Survey on Professional Services Marketing Reveals Inconsistencies in Marketing Expectations and Efforts

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The Professional Services Marketing Report reveals the views and challenges of marking within the professional services sector.

Hollinden | positioning. process. people.

Hollinden | positioning. process. people.

Busy is not marketing. Marketing in the 21st century demands a well thought out strategy aligned with a firm’s goals and supported by active, consistent marketing tactics.

Hollinden | positioning. process. people. (Hollinden), the strategic marketing consultancy for professional service firms, has released the results of its annual Professional Services Marketing Survey, confirming the importance of a comprehensive marketing strategy to grow revenues, as well as to attract top talent.

More than 550 professionals from accounting, engineering, construction, consulting, law, finance and real estate firms completed the online survey, sharing their views on how marketing and business development are evolving and what role marketing plays in their firm.

“Busy is not marketing. Marketing in the 21st century demands a well thought out strategy aligned with a firm’s goals and supported by active, consistent marketing tactics,” remarked Christine M. Hollinden, MBA, CPSM, founder and principal of Hollinden. “Sustainable growth doesn’t happen overnight. Like any other investment, firms must allocate the appropriate amount of resources in the efforts that produce the greatest results.”

Key Findings:

  •      31.82% of firms stated that the primary reason their marketing efforts were inactive due to a lack of time and resources. However, the marketing participants noted the lack of support for marketing from firm leadership as a major concern. It all starts from the top. Firm leadership must embrace marketing and hold their team accountable.

  •      More than 75% of accounting firms posted revenue growth as the primary purpose of marketing. Only 1.25% of professional service firms see talent attraction as a primary purpose of marketing. Studies estimate a significant talent gap within the next 5 years. Talent recruitment and retention is no longer just a human resources issue, it is a human resources and marketing issue.

  •      More than 80% of firms allocate less than 5% of gross revenues to marketing with nearly 31% spending less than 1%. Firms must invest money to make money. It’s important to know where to invest – information that can only be ascertained if firms are measuring ROI. . . which they are not.

  •      84.34% of respondents said they are not calculating marketing ROI. It isn’t surprising that firms aren’t investing proper amounts to marketing since they are not measuring the return.

  •      More firms were venturing into social media and other e-marketing tactics. However, little to no strategy supported those efforts. Only 9.9% of firms are using Google AdWords – surprising since most firms are in highly competitive markets and, based on our audits of web presence in some major markets, their web sites are far from optimized. Simply put, firms are not making it easy for prospective clients to find them on the web.

  •      10% of firms have begun experimenting with marketing automation tools with Act-On, HubSpot and Marketo referenced as the most popular tools. Marketing automation is a powerful tool to leverage resources and turn a website into a lead and revenue-generating tool.

  •      The survey reveals that only 51.04% of firms were using a CRM with Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce listed for accounting firms while Cosential and Deltek dominated the A/E/C sector. This is a disturbing statistic since that implies that the other 49% are trusting spreadsheets, address books, Outlook, among other similar tools to hold valuable client and prospect information. The percentage of accounting firms is even lower with only 40% stating they were using a CRM.

  •      Having an ‘extensive and strong professional network’ is still THE most important element of success. Younger professionals are seeking employment at firms with progressive, innovative cultures that value team work and mentorship. 16.92% of respondents stated that ‘just do good work and nothing else matters’ as their primary key to success. We know that just isn’t good enough in today’s competitive environment.

A complete copy of the 2014 Professional Services Marketing survey report may be downloaded at:

About Hollinden
For more than 20 years, Hollinden has helped clients align positioning, processes and people to generate leads and attract top talent.

The Hollinden Branding Protocol© is a proprietary process providing strategic marketing and branding services that leads clients through goal setting, branding and positioning to the development and implementation of specific tactics. Hollinden serves service-based firms including accounting, consulting, engineering, financial, insurance, information technology, human resources, architectural, construction, and real estate.

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