Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Marketing Matrix for Professional Services

The academia are at it again. Kotler, Bloom, and Hayes have released their revised edition of "Marketing Professional Services". I know a lot of folks that swear by the wisdom of this trio of professors, and in the interest of leaving no stone unturned, I have read their book and must say they make a good argument for their methods.

And I also feel that the shortfall of this book is its foundation on consumer marketing practices. The trio is quick to point out that marketing professional services is not consumer marketing, and then use the "P's" matrix formula born in consumer marketing to chart a parallel path for professional services.

In light of their book release I thought this would be a good day to republish my marketing matrix developed specifically for professional services and founded on knowledge gained in the trenchs.

Re-Introducing the "Four R's" of Professional Services Marketing:
  • 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 life span of the individual partners. 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.
So, there is my take on the new, new marketing matrix for professional services. I invite your comments and thoughts.