Marketing Week recently conducted a survey to identify “the toughest marketing jobs in the world”. Though over half thought tobacco is the hardest industry to market, two of the top five places were occupied by professional services practices (accountancy 39% and law 36%), officially making it a tough job to do, let alone do well.
In the face of stiff competition and ever increasing regulation more and more professional services firms are focussing on communications as a means to change behaviour and attract more clients. The trouble is that they are quickly finding that in order to achieve the results they crave, they must first look closer to home and change their own behaviour!
So why is it so tough to execute a successful professional services campaign? Truth is, it’s not, providing you have the right communications building blocks in place. It’s not tough to get cut through, inform the debate or beat your competitors to market with the next ‘hot topic’, its tough to get your firm to change. Firms are paranoid of upsetting anyone. That is understandable as reputation is everything, but more than that, firms in the sector are often not firms, but a collection of individuals each operating in different ways in often different practice sectors across vast geographic areas, all with very different communications agendas.
In order to succeed, firms must first agree a common communications agenda, they must speak to market as one, become accessible and task a small number of senior individuals with the communications gauntlet. It is not rocket science. Sure you need to consider new communications channels and yes you must get faster at delivery, but at the end of the day, it’s often no tougher than any other campaign if executed well and embraced with a willingness to adapt your organisation…besides we like a challenge!