Professional Services Marketing Part 13
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a.s.suming quality is your goal, you can use the folowing list of pilars as a litmus test. Pa.s.s each test, and you wil be in good shape.
Eight Pillars of Intellectual Capital Quality 1. Distinction Contrary to popular thought, intel ectual capital doesn't need to be new in the sense of the breakthrough new idea or the unique, total y novel concept.
In What's the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking, authors Tom Davenport and Larry Prusak suggest, "Almost al ideas share one or more of three business objectives: improved efficiency, greater effectiveness, and innovation in products or processes."44 They go on to say, "In describing the role gurus play in business ideas, 'create' isn't exactly the right word. Gurus tend to a.s.semble, package, and broadcast business ideas; they wil rarely create the whole thing from scratch."45 Great thought leaders.h.i.+p is, however, distinct; it can stand on its own as a worthwhile contribution. While intelectual capital may contain new models, new case studies, new stories, and new research, as Davenport and Prusak suggest, the creation can be as much a.s.sembly and packaging as it is pure originality.
2. Salience The word salient can be defined as "conspicuous" or "noticeable," and that gets the idea about right, but there's another definition more apt.
Something is salient when it "has a quality that thrusts itself into attention." Your thought leaders.h.i.+p might be everything else in this list, but it won't be contagious if it's not salient.
Think of your intelectual capital as a spark waiting to start a fire. If it's not salient, it's like a spark in the middle of a damp swamp; much as you might try to keep it going, it's more likely to go out than anything else. But if it is salient, your spark is sitting on a pile of tinder. Just the slightest breeze . . .
"Rather than push, push, push, I s.h.i.+fted my entire organization to enticing pull. I figure if content is king, then let it be king. Get some very interesting content that's provocative enough to pull them in."
-Paul Dunay, Global Director of Integrated Marketing, BearingPoint 3. Relevance Change management. Leaders.h.i.+p. Supply chain. Innovation. Entrepreneurs.h.i.+p. Activity-based costing. Coaching. These ideas are on the minds of many. And with these ideas, you can be a thought leader with a capital T. You can also be a niche thought leader-a leader with a "little t"-and choose ideas that are relevant to only a select few (think Condo King). If the market you target is big enough, niche thought leaders.h.i.+p may not be a bad idea. But, like any service you may offer, there needs to be a market of worthwhile size for your ideas.
4. Consequence Consequence works with relevance. Your ideas may have a market, but then they must pa.s.s the "so what?" test. For your thought leaders.h.i.+p to have impact, your ideas must be worthy of people's to-do lists. If you can't answer the "so what?" question clearly, bril iant as your ideas might be, you're not going to get decision makers to pay attention.
5. Defensibility Even the greatest business ideas have their detractors. While few business ideas wil be bul etproof (as much as you might think they are), you do need to be able to defend the ideas on their merits.
People often confuse defensibility with rigor. Good intelectual capital may be rigorous in the traditional sense with impeccable research and testing, but many ideas aren't rigorous in this sense. Many of Peter Drucker's observations, while based on his experiences, aren't rigorous in the traditional sense. Dr. Spencer Johnson moved al of our cheeses and took the business world by storm with four mice named Sniff, Scurry, Hem, and Haw. Helpful? For many, yes. (Just by being helpful, it's defensible.) Salient? For sure. Rigorous? You be the judge.
6. Realism The kiss of death for thought leaders.h.i.+p is when people say, "That's not realistic." It's perfectly fine if some people think it's not realistic-perhaps it wil take a visionary to bring your ideas to life. Your ideas do, however, need to be able to make the leap from theory to implementation.
7. Elegance Unpack the word elegance, and you'l find such flavors as simplicity, effectiveness, refinement, grace, and even dignified propriety. Perhaps it's your conceptual model, perhaps it's your writing, or perhaps it's the simplicity of the ideas you advance. Wherever it is, elegance in intel ectual capital is the tide that raises al boats, as elegant intel ectual capital is often salient, distinct, and defensible. Elegant ideas are easy to judge relevant and consequential. Its simplicity often makes it seem more realistic. And the marketer in you wil have a great time packaging it up for the world to consume.
8. Presentation Like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said about p.o.r.nography, he might not succeed in defining it, but "I know it when I see it." While it's certainly easier to define the elements of a top-quality speech, white paper, research report, or book, most people don't pick one apart by its elements. They simply observe the presentation of your intel ectual capital (in whatever form they see it) and make judgments that range from "amazing and life-changing" to "amateurish and uninteresting."
