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professional services marketing

Why marketers need to stop playing it safe

Posted by Suzanne Willcock on Tue, Sep 01, 2015

AdvertisingMarketers, I have a question for you. Think about your firm’s most recent advertising campaign and ask yourself, “How did the ad solve my prospective client’s problem?” If your advertising efforts aren’t clearly articulating how your product or service makes a real difference for a client, read on, because you could be playing it safe.

Be honest, when it comes to advertising have you fallen victim to doing what you have always done? It could be print, digital, outdoor, cinema, or direct mail advertising. The space has been booked, the deadline looms and you pick up the phone and tell the agency to “run the same ad as last year, with some minor updates”.

Marketing your brand should not become a copy paste strategy rolled out year on year. The rules of the game have changed. Marketers no longer control it. Your firm now needs to become prospective and current client obsessed, afterall they are the ones in the driving seat, the ones that dictate how successful your brand is and becomes.

Before spending a cent on advertising, understand this:

Know the results you want from the campaign before you start: What are the marketing or sales objectives for the campaign? What are the communication objectives? And importantly, what return do you need to see? For example, you might need 10 x enquiries and 1 x sale to justify the investment.

Message management: Understand exactly who your target audience is and ensure the ad copy is written specifically for them. What problem does your product/service solve for your target audience? Advertising should stimulate an emotional response — fear, love, greed etc. Address your target audience’s aspirations, interests, concerns in language that is people-centric, not business-centric. Chances are the reader already knows your business is “a leading firm, with an innovative approach” so don’t waste valuable space telling them what they already know.

Are you prepared to respond immediately?
If the call-to-action in your ad is to contact a business division or specific team member, are they prepared to respond appropriately? Your prospective clients have their own timelines and priorities. You must have the ability to respond immediately, more than 24 hours is inadequate. Less than two hours is ideal. 

According to Brad Entwistle, Managing Director of imageseven, fear is steering marketers towards making safe marketing decisions.

“The quantum and dramatic nature of change to marketing in just the last few years has left many people in businesses fearful of embracing the new marketing mindset. It is this fear that naturally steers them toward seeking safe options with their careers and the marketing initiatives they propose. The outcome is marketing communications with a factory mindset turning out the same execution as last year with the hope of a different result. Meanwhile the attention of your prospective client, and even worse, your current client, has moved on.”

Marketers, it is time to get on-board or risk being left behind. Ultimately, you need to become focused on being authentic and marketing to individuals rather than sectors, after all you are speaking to prospects who are people too.

I’m not advocating that firms abandon advertising altogether, but what I am saying is that advertising combined with inbound marketing — a relatively new concept for many marketers — can make your advertising return on investment much more effective.

Inbound marketing helps your firm get found by prospects who are looking for the services you offer. It focuses on attracting prospects, converting them to leads and then delivering them to you when they are ready to purchase your product/service. By aligning the content you publish with your prospects’ needs – and strategically timed with any planned advertising campaigns – you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close and delight over time. Inbound marketing is fully transparent, measurable and a results driven program that provides future direction for your firm. Using analytics, you can make smart marketing investments that can be customised for each individual prospect. This marketing trend is a completely integrated system that combines social media, marketing automation, SEO, email marketing and other techniques.

Are you ready to embrace the new marketing mindset?

Here are some resources to get you started

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This blog was written by Suzanne Willcock

Suzanne Willcock is a Senior Account Manager for imageseven. She is a professional services and education marketing specialist who happens to love copywriting and blogging. She is also particularly fond of interior design magazines and home renovation shows.


Topics: imageseven, Communication, Marcom, Professional services marketing, PSM, Advertising