Why market? Why bother? These are important questions that concern many small to mid-size firms and they deserve thoughtful consideration and a reasonable and practical response.
Building a brand, creating a strong and well respected name in the business community, and developing meaningful relationships take time, resources and effort. To make matters worse, the results are not immediate and are often intangible. However, that being said, the impact of marketing communications initiatives for any size firm cannot be ignored. (In fact they have become an essential part of the profession!)
While word of mouth referral- based efforts are still the most consistent practice development method for many firms, the reality is that everyone needs to be more structured in their marketing efforts if they want to remain competitive. And the two concepts are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the firm's marketing activities enhance its relationships in the community and strengthens the opportunities for more referrals generation. From the smallest solo practice to the regional, national and international firms, there is an awareness that each firm has something unique to offer to clients and potential clients. Identifying those distinctive characteristics and capitalizing on them are the first big step in any marketing plan. Understanding the clients and their evolving needs and offering the servcies that are most relevant for them are the next step towardssustaining a successful firm.
But underlying all of this is the recognition that it is the firm's branding and communications efforts that will capture the attention of the market place. If the target audience does not know what value the firm can deliver, they will select another firm. It is the obligation of the leadership of every firm to invest time and commit resources to building name awareness, giving the firm a better chance to attract and - as importantly - retain high quality clients.
As I heard Troy Waugh say many times through the years, "The time you invest in billable client service is your revenue for today but the time you invest in marketing and practice development will lead to your revenue for tomorrow. " No matter what size your firm is, please consider the importance of embedding a marketing approach into your culture! Call me if you want to discuss some ideas! I would love to hear from you.