As the saying goes: “Half my advertising is wasted, the problem is which half”. The question really is not only which half is wasted, but how to make sure the other half breaks through the clutter to give a good return on your investment.
It’s easy to put a toe in the water and test a one-off campaign. However, in most cases these tests fail, not because the graphics aren’t good enough or the copy was wrong – although these can be important factors long term – but because marketing is about establishing a relationship and generally you can’t do that in one hit. Long-term partnerships take a while to nurture; some even survive despite our poor attempt at an opening line.
Experts agree that marketing should be integrated with all other business processes. As important as governance and practice management, marketing, surprisingly, is still often seen as an add-on or an afterthought.
Business owners need to overcome the fallacy that marketing is selling, and the belief that this taints the image of their practice.
Marketing is the art of identifying and satisfying the needs of clients with services developed for that purpose. Successful marketing is a combination of a number of strategies including pro-active attention to corporate branding, advertising, public relations, client relationship management (CRM), and below-the-line promotional activities (including direct mail, online communications and sponsorship).
The seven deadlies that keep businesses from maximising their marketing opportunities are:
1. “We’re good at what we do, that speaks for itself.”
This is the wrong attitude. Clients assume a certain level of technical expertise from any firm. However, in an increasingly competitive marketplace, it’s the service quality that counts and firms should consider ways to differentiate their business in a crowded market. Complacency can lose you clients overnight.
Do you offer specialist services, what’s unique about your delivery, what do you do that your competitors don’t, have you won awards? etc
2. “Time spent on marketing is time we could be billing.”
Many firms still judge time spent on marketing against billable hours. However, firms should compare the value of doing billable work for unprofitable clients against the alternative of spending non-billable time on marketing to grow the business of profitable clients to achieve greater financial rewards.
3.“We’re too small.”
Marketing and PR are not the privilege of large firms. For example, if a law firm wants to develop its reputation as a specialist servicing the medical profession, then maintaining a high profile within that industry is important no matter what its size. Appearing regularly in a specialist medical publication, is just as valuable for the small firm as is appearing in the Australian Financial Review for the large corporate firm.
In true marketing spirit I’m going to leave you waiting for the next part of this article, building anticipation, interest etc. If you can’t wait until next time email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.