When business is good, it’s easy to think you have a crystal clear picture of your target audience. You’re confident that you know who they are, where you can reach them, and what criteria they use to evaluate prospective service providers. The ship is sailing smoothly, but how shallow is the sea? You won’t know until you cast out a lead line.
Does your current brand strategy address a changing marketplace?
We are conducting business in an interesting time. It’s not uncommon for firms to have a multigenerational workforce, including many Millennials eager to prove their worth. In the coming years, more and more businesses will be captained by people in this demographic.
As a result, professional service firms need to understand how these young professionals operate and what motivates them—then adjust their brand strategy accordingly. Doing so will help convince young leaders at existing clients to stay with their service provider, and it builds bridges to up-and-coming business prospects.
But a younger workforce isn’t the only evolution in the marketplace. Buyers are changing how they evaluate and select professional service providers. Before even reaching out for a conversation, 80% of prospective buyers have already looked at a potential service provider’s website. And when the service firm is a referral, buyers rule them out 50% of the time after reviewing the firm’s website. So it’s important that the messages on your firm’s website and marketing materials resonate with your ideal prospects.
When was the last time you formally investigated your target audience? If it’s been over a year (or perhaps never), it may be time to do the due diligence and get to know your target audience all over again.
How can research improve your brand strategy?
Some professional services firms have embraced the opportunity to stay current with their target audience, paying dividends in the form of revenue growth. In fact, our recent research shows high-growth firms are 2X as likely to conduct annual research on their target audience than their peers that experience little or no growth.
Regular research calibrates your strategy and messaging, keeping them relevant to your target audience. Below are 5 ways research can improve your brand strategy.
1. Better communicate how your services address client challenges
- By understanding which challenges or priorities are top of mind for your clients, you can tailor your value proposition to address how your services solve those challenges. This helps your firm stay relevant in the minds of your prospective clients.
2. Increase lead generation and nurturing
- Knowing how your clients go about finding, evaluating and selecting service providers is powerful. This market intelligence gives you the tools to get in front of more of your best prospects and speak to the issues that matter most to them.
3.Learn how your internal staff perceives and talks about your brand
- Conduct internal research to find out how your staff talks to clients about your value proposition and services. You’ll discover critical disconnects between what clients expect to hear and what your team is actually saying.
4. Articulate your firm’s market position and how you are different from competitors
- Your clients are in the best position to identify your top competitors, what they are known for and how your firm is different. This qualitative aspect of brand research provides the blueprint for your brand positioning and messaging.
5.Establish baseline firm performance metrics to track over time
- Brand research is at its best when it balances qualitative research with quantitative analysis. This allows you to measure powerful metrics such as:
- Relevancy – how relevant are your services to clients?
- Value – how valuable are the services you provide?
- Delivery – how well do you do what you say you will do?
- Loyalty – how likely are your clients to work with you in the future?
- Recommend – how likely are your clients to recommend your firm? What is your Net Promoter Score?
- Referrals – have your clients referred your firm? What were the circumstances?
These data provide you with the insights you need to adjust your brand strategy in an evolving marketplace.
- Learn how you can become a Visible Expert®. Read the book that cracks the nut wide open.
- Check out Hinge University, the premier place on the Web where professional services go to learn new marketing skills and grow their firms.
- Dig deeper into your clients. Download The Professional Services Guide to Research.
How Hinge Can Help:
Hinge is a global leader in helping professional services firms grow faster and become more profitable. Our research-based strategies are designed to be implemented. In fact, our groundbreaking Visible Firm® program combines strategy, implementation, training and more.