It’s All About Expectations: Tech Consulting Firms Should Have These 5 For Their Marketing System

By David Smith
Marketing Strategy
Marketing Planning

Tech consulting firms recognize the need for marketing.  They also have some expectation of what marketing will deliver for their firms.  The consulting firms attending Dreamforce, SuiteWorld, AWS re:Invent, Sapphire, Ignite and other technology related conferences all arrive with a sense of what they will get in return for their particapation.  That could include firm awareness, new prospects, or validation of their position in the market.

I included the conference example as an illustration of the expectation’s firms may associate with “marketing”.   These firms are setting the bar way too low.

Here are five (5) expectations that all tech consulting firms need from their marketing systems.

 

Mitigation of Customer Concentration Risk

There is a tidal wave of success that comes from early client wins, those clients that know you and your value.  These initial clients can sustain the firm for a while, especially if the business model is “land-and-expand.”   But this success can also build risk.

Tech consulting firms need customer diversification in order to mitigate the risk of customer concentration: over-reliance on the revenue generated from engagements with a single or small group of customers.

Marketing Expectation: your marketing system will consistently generate leads and help you convert them to customers in order to mitigate customer concentration impact.

Predictable Pipeline and Growth 

Many tech consulting firms have a loosely-defined pipeline. This situation is because many successful firms’ primary lead source is referrals or leads that “come in” due to their industry or technology-expert reputation.

These firms are likely not to have effective lead generation campaigns leading to a casual approach to managing their pipeline.  Since they aren’t sure when referrals will come or when the phone will ring, their ability to predict and manage for future growth is challenging.  A proactive lead generation approach will lead to a predictable pipeline.

As an added bonus, lead generation driven by a well-defined marketing strategy will allow you to attract the customers you want to do business with and also allow you to increase revenue and margin.

Marketing Expectation: your marketing system will allow you to generate and manage a predictable pipeline allowing for firm growth.

Consistent Execution and Results

The hallmark of successful marketing is consistent execution and results.  Unfortunately, many consulting firms lack a marketing system approach to marketing.  A marketing system approach allows marketing to be measured and improved, leading to consistency.

Inconsistent efforts are the result of fits and starts and lead to lost momentum, wasted time, energy, and money.

To achieve consistency, your firm needs marketing management to actively manage marketing goals, schedules, and budgets.   You’ll need a solid marketing foundation, including your website, email marketing, content production, social media, and search engine optimization (SEO).

Marketing Expectation: your marketing system will have consistent execution and results and eliminate the waste of time, energy, and money due to inconsistency.

Quality Content and Assets

Your marketing system should include more than event participation, a website, and ad spend. The system should generate high-quality content and other marketing assets.

Quality content is the fuel for marketing and the new SEO.  Without quality content,  your marketing system will starve and will be unable to attract online traffic, build and engage with an audience, earn trust, and help convert prospects to customers.

Your content production should also include assets you can use in different areas of your firms’ marketing efforts.  An article or blog post describing the implementation of a software product can be augmented by a self-assessment checklist or pre-implementation prep list. This type of asset can be used for prospect qualification, a website download (content upgrade), or campaign element.

Your content should help tell the story of your firm and establish the difference your firm brings to the market.  Content enables you to communicate and demonstrate your firms’ expertise.

Marketing Expectation: your marketing system will produce quality content and marketing assets. 

Building An Authority Brand

The best marketing outcome for tech consulting firms is to establish themselves as an authority.  An authority brand is a firm that is seen by its audience and industry as having significant expertise on a particular technology, implementation practice, or business process.

These firms are known thought leaders who often promote themselves via events, live and online, and are asked to provide content to industry websites and publications, or be guests on podcasts.  

Once your firm is seen as an authority, you will be sought out by prospects and have the luxury of selective customer engagement, short deal lifecycles, and higher revenue and profits.

Marketing Expectation: your marketing system will help establish your firm as an authority.

 

What are your expectations?

How does your firms’ marketing system measure up to these five expectations?  Are you under or over-performing?    If you are underperforming, maybe it’s because you have reduced your expectations based on your past bad experience or the inability to achieve consistent execution and results.

A well-defined marketing system will help you raise expectations and get results.

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