The theory behind professional service firm marketing

This week, our team have been talking about marketing theories.

There are plenty of them out there – the purchase funnel, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, herd mentality, etc. – but in our case, they often differ slightly from the norm.

Marketing for professional services does not follow regular models or theories because professional services are not “normal” purchases.

An individual does not engage with a professional service in the same way that they might with a car company, a shoe brand, or a fizzy drink company.

Generally, the decisions made by consumers in the field of professional services follow these patterns:

  • Distress purchase – The individual is in legal/financial distress so quickly engages the services of a solicitor/accountant to solve the problem.
  • Renewal/continuing purchase – The individual remains attached to their solicitor/accountant and so continues to use their services where applicable.
  • Purchase due to dissatisfaction – The individual is dissatisfied with their current professional service firm so decide to move elsewhere.

As you can see, there are problems with the first two purchasing strategies when it comes to marketing to a potential client.

The distress purchase, for example, gives us only a limited window where the prospective client is actively looking to engage a professional – and even then, they are probably rushing or panicking so their decision-making strategies might be skewed.

The renewal purchase is great if we are marketing to already-engaged clients but not so when we are trying to convince them to make a change. It’s hard to persuade someone that they will get a better soliciting service elsewhere if they have been loyal to their current legal expert for some time.

The purchase due to dissatisfaction is arguably the easiest problem to solve for. Simply demonstrate that your firm is better than their current one and they should make the jump. Obviously, this relies on the pain point (their dissatisfaction) outweighing the cost/effort of changing service providers.

What’s our point?

When it comes to marketing for professional service firms, in-house marketing teams have a mountain to climb.

Not only do they have to keep an eye on dissatisfied clients to ensure they don’t jump ship, but they also need to ensure that they are ready to target dissatisfied customers from other firms.

They also have to maintain good client communications to promote renewal/repeat purchases through blogs, articles, emails, etc.

It’s a huge workload to keep on top of and usually most firms stumble in at least one of these areas.

If they fail to target new prospects, their firm falls behind the competition.

If they fail to communicate with their pre-existing clients, they might become dissatisfied and leave for greener pastures.

Either way, it’s not worth the risk.

How to solve the problem

Because we’re an agency that focuses specifically on professional service firm marketing, we have the skills, knowledge, and expertise to capture the distress, the renewal, and the dissatisfied purchasers.

If 25 years in the field has taught us anything, it’s that outsourcing even a small part of a firm’s marketing strategy to an outside firm can have incredible results.

For example, you might wish to remain in charge of your pre-existing mailing list and your current client communications, but you are worried that you’re missing out on the periphery – the dissatisfied and distressed purchasers.

In this case, outsourcing a part of your marketing could take the pressure off your team and give you the best chance at increasing your client count.

It allows your team to focus on the “Social Proof Theory” aspects of marketing – keeping clients happy, getting great reviews and testimonials, and using them to persuade clients to engage with your services.

Of course, you could outsource your entire marketing strategy to us to ensure you cover every prospective client possible and maximise your chances of conversion too.

Some of our clients engage us to just write blogs and articles, others to design their websites. Many want us to manage the entire marketing strategy from start to finish.

The choice, the control, and the level of help you require is completely up to you.

To discuss your marketing strategy with one of our directors, please call: 0121 355 4774

Categories: Blog