The marketing of consulting services needs to move beyond pens, pamphlets and parties.
“We need to be talking to the c-suite.”
“We should to be advising on strategy, that’s where we can add the most value.”
“Prospects should view us as providing consultancy, not just delivering services.”
Phrases like these are said in the boardrooms of almost all service businesses. But how can they be achieved?
Whether it’s accountants trying to expand from audits, or law firms pushing to move beyond drafting contracts, everyone’s got their eyes on growth and the larger fees that come from consulting.
The problem is that while audits need to be conducted and contracts need to be drafted, consulting isn’t a practical, day-to-day business need. Companies have to want it.
So how, in the eyes of your clients, do you move from the supplier of services to the provider of advice?
The answer is to learn from the business sector that is the ultimate embodiment of want over need: luxury.
Luxury marketing is all about the brand. Having defined its mission, vision and values, a company has a framework for creating a consistent experience for everyone it comes in contact with.
Everything from your marketing strategy to the way you answer the phone can be defined consistently and simply if you have a strong brand. To some, ensuring a consistent approach to details may seem excessive, but anyone in luxury will tell you it’s the details that count. If you want to deliver a truly consistent customer experience, you need a brand framework through which you choose the details.
Another hallmark of luxury is that not everyone can have it. For consulting firms, this has two very specific applications.
The first is that your customers need to feel exclusive. Small gatherings, hard to access venues or tightly controlled attendance are key. Yes, it’s a little cutthroat but people like to feel special.
The second is that you cannot do everything. You can’t cover every sector and every specialism. If you do, then you’re not luxury, you’re mass market.
What don’t you do?
Indeed, being mass market really is the crux of the problem for most firms. Partners and directors want big fees but are often uncertain when deciding what their firm does and, crucially, what it doesn’t do. A well-defined brand can help work through that problem. It’s the first step in starting those c-suite conversations.