Repositioning a boutique firm as an industry leader
Vault Consulting is a 50-person firm with offices in Northern Virginia and Charlotte, North Carolina. Spun off from a forensic accounting firm, Vault had already grown larger than their parent company. But they had ambitions to become more visible among their core target audience: membership organizations and associations. They also wanted to build a more focused, productive digital marketing program—one that would spring them to national prominence.
“Hinge has been invaluable to us for the past two years. We have learned about ourselves as a company and how to better market to our target audiences. I consider them an essential part of our marketing team.”
When they approached Hinge, Vault was already an unusual firm. Part outsourced accounting firm, part research firm, they brought a unique suite of services to their membership and association clients. And they already had clients across the country. But they knew there was a great deal of untapped growth potential. If they could only figure out how to reach more of their audience. We knew right away we could help.
Preparing for success
After speaking at great length with their management team, we learned a lot about their firm and their goals. But to get a true understanding of Vault’s marketplace, we needed to speak directly with their clients, too. Our team of researchers arranged interview calls with twenty clients across both their accounting and research segments. While many of our findings came as a surprise to Vault, we uncovered a wealth of hidden strengths upon which to build their positioning.
A new leadership position
When Vault engaged us, their positioning had some promise but lacked sharp focus: “We partner with nonprofits, associations, and their members to advance their missions with confidence.” And they weren’t sure how to best message their firm to audiences who didn’t know them.
We believed Vault could stake a leadership position in the marketplace. Their two service lines—accounting and research—combined with their exclusive focus on nonprofits put them in an exclusive niche. They simply needed to claim it.
After a review of their competitive landscape, we positioned them as “the nation’s leading accounting and research firm for nonprofits and associations.” At the same time, our brand research revealed Vault’s exceptional strength in client service. With an NPS score of 95, they far outperformed the industry benchmark—and supplied another piece of their positioning. We also articulated the value they deliver: “We not only establish the sound financial foundation you need to address today’s most urgent challenges, we conduct the original research it takes to understand the changing needs of your members, engage them more deeply and uncover potentially lucrative new opportunities.”
At last, they had plenty to talk about.
Marketing with authority
Vault was already producing some thought leadership content when we first met them, but they needed a coherent digital marketing strategy to make the most of it. Hinge developed a detailed plan and editorial calendar that played to their firm’s strengths. We showed them how to turn their blog into a consistent generator of high-quality web visitors. Then we developed valuable content, including two in-depth executive guides, they could use to turn those web visitors into serious prospects. And we are developing a sophisticated email marketing, social media and webinar strategy to promote their content and nurture new prospects over time. In addition, using the research and our internal PR database, we identified key guest writing and speaking opportunities for Vault’s experts.
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A more perfect website
Vault had recently redesigned their website, but we identified a number of features and optimizations that would make it a true high performer. Our design, marketing and development teams recommended and implemented improvements to Vault’s site navigation, calls to action, services pages, blog filtering, search optimization and many other features throughout the website. Today, it is more intuitive to use, more engaging and primed to generate a steady stream of high-quality online leads.
Pitch with confidence
Professional services firms often struggle to differentiate themselves during business development conversations and pitches. Vault was no different. Building upon our earlier positioning work, we developed elevator pitch language for each of their target audiences. Then we conducted a half-day workshop with key stakeholders to equip them to deliver a differentiated, relevant and engaging message to each audience.
Primed for growth
Since engaging Hinge, Vault has experienced improvements in several key areas. Their website is engaging visitors like never before. Their experts are more visible to their target audiences. A brand new service line—outsourced HR services—quickly picked up two clients. And the firm has even had to turn away non-core business that they would have taken in the past. They are preparing for a leap in exposure and growth.
What we did
Visible Firm Program
- Brand Research
- Differentiators & Positioning
- Marketing Strategy
- Editorial Calendar
- Writing/Content Development
- Executive Guide Writing and Production
- Webinar Promotion and Email Advisory
- Social Media Training
- Guest Blogging and Speaking Outreach & Negotiation
- Marketing Implementation Support
- Public Relations
- Monthly Analytics Reporting
- Ongoing Mentoring, Training & Consultation
- Website Audit
- Automated Lead-Generation Strategy
- Offer Strategy & Writing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Website Development
- Ongoing Performance Reporting
- Facilitated Workshop
- Elevator Pitches for Different Audiences
- PR training
- Speaking Opportunity and Media Engagement Research
- Speaking Engagement Proposal Support