand it at the time, but my father
taught me about strategic differentiation 50 years
with the tide Parts 1, 2, and 3.
According to a new book, these are three supposed
pitfalls that trip up CMOs starting new jobs.
See my comments:
to define success
targeting efforts - are PSFs ready? A nugget
in Adweek points to a new way to target and segment
potential clients. It’s the next big thing!
calls. What if PSFs used web cams to give
their clients a bird’s eye view of the inner
workings of their service provider?
it real. PSFs need to harness their authenticity
to create compelling experiences for their clients.
service firm identity management:
1 - branded experts
2 - celebrity spokespeople
3 - identity and strategy
Myth of Intellectual Capital. Using technology
(podcasts, blogs, etc.) to market one’s
productivity. Should professional service
firms take a cue from major league sports in assessing
the economic value of individuals on their teams?
word of mouth. How serious are professional
service firms regarding word-of-mouth about their
Networking or Communities of Practice. Is
your firm participating in this phenomenon?
all the posts at the Expertise Marketplace blog
to the blog's RSS
feed for regular updates. (Need
Marketplace Masters from Barnes &
Noble, Amazon, your favorite online bookseller,
is a monthly email publication on professional service
marketing from Expertise Marketing, LLC.
and segmentation: must-have marketing skills
In the last few months, I’ve been struck by the
omnipresent marketing topic of digital and Internet-based
communications as new channels to reach professional
services buyers. All of my senior marketing friends
are trying to get smarter about this arena, and that’s
reminds me, though, of marketers’ reactions when
websites were a new phenomenon. Every firm had to have
one! It was only later when we began to ask ourselves:
for which buyers are we investing all this money, making
all this effort? In so many cases, our early website
visitors weren’t the buyers we hoped for.
were only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the
potential for new digital and Internet based communication
channels. E-mail communication is another. Unfortunately,
an underlying problem is still with us: many professional
service firms’ lack of skill at the extremely
important strategic act of targeting and segmenting
our firm’s optimal buyers.
month’s newsletter explores targeting and segmentation
as a must-have professional service marketing competency,
and the potential of behavioral targeting as a stepping
stone to build this competitive skill.
Author, Marketplace Masters: How Professional Service
Firms Compete to Win
President, Expertise Marketing, LLC
Targeting and Segmentation in Professional Service Firms
it takes a series of disparate facts to help us focus
on potential trouble spots, doesn’t it? This is
what has happened as I look at some of the findings
of the study, “Increasing
Marketing Effectiveness at Professional Firms,”
that my research partner, Larry
Bodine and I published in February, 2006.
#1: Our 377 respondents ranked “targeting and
segmentation” third out of 30 choices for “best
results marketing initiatives.”
#2: Only 19% ranked “Defining and identifying
the most strategically important prospects/clients”
as their most important strategic marketing goal over
the last three years.
# 3: A May 26, 2006 Adweek article cites findings
from a Forrester
Research study on emerging media that “[253
interactive marketers] plan to beef up their spending
on new targeting options for finding customers. Nearly
three quarters said they either use or plan to try
behavioral targeting in the next year.”
third fact offers professional services marketers, many
of whom are still grappling with whether or how to incorporate
digital media into their marketing programs, a glimpse
into some very compelling targeting techniques. Behavioral
targeting, which is growing in popularity, allows e-mail
senders to segment lists based on recipients' past behavior.
But I’ll get to that later.
first two facts by themselves are enough to stimulate
a discussion about targeting and segmentation in professional
services marketing programs.
wasn’t surprised to see that “defining and
identifying the most strategically important prospects
and clients” was ranked by so few as the most
important strategic marketing goal. Certainly, when
compared with marketing’s traditionally most important
goal (acquiring clients), defining clients just isn’t
as sexy. Lately, retaining clients has gained in favor
– and our study findings reflected this –
but again, defining the best potential clients loses
"Too many still think that targeting and segmentation
is about picking the client base that will bring
the most near-term money, instead of employing it
as a strategic discipline to capture expanding market
segments with their firm’s long-term unique
competencies and plans for future growth."
