Back to School: Educating Professionals About Strategic Marketing

Within one recent 24-hour period, we had two professionals from two completely different firms explain that they saw no business development value in being quoted by the media as an expert on a single occasion. On the same day, we had a firm that was looking to us to enhance their marketing results assert (despite our explanation as to the value) that it was a waste of time to clean up their database – an email distribution list of current, former and prospective clients and referral sources. This distribution list is a vital aspect of an effective marketing program.

As far as we’ve come when it pertains to professional services marketing, these examples underscore how far we still have to go when it comes to understanding the long-term as well as multi-faceted aspects of an effective marketing program.

In fact, I agree with the attorneys: One random media quote will hardly benefit your career, even if you find yourself on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or a talking head on CNN. Instead, these media efforts must be part of a consistent campaign to get your name in front of your public in order to create a sense of familiarity and heightened visibility. Being quoted by the media – which means you are being positioned as an expert – is just one part of a larger visibility and credibility strategy – what we call VisiCredibility ®. The next and most powerful step is to leverage that media exposure to let others know that you are valued as an expert. Post it on your website, distribute it as part of your sidebar on your e-newsletter, mention it on LinkedIn, use whatever social media you have at your disposal to get the word out, and do this repeatedly.

Underestimating the importance of a strong database is another example of failing to view the long-term potential of a marketing strategy. How can you effectively communicate with people in today’s online world without an email list? If you are featured in an article in the LA Times or invited to share your viewpoint on CNN, how are you going to leverage the unparalleled power of this third-party credibility?  Social media is one vehicle, but it presumes that everyone you want to communicate with has opted into one of your networks, or, more fundamentally, is active on social media in the first place. How can you “push” this information out to them? A database is a critical aspect of your marketing program because it is the most effective method for keeping your markets apprised of your expertise and latest successes.

Professionals in law, financial services, commercial real estate, architecture and engineering understand the need to market, but many still lack information about the critical tools, strategies and creative ideas that savvy marketing requires. A large part of our work has always been and will continue to be educating professionals about professional services marketing, and what works.

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