The problem with presentation is this: Not everyone knows a great speech, white paper, or book from a good, fair, or poor one. Many professionals are paranoid perfectionists and they underestimate their speaking and writing skil s. The opposite problems al too often exist as wel : either inflated views of speaking and writing quality, or simply al owing A-minus material out the door when it needs to be major league.
Thought Leader Mind-Set and Motivation * Not everyone is suited to become a thought leader. The thought leaders.h.i.+p marathon route is littered with people who started with the best of intentions, made it only so far, and dropped out before they finished the race. In our research and interviews with various thought leaders,46 we found that those who make it are from diverse fields of expertise, firm types, and personalities but tend to share the fol owing characteristics: * They enjoy what they do, which gives them a deep source of energy and motivation.
* They feel driven to teach others what they know.
* They realize that in order to make an impact, build their reputation, and grow their business, they need to reach out and communicate with their market at large.
* They take risks with their messages. They're contrary, controversial, and edgy.
* They balance confidence in their skil s and opinions with a genuine interest in learning from others (their clients, col eagues, and market).
* They are wil ing to risk today's time, giving speeches, writing articles, doing interviews, leading for industry organizations, often for little or no pay, for tomorrow's potential benefit: new business, public affirmation, high-profile invitations, and general y solid market esteem built on the reputation they've grown over the years.
* They keep working, connecting, and communicating long after they've achieved relative fame and success. They don't take their success for granted, and they approach their work with the realization that there is no end point to being a thought leader.
"Most real thought leaders in my field never retire. Warren Bennis, Frances Hesselbein, Richard Beckhart, Peter Drucker-they never retired. We all retire when we die! So my first thing is, love what you do."
-Dr. Marshall Goldsmith In their actions and beliefs, each of the thought leaders we a.n.a.lyzed and interviewed for this research possesses a goodly subset of these characteristics.
Building your professional services business through thought leaders.h.i.+p takes time, sustained energy, and focus. But the impact is worth it. Get it right, and you wil see substantial impact on your business when you become a thought leader in your field.
What Thought Leaders Can Expect Like an actor who puts in his time waiting for his big break, when you, after years of toil, arrive as a bona fide thought leader, here is what you can expect.
Greater Recognition, Demand, and Reach in the Market You wil notice signs that you're accomplis.h.i.+ng greater recognition, demand, and reach outside your initial circle of business, including: * Speaking requests.
* Meeting people who have already heard of you.
* Receiving cal s from trade magazines for interviews.
* Getting article publis.h.i.+ng requests.
* Increased service inquiries outside of your normal area of expertise.
* Generating interest from leading publications, top industry a.s.sociations, and exclusive speaking venues.
* s.h.i.+fting from working local y or regional y to working national y or global y.
Writing a book (a powerful tool for an aspiring thought leader) creates significant impact, from anecdotal reach to real opportunity for your business: * Boarding a plane and seeing your book being read by other pa.s.sengers.
* Being approached by publishers to write a book, since your audience is already established.
* Improving your brand, generating more speaking engagements, more clients, more leads, higher fees, a more desirable client base, and closing more business.47 Easier Business Development, More Desirable Clients Thought leaders can experience an easier business development process with potential clients, including: * Shorter sales cycles.
* Higher-quality conversations.
* Less or no fee pushback.
* Access to higher levels within organizations.
Appreciation Inside Your Firm Thought leaders build credibility and esteem among col eagues. Not only are you bringing in business, but you're also creating a brand for yourself within your company, furthering the firm's success as wel as your own.
HOW SPEAKING RATES WORK FOR ONE ROAD WARRIOR.
Dr. Martha Rogers rates at the top end of the thought leader speaking spectrum, with roughly 60 to 70 speaking engagements per year. In the beginning, she spoke many times for free. As she became better-known and more experienced, her rates changed dramatical y. She shared with us her own experience with how speaking engagements grew from a strict marketing tool to a serious revenue generator for her and her partner, Don Peppers: It real y boils down to supply and demand. Motivational speakers make about $3,000 a day. They go al the way up to about $75,000 a day, which I think is what Tom Peters is at, and he's the best-known business name there is.
We started around $3,000. I remember the first time we asked for $3,000 and I thought, "Oh, n.o.body's going to pay this." They did! I thought that was amazing.
It didn't take long before the speakers' bureaus found us. That's what their job is, to figure out who's speaking for money. They came and said, "Are you busy?" Don and I were thinking, "Oh, my gosh, I can't believe it, yes." They said, "Wel , don't you think you should be charging more to reduce the demand?" And we said, "Wow, do you think people wil pay more than $3,000?" Before long, they had us up to $10,000; and before long after that, they had us up to more.
