More professional service firms today are investing in experienced marketing teams led by chief marketing officers (CMOs). Some of these leaders are even getting the opportunity to become shareholders while leading teams that range from designers and content specialists to digital marketing managers, proposal teams and analysts.
Even so, there are times on larger marketing teams when an outside perspective is necessary for the following three reasons:
- Time constraints
- Independent analysis and insights
- Creative inspiration
Depending on the project, all three areas can come into play. For success, you need relationships with consultants who understand professional services marketing and the sophistication of the clients you serve.
#1 Time Constraints for Marketing Strategy
When your team is already busy, taking on the challenge of a new website or a niche campaign project can feel overwhelming. The firm has determined these goals for the coming year, and you already know that time is not on your side.
Another challenge that can occur is during turnover on your team. You lose a key professional, and your rhythm is thrown off until someone can be hired. This is the perfect time to draw from your connections already developed with outsourced professionals. It’s not the time to take a chance on an agency that’s untried in your industry.
#2 Independent Analysis and Recommendations
Sometimes your team is too close to your marketing strategy or branding to get a clear perspective on what’s happening with analytics, content or client perceptions. Projects such as website or SEO audits, third-party client or referral research and analysis of the data can bring broader recommendations to support your strategy.
In addition, my may outsource projects such as client surveys and niche industry research to support broader promotion and participation as well as independent analysis and recommendations that leaders can feel confident about sharing in a final report.
#3 Igniting your Creative Inspiration
This third reason is not needed as frequently as the other two, but at times visual creativity can fix wordy proposals, website copy and marketing collateral. Bringing in a fresh perspective can help you communicate your value visually and in fewer words.
Entire processes and approaches can be rendered visually as infographics. Core values can be illustrated with icons. There are many ways to go beyond bullet points and subheadings when you collaborate with a fresh design team that understands professional services marketing.
Marketing Solutions for Professionals
When you determine that your marketing team could use an outside specialist, you will need to consider:
- The flexibility of your marketing budget and a reasonable fee for the level of project
- Your role in the project as a marketing leader and how much to delegate to your team and to the outsourced specialist
- The desired timeline for starting and finalizing the project, and any room for flexibility
- How you will define success for your team and the specialist in order to measure results
- The communications strategy with firm leaders on why you need a specialist for the project
- An understanding of next steps with the final project and how the outside specialist can ensure effective implementation and ROI.
A firm with a large marketing team may find it harder to justify bringing on an outside marketing specialist unless you factor these considerations ahead of proposing it to the firm. Even if outsourcing is already built into your marketing budget, make sure to map out your purpose and collaboration from day one so that everyone is on the same page.
Marketing is not about the leads and new business you have now. Just like project planning and accurate financial statements, marketing planning is vital for attracting future business. Can you afford to just hope that leads and referrals appear in your competitive market? Stay visible with consistent marketing strategy and engaging professionals who specialize in it.