3 Ways a Marketing Strategy Benefits Your Consulting Business

By David Smith

Marketing Strategy

The words “marketing strategy” are sometimes thrown around rather nonchalantly.  Everyone seems to embrace the idea of creating and having a marketing strategy, but most consulting companies fail to get to the point of actually achieve any return. 

Why?  There are many reasons. 

First, many consulting firms simply don’t have a clear definition of what a marketing strategy is – and therefore can’t bind together the cohesive elements to arrive at a conclusion. They confuse marketing tactics with marketing strategy.

Second, it’s easy to half-ass the hard work of creating a solid marketing strategy. Agreeing to an ideal customer definition, a single message that resonates, and the experience you want to deliver isn’t just lip service, it requires effort, concentration, and a willingness to honestly evaluate your consulting business.

Third, marketing strategies, by design, define what you won’t do – a limiting course of action versus an expanding course. For some, that’s a counterintuitive way to think about marketing. “You want us to concentrate on fewer prospects?” is a question many consulting firms ask. The answer is “Yes,” less may actually be more when thinking about the audience you want to attract.

So how do professional services consulting businesses benefit by having a marketing strategy?

Calendar and budget

One of the primary objectives of having a marketing strategy is to plan the execution of the strategy with a calendar and budget. Committing to a schedule of marketing activities and spending reduces the chance that your company will get pulled in to spending money on marketing tactic like expensive magazine article placement or “number one position in Google search” SEO snake oil.  By knowing what you will do and when you will do it, your consulting business benefits by having clarity and the confidence to say No.

This doesn’t mean you can’t reserve funds for unplanned activities. You should do that.  It does mean you will be able to acknowledge that the unplanned activity and marketing spend isn’t within your strategy and plan and make a more deliberate decision.

Ideal Customer and Message

Essential to achieving benefit from your marketing strategy is knowing who you want to do business with and the message that will get them moving towards your business. Defining your ideal customer is simply recognizing it is better to aim for the bulls-eye of the target rather than just trying to hit the target anywhere.

Your firm’s ideal customer represents the audience that understands and values the service you deliver. They are financially significant to your business and can provide marketing value through referrals, marque name recognition, or social proof of industry expertise.  These are the customers that deliver 80% of the good stuff in your business. That good stuff includes revenue, profit, happiness, and long-term relationships.  They are worth defining and narrowing your focus to attract.

Once you know whom you want to do business with, your consulting firm needs a marketing message that connects you to them.   The message should be simple and easy to understand, be presented in the language and voice of your customers, and align with their wants and needs.   If your message is me-me-me, they’ll simply ignore it like a commercial on broadcast television. The message should state your difference: how you are different from others in the industry that say they do the same thing as you and also the difference you bring to the life of your customers.

A clearly defined ideal customer and a clear customer-oriented message will earn you the right clients.

Customer Experience and Content

Getting your customers to Know-Like-Trust-Try your business is the purpose of your marketing efforts. This is where customer experience and content benefit your consulting firm.  Understanding how ideal customers will find and evaluate your business will help you define the channels that will be involved, for example website, email, social, etc.  It makes little sense to use broadcast advertisement if your audience isn’t receptive to that type of media channel.

By designing the customer experience and supporting it with content (https://valenspoint.wpengine.com/guide-to-content-creation-in-the-real-world/)

that educates and engages; you’ll be able to help your audience make the decision to move to the next position in their buying journey. This process provides you with prospects that are aligned with your business and are receptive to your proposals to work together.

A Marketing Strategy is not an abstract concept. It’s a vital and important piece of your business. Without a marketing strategy for your consulting business, you are likely to spend more, miss your goals, and create frustration.  The presence of a marketing strategy doesn’t guarantee you’ll have new customers and projects, you will still have to execute the plan. It does dramatically increase your chances to get the customers you want and a consistent pipeline of new projects.

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