By the way, after 2001, they were very good about saying, "Okay, you've got to cut your rates now." The business has never come back after 2001 the way it was before. In fact, a lot of events now don't even pay their speakers. They actual y demand that speakers pay the events.
I don't pay to speak. But sometimes, at a very, very, very favorable conference, I might go in and speak for free, which means I didn't have to pay the $30,000 other events might be charging. If it's an audience I real y want to talk to and if there's a lot of real y valuable publicity around it, we might negotiate a deal.
I'l tel you what. I gave a lot of free speeches those first couple of years. A lot of them. And then, the people who were in the audience cal you to come speak for a different group, so it's worthwhile. You do pick and choose.
Higher Speaking Fees While many professionals speak to build business, some speak as their business. When you publish a book on your topic of expertise, you're likely to receive higher-paying speaking invitations.
Less Push and More Pull We would be remiss if we didn't say more about one of the best ways of promoting your thought leaders.h.i.+p. In our benchmark research study The Business Impact of Writing a Book,48 we surveyed close to 200 authors of business books who together had published a total of approximately 600 books. Professional service provider authors reported the outcomes resulting from business book publis.h.i.+ng, shown in the table.
BOOK PUBLIs.h.i.+NG OUTCOMES.
Simply the act of publis.h.i.+ng a book didn't have the impact. The books had to sel a lot of copies. Those authors who sold the most copies of their book reaped the greatest business benefits. When we reviewed the results, we were struck by the impact that sel ing a certain number of copies of books had on various areas of authors' practices.
Overal Effect: Authors who reported a "positive" overal effect on their practices sold a median number (at the 50th percentile) of 5,000 copies of their first book, whereas those who reported an "extremely positive" overal effect on their practices sold a median number of 10,000 copies of their first book.
Raising Fees: Authors who reported a "strong influence" on their ability to raise their fees sold a median number of 4,000 copies of their first book, whereas those who reported a "very strong influence" on their ability to raise fees sold a median number of 20,000 copies of their first book.
Generating New Clients: Authors who reported that publis.h.i.+ng books had "some/a little/no influence" on their ability to generate new clients sold a median number of 9,000 copies of their books, whereas those who reported publis.h.i.+ng books had a "very strong/strong influence" sold a median number of 20,000 copies of their books.
Generating Better Speaking Engagements: Authors who reported that publis.h.i.+ng books had a "very strong influence" on their ability to generate better speaking engagements sold a median number of 25,000 books over their careers, whereas those who reported a "strong influence" sold a median number of 8,200.
It's clear that seling 4,000 to 5,000 copies of your book can bring measurable success to your practice. What we found even more impressive only emerged after a.n.a.lyzing al the measures of success in the study. To reach the strongest positive impact on their practices, the authors seem to need to jump two critical hurdles when it comes to the numbers of books they've sold: Hurdle 1 = 10,000 Copies: Authors who sold over 10,000 copies of their books by and large reported strong positive effects on their businesses as a result of publis.h.i.+ng books. This group of folks seemed very pleased with the return on their investments in effort, time, and money for writing and publis.h.i.+ng books.
Hurdle 2 = 20,000 Copies: Authors who sold over 20,000 copies of their books reported phenomenaly positive effects on their businesses. In most categories where we studied this data, the results achieved by authors who sold over 20,000 copies of their books were far and away stronger than results of those who sold fewer than 20,000 copies.
If you're an aspiring author, you should note that when it comes to book publis.h.i.+ng, the authors we studied for the report found that book publishers themselves do very little to market books. Sel ing books is up to the authors. Those authors who embrace marketing and do a good job at marketing reap the benefits for their practices. Those that don't, don't.
But you're not going to get your book published by a major publis.h.i.+ng house if you don't have a marketing platform set up, anyway.
Mary Glenn, editorial director at McGraw-Hil Publis.h.i.+ng Company, says, "Sometimes [the marketing platform] surpa.s.ses the importance of the actual topic of the book. Authors need to have a robust speaking circuit or be out there meeting the public somehow. We look for people who are go-to experts in the field."
Thus, having a marketing platform is very often a prerequisite for getting a publisher to even consider taking on your book. Once again, marketing is the key to success.
Marketing Communications and Lead Generation Tactics Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?"
Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."
-Charles Schulz Perhaps the easiest thing to do in professional services marketing is spend money. Whether you get any benefit from that money often depends on three factors: 1. The tactics you employ given your situation and goals.