right and wrong way to “follow the money”
is more understandable when one considers the simplistic
approach professional service firms have historically
taken to grow their businesses. Regardless of professional
sector, company leaders have said, in essence, “Defining
our most important prospects and clients is easy! It’s
those who need our services!” It’s been
largely a business development pursuit; the definition
of the most important prospects is simply those who
have the short-term money.
the following illustrations of how professional service
firms employ tactically-oriented logic to choose their
clients, rather than making strategically astute competitive
architecture firm makes a decision to open up a new
geographic office based on a client’s regional
project. The project ends. Partners gamely try to
develop business in that location, only to concede
after too long that there was no compelling strategic
reason to be in that location in the first place.
They close the office.
law firm hires a hotshot lawyer* based on her track
record of bringing in revenues from a market segment
that is booming, and in which the partners dearly
desire to build revenues. Unfortunately, the hotshot
isn’t as hot in her new environment, and the
clients in this hoped-for segment aren’t buying
the firm’s supposed new focus. Partners concede
they tried to build a book of business with a client
base that never fit strategically to begin with. The
firm closes down the practice and the hotshot lawyer*
gets “recruited away.” (*Substitute consultant,
engineer, accountant, or other professional)
their credit, many firms are already fairly sophisticated
in defining and identifying their most strategically
important future prospects and clients. These companies
know how to:
astute segmentation and targeting choices, using “fact-based
marketplace growth” criteria instead of “short-term
support their segmentation strategies
employ their relationship intelligence systems --
contact management databases, practice management
and accounting software, and the like -- to analyze
their clients’ and prospects’ buying behavior
monitor their marketing ROI along the way
good examples of firms knowing who their best clients
will be include Hewitt’s
early recognition of HR outsourcing, IBM’s
early 1990s move to services from hardware and then
last year adding a focus on small and middle markets,
& Company’s hatching of Bain
Capital in 1984 and The
Bridgespan Group in 2000.
the majority has yet to move beyond the flawed logic
employed in the “defining our best clients”
decisions above. Too many still think that targeting
and segmentation is about picking the client base that
will bring the most near-term money, instead of employing
it as a strategic discipline to capture expanding market
segments with their firm’s long-term unique competencies
and plans for future growth.
targeting: small steps, great gains
"Behavioral targeting is a technique whose
time has come!"
this brings me to Fact # 3. Forrester Research’s
study says, “three quarters [of 253 interactive
marketers] said they either use or plan to try behavioral
targeting in the next year.” Behavioral targeting
is a technique whose time has come! And whether they
fancy themselves to be interactive marketers or not,
professional service businesses should use behavioral
targeting in their digital media interactions to target
and segment their clients and prospects.
marketing is the foundation of this concept. Legions
of firms, regardless of professional sector, revenue
size or marketing budget, are using e-mail campaigns
to build awareness and relationships with preferred
clients and prospects. Applications abound that provide
reports on how recipients click through to websites
or request certain information. Using this data, even
the smallest of those enterprises – with real
actions visible right at their fingertips – can
begin discerning recipients’ behavioral patterns
that will eventually help them identify or confirm their
most strategically appropriate segments. This small
step can offer a potentially huge gain.
must build skills in Targeting and Segmentation
and segmentation will gain traction as an important
component of a professional service firm’s strategic
marketing program. The smartest executives will increasingly
require their senior marketers to be skilled at this
function. The most capable firms will excel in their
service marketers, take heed: Begin now
to build your skills at targeting and segmentation.
Prove the value of targeting and segmentation quickly.
targeting may be the way to begin.
feedback is important to us. Please contact
us with your comments and questions.
to see the results from our study on marketing effectiveness?
information on the complete 80-page study and its accompanying
68-page case studies report.
the confidential, web-based Marketplace Masters professional
service firm differentiation assessment test for
instant feedback on whether your firm is doing differentiation
you are interested in seeing the results of a small
study we recently conducted on measuring PR budgets
as a percentage of sales, please send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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