Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Getting your marketing message clear

We get to meet really interesting professional services firms. What we find particularly fascinating about these businesses is how each one is different. Even when we meet firms that offer broadly similar services they are still fundamentally different. The senior people we meet are accomplished professionals who are clearly experts in their chosen field of specialism. Yet one of the most common issues which quickly becomes apparent is how difficult these firms find it to articulate succinctly their key marketing message. We typically get two different styles of weak messaging in these meetings that fall neatly into what we call the 'brand agency' response or the 'consulting speak' response.

The 'brand agency' response is a carefully crafted form of words that had their agency partner's creative juices flowing. Sadly, despite the best intentions, it is aspirational brand mumbo jumbo that tells nothing of any interest to a potential buyer. It is vanilla. In our business we applaud creativity. However creativity detached from reality is fundamentally flawed.

The 'consulting speak' response on the other hand is best described as a soliloquy where the message clearly means a lot to the orator, includes very interesting terminology, but is largely indecipherable. It may sound impressive but leaves the listener wondering what it is all about.

Our clients are familiar with our passion for getting their brand positioning statement right. For us it is very easy to tell when it is right because it meets three important criteria:

  1. It provides clarity of what you do
  2. It positions you in the market
  3. It highlights the benefits you bring to your clients.

Simple. The more specific each of those aspects are, the better the brand positioning statement. Some marketers advocate that this is an internal statement that is not shared externally. We disagree. This is exactly what your prospective clients want to hear. You can tell if you have got it right from the reaction you get from prospects.

Admittedly, this is your top level marketing message. From this you can build the rest of your value propositions around each individual service offer. The critical success factor is that they are all written for your clients and prospective clients perspective and not from some brand ego.

On a related subject, we previously wrote about how firms struggle to find something distinctive to say. In case you missed that, you can read our White Paper on Differentiation in Professional Services here.

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