2. How wel you employ those tactics.
3. Your expectations of what you should get from employing those tactics wel .
Unfortunately for most firms, they don't get the benefit they can from their marketing efforts because of avoidable missteps. We know. We've seen mil ions of dol ars swirl down the drain, gone forever, leaving marketing teams to wonder, "Where did we go wrong?"
The charts in Figure 16.1 highlight the results of our research on What's Working in Lead Generation concerning what tactics worked for over 700 different professional services firms. As you can see, not al tactics work for everyone; yet every tactic (even television advertising) works, but sometimes for only a select few.
The chalenge of definitively sorting out which marketing tactics work from those that don't is almost impossible, because what works for one firm in one situation may be whol y inappropriate for another firm in a different situation. Though marketers often ask us for one, there is no silver bul et.
The questions you need the answers to are, "What is most likely to work here?" and "What do I need to do to give us the best shot at success?"
This book would be very long, indeed, if we covered how al of these tactics work and how to implement them. What we have provided in this chapter is an overview of the major marketing tactics employed by professional services firms, along with guidance on when and how to employ the tactic wel .
As you move along in this chapter, heed this caveat: While there is much you can learn about employing marketing tactics here and from other books, there's no subst.i.tute for experience, skil , and talent. Medical students spend years in grueling medical school before they're al owed to see a patient. Then they spend years seeing patients under the highly regulated guidance of more experienced physicians. Watch an episode of almost any TV medical drama, and you'l hear the requisite, "Oh, my! Who did the hatchet job on these sutures?" admonishment from a senior doctor directed at a resident. (See Figure 16.2.) Marketing (and anything, realy) is not dissimilar. Many a hatchet job has been done on marketing campaigns: Bad copy. Embarra.s.sing creative work. Missing pieces. Overspending and underspending. Unrealistic expectations. Taking two weeks to do something that should take two hours.
These mistakes and more are made every day in professional services firms large and smal .
As you employ your marketing tactics, make sure you have the right experience and skil to help you in proportion to the importance of the task and the outcome you desire. Most parents are qualified to take splinters out of their children's fingers when they are young. When it comes time to take out wisdom teeth, much as Dad might want to do it himself, most people take their children to see the oral surgeon.
Figure 16.1 Effectivness of Lead Generation Methods Used by Particpants-by Percent Rated Extremely/Very Effective Figure 16.2 Deliver Cover Deliver magazine and the United States Postal Service.
The marketing tactics that fol ow are broken down into several categories based on characteristics the tactics share. While you could categorize the marketing tactics in any way you like, and you could make the argument that some tactics could fit in multiple categories, we've found this typology helpful to people as they deepen their understanding of the landscape of marketing tactics.
Outbound Communications and Research Methods Direct Mail Communicating with your clients and prospects through snail mail49 has been dismissed as useless by many a marketing consultant in the professional services field. Pract.i.tioners inside companies also find many reasons not to mail. They say things like, "You can't develop business through the mail." "We've tried it and it hasn't worked for us." "We're using other tactics. E-mail is cheaper, so we're s.h.i.+fting communications in that direction." "No one sends mail anymore."
The truth is direct mail is stil an effective tactic. With mail volume for professional services and other business-to-business industries dropping, for some buyers it's even novel again.
Typically good for: * Communicating regularly with clients and key targeted prospects for outcomes including lead generation, lead nurturing, and relations.h.i.+p nurturing.
* Improving al parts of Brand RAMP: * Mail familiarizes your audience with your company and services.
* Clear copy and connections to deep dive offers articulate your services and value propostion to buyers.
* Regular, ongoing touches help buyers remember you at the elusive time of need (and help referral sources remember to refer you when asked for a referral).
* Messages of value and connection to value-based offers create and enhance preference for your company and services.
* Breaking through the noise; if you want direct mail to get through, you typical y can make sure it does, even at the highest levels of corporate leaders.h.i.+p.
* Getting response to value-based offers ranging from event attendance to white papers to research to one-on-one introductory meetings.
* Creating urgency by tel ing an ongoing story, staying top of mind, and creating deeper connection to the value of solving problems with your services.
Words of wisdom * Establish your direct mail metrics and expectations (but be patient, as results typical y build over time and multiple mailings).
* Constantly test the effectiveness of your campaigns.
* Reuse successful campaigns. Just because they're not new to you doesn't mean they won't work over and over again with clients.
Professional Services Marketing Part 13
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Professional Services Marketing Part 13 summary
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