Market Insight: Guest Articles
Focusing Your Way To Success
by Maureen Broderick
“Focus is the key to a successful marketing program. Trying to be all things to all people is not an effective marketing strategy”, says Maureen Broderick, President of Broderick & Associates, a brand new marketing and communications firm.
Many professional service firms are afraid to narrow their client base fearing that they will lose business. It’s true that any company with even one employee could potentially need a labor lawyer. However, without a specific target in mind, it’s difficult to determine where to focus your marketing efforts and dollars, and even more difficult to have any kind of impact on the market. Much better to narrow your focus, define a specific market that makes the most sense for your business and strive to be the dominant player.
Consider industry segmentation as one way to focus your efforts. There’s a wealth of information available on just about any industry. With a little bit of effort, you can develop an effective industry-specific marketing program. Following are some guidelines to developing an industry program:
- Group your current client base by industry to determine where you already have a strong presence.
- Take a look at those industries to determine if they are growth areas. Is the industry expanding? Are there any new industry trends which could lead to new services you could provide? Do any of your competitors dominate any of those industries making it difficult for you to break in and build your client base?
- Analyze the services you have historically provided and billings to those industries. Which industries are the least price sensitive? Which industries buy services that best match your current capabilities and resources?
- Based on the above analysis, select a few industries that have the highest growth potential for your firm.
- Build a good database of companies in those industries who you want to have as clients and the contact person /persons in each company who buys your service.
- Develop a 12-month tactical marketing/communications campaign to build visibility and bring in clients from your target list.
- Depending on resources and budget, your “campaign” could include launching a direct mail program; participating in industry/trade organizations; advertising in industry specific publications; developing industry tailored marketing brochures; speaking at trade organization events; sponsoring conferences and briefings; developing an industry specific home page; creating a proactive press and media program to place articles and quotes in industry publications; and initiating one-on-one presentations to target prospects.
- Don’t just pick one activity and think you have covered your base. It usually takes many contacts before you actually make a sale. A prospect who sees you quoted regularly in an industry magazine, hears you speak at an industry event or attends a briefing you have sponsored, and periodically receives some useful information from you in the mail, is likely to be receptive to a phone call or visit to discuss your capabilities. You will have positioned yourself or your firm as an authority on their industry and a potentially valuable resource to their business.
- Finally don’t write your plan and put it on the shelf. It’s true, the process of developing a plan can lead to new ideas and serve to motivate everyone to begin marketing. But don’t leave it at that. Make certain your 12-month plan includes the activities you’re going to undertake, a detailed budget of what it will cost, a timeline of when it is to be completed, and a name of the person responsible for each activity. Review your plan every month at your regular meetings. Evaluate people on their performance vis a vis the plan. At yearend, evaluate the results —continue and maybe expand those activities that are working, drop those that are not generating any leads.