Professional Services Marketing 3.0

Professional Services Marketing 3.0

Bruce Marcus – Bay Street Group £60.95/$97.50

Bruce embraces the fundamental issue that until quite recently most professional service firms had not worked out what they wanted from their marketing functions and many marketing functions had not worked out what the firm expected from them.

Although completely American centric with the examples, concepts, precedents and how it looks at how marketing has evolved, Professional Services Marketing 3.0 is a useful refresher for all marketers in professional services. Indeed key sections should be summarised for fee-earners to remind them what we are all here for and what professional services marketing is all about “moving prospective clients to understand that when the need for legal or accounting services does arise, they should choose the marketer’s firm rather than another”. It’s gratifying to see in print that he believes there is a new generation of lawyers and accountants who unlike their predecessors fully understand that marketing is as much as part of the practice as billing and other financial controls. How wonderful it would be if that was universally accepted…

The book is easy to dip-in and dip-out with 29 short, accessible chapters on how marketing works, building a marketing culture, new dimensions in internal communications, the formula for professional services marketing, campaign planning etc.

There are lots of great checklists: questions a good marketer should ask at interview, why advertise, writing good copy and things to ask when appointing a PR agency.

Essential for any marketers looking to move from product into professional services marketing it has a good chapter on the differences between the two, as well as useful sections on putting together and implementing the marketing campaign, the tools and tactics available, what you should expect from a successful marketing campaign, creating a brochure and several helpful chapters on public relations. I particularly liked his chapter entitled “Be nice to journalists”. As an aside get yourself a reputation with key journalists for providing good quality, timely copy – they will naturally think of you when they need editorial.

The journey on how marketing has evolved from pre- Bates (for those unfamiliar with this - this is when the US Supreme Court struck down the longstanding and traditional Codes of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct that prohibited accounting and law firms from doing any marketing) to professional services marketing 3.0 is particularly well told. It was interesting to read how the longevity of marketers within professional service roles has lengthened as marketing has evolved.

Bruce is clearly passionate about the concept of professional services marketing 3.0 and from my own experience I have seen how we have moved from professional services marketing 2.0 where it was the fee-earner against the marketer to 3.0 where the fee earner clearly understands the role of marketing within the practice, the marketing techniques available and the role of the professional marketer.

There is a very useful chapter on marketing an accounting firm which he wrote for The Virginia Accountant in 1980 – it’s still relevant today and the tools in the professional marketer’s armoury haven’t changed, they have got better.

My only criticism (apart from the American centricness) is that given the current importance of utilising social media networks in our marcoms activities, I would have hoped for more than one short chapter on the subject. However he is generous in recommending two essential books on this Social Media Strategies for Professionals and their Firms, by Michelle Golden and Facebook Marketing by Justin R Levy.

I wait for the advent of professional services marketing 4.0 and will be recommending Professional Services Marketing 3.0 to colleagues and marketing peers.

Robert Pinheiro
Manches LLP


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