Just because you are a small or midsize firm does not mean that marketing cannot work for you. There are advantages and disadvantages to being a smaller firm. Learn how to emphasise the advantages and downplay the disadvantages.
Marketing is what you do in order to get a new client or keep an existing client. The emphasis is on the word “you.” What this means is that your marketing may well be different from your competitors. The key to developing “your” marketing plan is to know how you have gained clients in the past.
The most effective marketing plan is one that gets you where you want to be. Just like sailing or driving a car, you can take many different routes to get you to your destination, but you do need to know the destination. There is no simple answer or solution when it comes to developing an effective marketing plan, and every plan will be different in goals and execution. The benefits your firm can achieve with an effective marketing plan include:
- It will help you decide what you want to be good at
- It will force you to choose the markets that you can be good in
- It will get you new clients and help you retain more clients
- It will increase the size of your practice and ultimately generate more profits
The key to developing an effective marketing plan is to know what questions to ask yourself. Your answers form the foundation of your plan. That’s why it is important for your firm to answer questions. Answering questions can help gain a deep understanding of your current efforts and results to understand your strengths and weaknesses.
Make a list of your last ten new clients and identify how you obtained them. Clients either come from a source or a marketing activity. Sources include existing clients, referral sources or perhaps just friends. Activities include seminars, articles, direct mail, presentation/speeches, advertising, etc.
Know why your clients stay with you and why your clients leave you. Make sure you know how the market perceives you and the position you want to take in the marketplace. To gain this information, some questions you should ask yourself include:
- Who do you normally lose a client to? This will tell you who your main competitors are.
- Can you define your current market?
- Do you have a unique selling proposition (USP)?
Before you set marketing goals you need to clearly articulate your firm’s orientation. What type of culture do you want for your firm? Businesses in general have traditionally take one of four positions: product orientation, production orientation, sales orientation or customer orientation. Contemporary literature would suggest that success firm take a customer orientation.
Next, determine what you want to accomplish. In other words determine what you need to do to get more work from sources, activities and new markets. Now, you are ready to outline your marketing goals.