Monday, March 01, 2010

The New, New Marketing Matrix for Professional Services

Introducing the "Four R's" of Professional Services Marketing:
A few years back a proposition was posted on the Know How Exchange at MarketingProf.com. In the posting the writer wondered about the continued validity of the "Four P's" of marketing because so much has changed in the last several years including the growth of the service economy (The Four P's have served for decades as the foundational outline for any market planning process).

After giving it considerable thought... (more than one hour, less than two) here is my new, new marketing planning matrix for professional services marketing; "The Four R's".

Resource: What is the professional knowledge you/your firm has that you can leverage on behalf of a client? The "product" of a law or accounting firm is it's people. They hold in their head the knowledge that becomes a resource to the client. In market planning you need to identify what resources your target market needs and which your firm can fulfill.

Relationship: What are the connections you have/need externally and internally to benefit your firm, clients and shareholders? The key to successful firms is the ability to create and sustain relationships inside the firm (partners, professionals, committees, client teams, support, etc.) and outside the firm (individual executives at clients and prospects, referral resources, shareholders, influencers, etc.). In your marketing plan the process and plan for developing these people interactions needs to be outlined to enhance the delivery of resources.

Rate: What is the correct rate structure for providing your resources to clients? How much will you charge? What are the payment terms, conditions? Is geography or client base a consideration? What compensation structures will be driven by rates?

Resonate: How will you resonate your message into the marketplace to benefit the reputation and sustainability of your practice/firm? The “product life cycle” in a professional service firm is the span of time an individual lawyer spends with your firm -- impulse buying is not a factor. Creating the vehicles and messages to bring about market awareness must consider the length of time that your “resources” will remain viable in the marketplace.