Some marketing campaigns are iconic. Nike’s “Just Do It”, Apple’s “Think Different” and my Nike/Apple/David mashup, “Just Think About Chocolate” all come to mind.
You don’t need iconic marketing to build awareness of your consulting firm. But doesn’t your consulting firm’s marketing need to be at least, well, passably okay?
As you know, there are Five Marketing Musts for consulting firms: writing, speaking, networking, trade associations (a.k.a. partnerships), and digital presence. (If you didn’t know that, then skim through this book.)
All five approaches require you to communicate with potential prospects. Your consulting firm must convey a neatly tailored, well-crafted articulation of your value proposition, right?
Wrong. Well, partly wrong.
Every marketing channel, from one-on-one conversations to speeches to websites, merges what you say (the message) with how you say it (the delivery).
To optimize your consulting firm’s visibility efforts, follow two best practices that separate message from delivery:
Prioritize Message over Delivery
Don’t worry too much about how well you articulate your consulting firm’s message until you’re sure your message is good.
Does delivery matter? YES. It makes a huge difference. However, you rarely do harm with mediocre (or even poor) delivery of a solid value proposition.
Proof point: Victor Kiam’s classic Remington advertisement. The guy who “liked the shaver so much he bought the company” was clearly not an actor and his lines were partly mumbled. Yet, his message was solid and sold a bazillion electric razors.
Conversely, keep in mind that all the marketing in the world won’t help your consulting firm if your offering is irrelevant.
Prioritize Marketing over Message
Don’t delay marketing while you’re fine tuning your consulting firm’s offering and identifying your compelling, relevant value proposition.
Toss your half-baked, rough-around-the-edges ideas into the marketplace, then welcome the feedback and direction prospects offer your consulting firm.
When your consulting firm’s message is so strong that it succeeds despite less-than-stellar delivery, you know you’re on the right track.
Proof point: Airbnb’s original marketing focused on renting out spare rooms, and the photographs of many rental spaces appeared to have been shot by a toddler wielding a 1973 Kodak Instamatic. Market feedback steered the company toward emphasizing full-home/apartment rentals. That idea, more than the improvements in marketing (which remained poor), catapulted Airbnb’s success.
Get into the market and test value propositions until you find one that truly resonates with your consulting firm’s prospects. Then fine tune the delivery of that message.
Mediocre (and even bad) delivery is unlikely to hurt your consulting firm, and if a sub-par campaign generates useful feedback on your consulting firm’s message, then you’re coming out ahead.
Have you ever had success despite a mediocre marketing attempt?
Text and images are © 2024 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.