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Marketing Strategies for Professional Services-based Firms

How would you market your business if you don’t sell tangible or physical products? In this week’s 3-minute read, we share some tips, to set you thinking about the direction and concepts you want to consider when coming up with marketing plans for your professional services-based business.

 

1. Business Position, Target Markets, Business Solutions

To sell something, you need to understand or at least know it, where it can be positioned within the market, what it can do and who will need the product. Now, transpose that thinking to selling a firm’s services to potential clients. You should then think about the firm’s:1

  • Identity and purpose
  • Target market(s)
  • Tactics or techniques
  • Your clients’ top three business needs
  • Business solutions derived for your clients’ needs

 

2. A Strong Client-based Focus

Client Focused Business Solutions

Client Focused Business Solutions

Clients want their solutions. They want their problems resolved and not just addressed. I mean, that is why they go to any service provider in the first place. If they could have resolved it on their own, they probably half would. So, think about your clients’ business needs. Focus on what they want achieved and how your company can give them solutions they actually want. Translate that thinking into actual or fact-based examples or case-scenarios. A good story with a real result can rival fairy-tales.

3. Marketing Strategies

Marketing Strategies and Ideas for Professional Service-based Firms

Marketing Strategies and Ideas for Professional Service-based Firms

Marketing strategies you can implement that will add value to your company’s brand online:3

  • Market research
  • High performing website
  • Web analytics, Search Engine Optimisation (On-site and Off-site)
  • Social media, Blogging, Email marketing, Re-Marketing
  • Advertising in industry publications

4. Business Niche

Swimming in the sea together with the many other service providers, you really want to stand out as the real solution gun. You want to think about niche targeting and the areas of expertise you specialise in. In today’s world, you will need to be a specialist in some form of art or science. It will immediately set you apart from the competition.

5. Sponsorships, Establish Goodwill within the Wider Community

Get your business involved with your local community and industry. Contribute to industry journals, blog on your website, participate or sponsor local community events that resonates with your firm. It functions as a vehicle for your business to be engaged with the wider audience and it also allows your business to be out there. It could also be a great opportunity to team build together internally and with the wider community.

Professional services-based firms marketing strategies

Professional services-based firms marketing strategies

 

Other Related Reading

10 big mistakes professional service firms make with their online marketing

https://www.onerabbit.com.au/blog/2013/09/10-big-mistakes-professional-service-firms-make-with-their-online-marketing/

The essential ingredients of a B2B Digital Strategy

http://www.smartinsights.com/b2b-digital-marketing/b2b-strategy/digital-marketing-strategy-professional-service-firms/

 

References

  1. MindShare Consulting LLC. 2016. Five Myths of Professional Services Marketing. [ONLINE] Available at http://mindshareconsulting.com/five-myths-marketing/. [Accessed 23 September 2016].
  2. 2015. 10 Essential B2B Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Professional Services Firm. [ONLINE] Available at http://www.business2community.com/marketing/10-essential-b2b-marketing-strategies-grow-professional-services-firm-01188863#OuU1a4KMub3BgwW3.97. [Accessed 23 September 2016].

 

 

Why Customer Experience (CX) Matters

Customer experience or CX has always been central to building a brand and the business. The increasing prevalence of digital, mobile and ease of information accessibility has altered this landscape. It has influenced how we develop, manage and monitor CX. This landscape shift was significant enough, to spur big agency Saatchi & Saatchi to acquire CX specialist MercerBell, in order to remain relevant in this space.17

In this week’s 5-minute read, we take a brief look at what customer experience is and why the current shifts should matter to you.

What CX is

CX is essentially about the interaction and engagement between customers and a brand throughout the customer journey. It is more than just selling a product or a service. It is about marketing the right experience to the right customer. Good CX is based on shared values between a brand and a customer. To create good CX, businesses must develop a deep understanding of their customers.

 

CX Customer Experience Matters

CX Customer Experience Matters


Some Definitions of CX

“The sum-total of how customers engage with your company and brand. It is your customer’s perception of your business including all physical, psychological, emotional and sensory touchpoint’s that occur throughout the entire arc of being a customer. This perception drives customer behaviours and customer loyalty, ultimately affecting your company’s bottom line.” 1

“It is about bringing together every touch point to create consistent, thought-out interactions with your brand. It’s becoming more and more important at every level, from small businesses to enterprise brands.” 2

“A Customer Experience (CX) is a Customer’s perception of their rational, physical, emotional, subconscious, and psychological interaction with any part of an organisation. This perception affects Customer behaviours and builds memories, which drive Customer Loyalty and affects the economic value an organisation generates.” 21


 

The Customer Journey Is Where the Customer Goes

CX is about making the customer happy.

