My response to the questions above is ‘Professional Services marketers need to lead more on client insights and relations. True client champions. Not back room’.

I accept that most professional services marketers today are far from either being accepted or living up to the expectations of a client champion so I am sharing here some ideas on how marketers can start to take practical steps in the right direction.

At a high level, I believe professional services marketers need to consider four things first. For each of these points, there are some practical steps that marketers should take today:

Understand your target market and what you want to achieve

  • Understand the business and your market – an obvious one, but you would be amazed how few professional services marketers have a great understanding of either.
  • Set a clear framework, objectives, targets and timescales – be clear about what you’re trying to achieve and by when. Set the goals for yourself, but also share them with your peers.
  • Be data-driven – marketers have a reputation for embracing everything and measuring nothing. Understand the metrics of your firm and set some hard targets of your own.
  • Offer to lead and be accountable – don’t sit at the back of the pack. Stick your neck out!

Listen to your clients and be proactive in your marketing

  • Be the ‘go-to’ on your clients – know them best. Collect and interpret data, trends, information etc. and become the person people turn to for factual insights.
  • Be proactive – share client profiles and updates. Don’t sit on what you find out!
  • Actively highlight potential client opportunities – if you’ve developed and shared the insights then you’ll generate new business ideas too.
  • Be the practice area ‘glue’ – everyone wants to cross-sell in a firm but so few think and do anything about it. Make this happen.

Learn from other professional service marketers and build your network

  • Connect with peers in client organisations – you may think this is hard to do, but if you establish the goal and develop insights and ideas, then others will want to make the connections for you.
  • Actively network at client events – have an opinion, know your firm. Don’t sit back as ‘just a marketer’. Be an equal and valuable member of the team.
  • Attend other events where clients are present – and not just clients but their other advisers and supply chain partners too.
  • Join networking fora – meet and learn from others like you. Share tricks of the trade.

Build your reputation and influence other professional services marketers

  • Be professional – set the standard and live up to the expectations of a true professional.
  • Be empathetic but robust – use all your ‘soft’ marketing skills (listening, understanding, insight etc.), but have some steel.
  • Share priorities and successes – you’ve shared your goals, but make sure any successes reflect well on your team and firm, not just yourself.
  • Influence your peers – you can do so much more through influence than you can do by acting alone.