Behind every business success is a simple idea. That's because simple ideas are potent. They stick in the mind like darts. They are easy to grasp, jutting out from the clutter of our lives, compelling us to reach out and take hold.

As professional services marketers, it's our job to find that simple and compelling idea that makes our firm different and dangle it like a piece of candy in front of our target audience. If this image sounds silly or superficial, think again. This is exactly how marketers have encouraged us to try new products for decades. It is why we pick up that unfamiliar new book at Barnes & Nobel (it was conspicuously positioned, front cover out, on the shelf). It is how we try new foods at the grocery store. Things that are simply presented, new and different are difficult to resist.

But does this analogy really apply to professional services firms? After all, there aren't many impulse buys in the service industries — the buying cycle is far too long. Right?

There is a difference, of course. I can spend $20 on a new business book without thinking much about it. But when tens of thousands of dollars are at stake, the decision process becomes a lot more deliberate.

But marketing isn't concerned with closing the sale. It's about attracting attention and creating desire. And when it comes to generating leads, human behavior works exactly the same whether you are looking for a new IT firm or a new bottle of wine. Different is interesting. And if the idea — the reason your firm is different — is simply presented, people will be drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

It's up to your sales team to follow up on the initial interest, build the relationship and close the deal. It's your job as marketing executive to produce the leads. And fresh, simply articulated ideas are a powerful tool to attract prospective clients.

What's your firm's angle?