CX is about making the customer happy.

Today’s mobile-empowered customers begin their customer journey at a brand’s website. It is one of the first port of call a customer makes and it sets the tone for the remaining overall customer experience. Another significant touchpoint in the customer journey is where the brand’s social media channels are. Social media recluse Apple recognised this, and recently began to channel resources into tweeting tips and tutorials.14

 

Measuring CX

Today’s revolutionised customer journey, provides many new opportunities for brands to shape and improve the customer experience. Each touchpoint in the customer journey is where the brand interacts with the customer. To the customer, it is a decision point.To the business, they are opportunities to measure and improve the CX. This is important in order to understand what is keeping, and will continue, to keep customers happy. But before you can improve CX, you need to measure it.


Peter Drucker “What gets measured gets improved” 6


 

A good clue to use when deciding what is important to measure, is to also decide what matters to the customer. What matters to the customer, matters to the business.3 Each business will have to determine what is important to them – there is no one set of metrics for all.


 CX Metrics to measure – “One man’s ceiling, is another man’s floor”


And before you start measuring it, ensure it is actionable. If you cannot use or action it, there is no point in measuring it.3


CX measurement metrics3

Social media/brand mentions and engagement

Response rates

Customer loyalty

Customer satisfaction

Forecast accuracy


 

How to Measure CX

To measure if the customer is experiencing the brand at its best, you want to understand customer needs and identify gaps in their experience.9,18  You need data to predict, to outline customer behaviour trends and patterns.9 And this is where a business deploys customer intelligence tools.


Customer intelligence tools19

Big Data

Social Media Analytics

Customer Relations Management Systems

Focus groups

Insight Communities


 

Five common CX metrics. 22,23,24,25,26

  1. Net Promoter Score (NPS) – Percentage of customers who would promote or detract a brand
CX-NPS Net Promoter Score | Image Source: http://blog.capterra.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/7-22-2015-4-14-03-PM.jpg

CX-NPS Net Promoter Score | Image Source: http://blog.capterra.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/7-22-2015-4-14-03-PM.jpg

 

  1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) – An average score of a customer’s satisfaction level of an experience
CX-CSAT Customer Satisfaction | Image Source: https://www.surveymonkey.com/blog/2011/01/11/customer-satisfaction-survey-example/

CX-CSAT Customer Satisfaction | Image Source: https://www.surveymonkey.com/blog/2011/01/11/customer-satisfaction-survey-example/

 

  1. Customer Effort Score (CES) – Measures a customer’s effort to complete a task
CX-CES Customer Effort | Image Source: https://www.cebglobal.com/blogs/unveiling-the-new-and-improved-customer-effort-score/

CX-CES Customer Effort | Image Source: https://www.cebglobal.com/blogs/unveiling-the-new-and-improved-customer-effort-score/

 

  1. Customer Churn Rate – Percentage of customers who discontinues their subscription to a service in a given time period
CX-Churn Rate | Image Source: http://churn-rate.com/

CX-Churn Rate | Image Source: http://churn-rate.com/

 

  1. First response time and average resolution time – Time taken to respond back to the customer and the time taken to fully resolve the customer’s issue
CX-Average First Response | Image Source: https://support.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/213074-average-first-response-time-helpdesk-in-depth-

CX-Average First Response | Image Source: https://support.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/213074-average-first-response-time-helpdesk-in-depth-

 

 

CX-Average Resolution Time | Image Source: https://support.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/213112-average-resolution-time-helpdesk-in-depth-

CX-Average Resolution Time | Image Source: https://support.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/213112-average-resolution-time-helpdesk-in-depth-

 

CX Directions and Trends

  1. CX will continue to become more important than products or service when looking at what impacts customer behaviour. It will define other priorities.16 Companies need to enable and optimise their workforce to keep their customers happy through personalised interactions and experiences10 that will drive overall positive ROI. 9,11,12,24
  1. Centralise your data, to support and simplify the customer experience by becoming easier to do business with through reducing customer effort.9
  1. Combine your data sources to gain holistic views and insights of the customer that will enable data-driven marketing, delivering a better quality of content.9,18
  1. Develop deeper engagement and build more meaningful relationships with your customer by using embedded customer service facilities and permission-based customer intelligence tools as opposed to ad-hoc surveys9,11,20 – for example, Amazon’s Mayday button15
  1. Customer intelligence predictive analysis will need to account for customer emotions which largely dictates customer behaviour.13

 

