What lies ahead for professional services marketers?
Luminous’ business development team attended PM Forum‘s event on ‘What lies ahead for professional marketers?’ last month and was asked to sum up the main themes. Jeannie Gibson, New Business Executive shares some of the key insights she gained.
With each challenge comes opportunity
Meridian West’s Alastair Beddow kicked off the event by sharing the results of their Marketing Leaders Benchmark Survey. The top challenges for the year ahead were revealed as Brexit, GDPR and low-cost competitors.
With each challenge comes opportunity and it is the professional services marketers who will determine the impact of these challenges for their firms.
But the core focus remains the same…
The survey states that main focus for professional services marketers remains the same as last year:
– improving client experience through technology
– brand alignment
– investing in the right systems and people.
Technology: the golden rules
– Keep it simple!
– Get everyone on board: create a sub-brand around the solution to share with all employees, so that everyone in the company become an advocate.
– Reinvest: reinvest money saved through automating processes to upskill marketing teams, hire experts to handle the data, and create a differentiated brand.
– Don’t get lost in the data: identify the information that can be repurposed to improve client experience, or empower business development teams.
On this last point, Jon Gibbs, Director of Marketing at Moore Stephens stated that a firm needs “the human intelligence and strategic thinking of marketing professionals to use this data to make strategic decisions and influence the company”.
Power of the brand
13% of survey respondents said that relaunching their firm’s brand is their top priority for 2018. Daryl Atkinson at Howard Kennedy believes that “power of the brand” is key to overcoming the challenge of low-cost competitors although being “differentiated” is becoming increasingly difficult: if all professional services firms are international, collaborative, thought-leaders, results-driven and trustworthy – then you’re back to price comparison as Samantha Bisson, Buzzacott stated.
A theme from the previous year’s benchmark survey was the importance of effective internal communications in improving client experience. Interestingly, this also seems to be a focus this year. The panel discussed how a firm’s brand must be integrated into the client experience through every touchpoint; from receptionists, to thought leadership and fee earners.
The Luminous view
In the corporate world, it’s easy to start sounding like everyone else, so being distinctive and creating impact are more vital than ever. We believe that creating a unique brand experience will add value beyond price, but that starts with getting to the heart of your DNA and defining truly meaningful brand values and narrative.
As for GDPR, Luminous’ Head of Marketing Nada Zbirek hopes that GDPR will result in a move from monologue to dialogue in marketing, ultimately giving rise to a much more targeted and intelligent way of engaging audiences.
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