When creating an elevator speech for networking purposes, we were taught to say our name, our role, the company and the services offered. Unfortunately, this habit of focusing on services has leaked into every area of marketing. Especially in professional services marketing, many firms end up looking and sounding the same.
Consider engineering firms. They can describe their engineering, design, surveying or consulting services, but that doesn’t give a potential client much differentiating value. Offering service descriptions is the number one mistake when marketing for engineering firms. This mistake is also why firm leaders don’t believe that websites support leads and business development.
Digging into this mistake further, it’s not wrong to describe your services. Just don’t stop there. Collect and show evidence for your best-in-class services as part of consistent outcome-based research, strategic marketing and messaging.
Let’s look at two other mistakes that lead firms to fall back on service descriptions as their only form of marketing.
Mistake #2: Inconsistent Marketing
Inconsistent marketing can mean two things. It can mean that your marketing messages don’t match your actual deliverables and results. It can also mean that you only pursue marketing when you’re not busy with client work or chasing proposals.
Solve this mistake by investing in marketing with a designated budget that includes an in-house or outsourced marketing professional. In addition, this professional will focus most of the time on marketing with only a portion devoted to developing proposals. Following a consistent marketing plan tied to firm business goals is a great place to start.
To create your marketing plan, discuss your best-in-class results. Where do your clients derive the most value from your services? What problems and challenges do you solve regularly on projects? Who are your superstar professionals whose technical and management skills are lauded by clients? What are those skills?
As you look at what your firm does best beyond delivering projects on time and on budget, your messaging will emerge to support web copy, advertising and differentiation in your proposals.
In a recent series of client of client interviews we conducted, we heard competitive themes about the firm’s reputation among key government agencies for bringing stakeholders together on a project. That message certainly goes beyond service descriptions.
You can identify competitive differentiatiors when you invest in consistent research, marketing strategy and messaging that describes the outcomes you achieve.
Mistake #3: Not Tracking Project Results Along the Way
Because projects take months and even years to complete, it’s important to document positive outcomes throughout the project and keep your marketing professional in the loop. Too often, marketers are left trying to catch up at the close of a project when some of those amazing solutions and experiences are forgotten.
In the early stages and middle stages of projects, put your marketing hat on. You are listening for repeatable experiences that are unique to your team. Ask about ways that your team went above and beyond to solve a challenge or when they utilized a new process or material to manage the timeline or project budget.
Tip: Prepare your questions for a project debrief that include marketing questions.
Ideally, your marketing professional can brainstorm with project managers and technical professionals on challenges overcome, solutions delivered and new technologies utilized. Down the road, these progress reports will support a strong project case study, award submission or testimonials. In the meantime, progress reports can fuel stories for social media or blog posts! An in-progress image coupled with a short story about how your team is moving a project forward can provide the real-life evidence that enhances your traditional service descriptions.
For more tips on marketing for engineering firms, contact us at Ingenuity.