Marketing and Design for higher education and professional services513.681.4105

When was that last conversation with your clients?
When did you last ask your clients what information they need in order to decide to do business with your company? What are they looking for when deciding if your company is a good fit with their needs? Was it in the last six months…five years…never?

Business owners and marketing teams struggle with barebones staff
Lean marketing teams are common today in professional services firms. Business owners and marketing directors struggle with limited time and resources to get their marketing communications planned, developed, and implemented. In the frenzy of keeping up with each external marketing channels—websites, social media, advertising, and print—we forget to keep a pulse on what clients are looking for in selecting a professional services firm. With limited budgets and human capital, it’s even more important to include potential client and current clients in the conversation.

Looking only within excludes one of the most important stakeholders—clients!
Guessing which factors your clients use to decide whether or not to choose your services, without their input, is a poor use of limited time and resources. Instead of asking them directly what they use to make that decision, leadership teams often have conversations amongst themselves, taking an educated stab at the perfect brand themes to push out to potential clients to pull them in.

Mismatch between your brand messages and your target clients needs
What would research data tell us about those educated guesses? How do your picks of messaging and brand themes match the information that potential clients are searching for? Data from a recent survey conducted by management and consulting firm McKinsey & Company, offers some surprising answers.

McKinsey reviewed publicly available documents of Fortune 500 and DAX 30 companies to compile a list of brand themes and topics that B2B companies were using to position their brand. The brand themes the top 90 global B2B companies pushed in their marketing included, in descending order of importance:

  • Role models in corporate social responsibility
  • Sustainable practices in its products or services
  • Global reach
  • Shape the directions of the market
  • Drivers of innovation

So how do these brand themes match what clients want? According to McKinsey’s survey of 700 global executives, there is a hefty mismatch. Here is what the client’s ranked as important to brand strength, in descending order of importance:

  • Cares about honest, open dialogue with its customers and society
  • Acts responsibly across its supply chain
  • Has a high level of specialist expertise
  • Fits well with my values and beliefs
  • Is a leader in its field

For more insights see the entire article from McKinsey & Company website.

Gain insight from your unique clients
Next time you craft content and key themes for your next marketing campaign, get to the essence of what your clients are measuring you up against. Develop laser-focused marketing communications by bringing your clients into the conversation. Using this information will help you influence the perception of your brand—and gain you clients.

Need help with client research?
Parkey Design can help you with customized marketing research, competitive analysis, and usability testing to capture your client’s thinking. With the research results, you can refine your brand’s themes and messages to increase the impact of your marketing communications.

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