Other Related Reading

 References

  1. The Girl Who Knows. 2016. Brilliant CX. [ONLINE] Available at https://thegirlwhoknows.com/brilliantcx/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  2. Forge and Smith. 2016. What is Customer Experience? UX Meets CX. [ONLINE] Available at http://forgeandsmith.com/what-is-customer-experience/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  3. CustomerThink Corporation. 2016 CX Measurement – What do you measure and why? [ONLINE] Available at http://customerthink.com/cx-measurement-what-do-you-measure-and-why/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  4. CustomerThink Corporation. 2016. The Micro/Macro of Customer Experience. [ONLINE] Available at http://customerthink.com/the_micromacro_of_customer_experience/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  5. CustomerThink Corporation. 2016. Key Metrics to Measure for Social Media. [ONLINE] Available at http://customerthink.com/key_metrics_to_measure_for_social_media/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  6. 2016. These 10 Peter Drucker Quotes May Change Your World. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/237484. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  7. Strategy Institure. 2016. What is Digital CX? [ONLINE] Available at http://www.digitalcustomerexp.com/resources-and-ideas/what-is-digital-cx/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  8. Thomson Reuters. 2015. Our Customer Experience Focus – On CX Day and Every Other Day. [ONLINE] Available at https://tax.thomsonreuters.com/blog/thomson-reuters-and-you/our-customer-experience-focus-on-cx-day-and-every-other-day/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  9. Vision Critical. 2016. CX expert predictions: 10 trends driving the future of customer experience. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.visioncritical.com/cx-expert-predictions/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  10. Forrester Research. 2015. 2016: CX Leaders Will Adopt Agile, Insight-Led Innovation to Fuel Customer Obsession. [ONLINE] Available at http://blogs.forrester.com/deanna_laufer/15-11-11-2016_cx_leaders_will_adopt_agile_insight_led_innovation_to_fuel_customer_obsession. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  11. Forrester Research. 2016. Customer Experience Drives Revenue Growth, 2016. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.forrester.com/report/Does+Customer+Experience+Really+Drive+Business+Success/-/E-RES125102. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  12. Watermark Consulting. 2015. The 2015 Customer Experience ROI Study. [ONLINE] Available at http://www.watermarkconsult.net/blog/2015/06/02/the-2015-customer-experience-roi-study/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  13. Brian Solis. 2015. 26 Disruptive Tech Trends For 2016 – 2018.[ONLINE] Available at http://www.briansolis.com/2016/02/26-disruptive-tech-trends-2016-2018/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  14. Vision Critical. 2016. Apple’s latest social media move focuses on customer experience. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.visioncritical.com/apple-twitter-support-and-cx/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  15. 2016. Mayday: Get Help on Your Fire Tablet. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201540070. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  16. Adobe. 2016. Digital Trends for 2016. [ONLINE] Available at http://offers.adobe.com/en/uk/marketing/landings/econsultancy_digital_trends_2016_report.html.
    [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  17. 2016. When the customer experience is always right. [ONLINE] Available at http://www.adnews.com.au/news/when-the-customer-experience-is-always-right. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  18. Vision Critical. 2015. Why customer intelligence needs to be a bigger part of the marketing technology stack. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.visioncritical.com/customer-intelligence-and-the-marketing-stack/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  19. Vision Critical. 2016. The Enterprise Guide to Customer Intelligence. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.visioncritical.com/resources/guide-to-customer-intelligence/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  20. Vision Critical. 2015. #NoSpamSurveys: Why ad hoc, unwanted surveys need to go. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.visioncritical.com/no-spam-surveys/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  21. Beyond Philosophy. 2016. What is Customer Experience (CX)? [ONLINE] Available at https://beyondphilosophy.com/customer-experience/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016].
  22. 2016. Customer experience metrics: a brief guide on how to measure CX. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.usertesting.com/blog/2016/05/19/customer-experience-metrics/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016]
  23. 2016. Do You Know Your Customer Effort Score? [ONLINE} Available at https://www.cebglobal.com/blogs/unveiling-the-new-and-improved-customer-effort-score/. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016]
  24. 2016. Implementing These Top Four Strategies Can Improve Customer Experience Management and Visibility Into CX Metrics. [ONLINE] Available at http://www.genesys.com/solutions/customer-experience/best-practices. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016]
  25. 2016. Churn Rate. [ONLINE] Available at http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/churnrate.asp. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016]
  26. 2012. Customer Experience (CX) Metrics and Key Performance Indicators. [ONLINE] Available at http://www.desketing.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/cx-metrics-kpi-dictionary-1957374.pdf. [Accessed 26 Aug 2016]