Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How consulting firms market themselves

Follow the eyeballs.
Consulting firms still rely mainly on their own seminars and speaking at industry events to make themselves known to potential clients. 

Following closely behind are online activities that didn't exist just a few years ago. A survey by The Bloom Group, Bliss PR and The Association of Management Consulting Firms revealed the next activities:
Search engine optimization is third, firm microsites – a pure social media channel – is fourth, and articles authored by consulting firms and published in third-party online channels are fifth. Webinars rank sixth in effectiveness. 
A group of social media activities rank in the middle of the pack: consulting firm pages on social networking sites, discussion forums on firm microsites and other online forums. The remaining social media activities, including Twitter and company blogs, fall toward the bottom of the ranking, just edging out print and online advertising. 
Many of the most effective activities that do not involve social media are nonetheless online and have only emerged in recent years: email newsletters, online video clips, eBooks and podcasts, to name a few. 
A number of traditional marketing activities continue to be important: articles in print publications, books by consultants, and meetings with journalists, for example. 
Clearly, consulting firms have big expectations for social media, the survey's authors write. 
Channels such as microsites and webinars (if they count) are already important components of the marketing mix. However, many others still get uncertain returns. We believe this is because many consulting firms have not yet figured out which channels are most important to them, how to get good returns from them, and how to integrate them into their overall marketing strategy. As firms gain more experience, some of these may disappear from firms’ portfolios, while others gain traction and are integrated into the mix.
I suppose this online shift reflects the growing online orientation of an ever-younger cohort of executives who make the decisions on hiring consultants. Not too long ago many of those decision makers were still having their assistants print out their email.

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