Leadership Transition: Marketing’s Pivotal Role in a New Leader’s Success

By Elizabeth Harr

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If you are a new CEO or managing partner, recently tapped to lead your firm into the future, you’ve got plenty to worry about: mastering day-to-day operations, building staff morale, evaluating your service mix, addressing changes in the marketplace—maybe even turning around a struggling business.

Typically, marketing gets little notice in the initial months of a leadership transition as more “urgent” matters demand your attention. But in recent years, marketing has undergone a fundamental—even radical—change, and it’s potential to affect a professional services firm’s fortunes are profound. More often than not, however, this potential goes untapped as leaders fail to appreciate how taking a new approach to marketing can make an enormous positive difference.

In this article, I describe this revolutionary approach to marketing, why it is so relevant to new leaders like you and what steps you need to take now to start your firm on the road to greater visibility, growth and profits.

But I’d like to begin this journey at the end. What’s the likely payoff for retooling your marketing machine? And why do it now, when there are so many other priorities competing for your time and energy?

Benefits of High-Growth Marketing

My colleagues and I have been studying high-growth professional services firms for the past ten years. This ever-growing body of research is helping us understand what the most successful firms do differently than average firms. According to our most recent High-Growth Study, these firms enjoy significant advantages over their no-growth peers:

  • Median annual growth rate of 34.3%
  • Twice the profitability (20% versus 10%)
  • Higher median revenue per employee ($180,000 versus $152,000)
  • Much higher levels of visibility and perceived expertise
  • A 215% increase on average in online leads within the first year

These are typical numbers. Some firms, of course, experience even more impressive performance. And their secret isn’t better people or processes. Instead, it’s a commitment to a new way of marketing, one that emphasizes thought leadership and visibility over personal connections and networking. In short, what you know is more important than whom you know.

Making this transition to knowledge-based marketing means thinking about and implementing marketing differently. And there is no more perfect moment to institute this kind of change than during a leadership transition. This is your opportunity to transform your new firm.

How Is Modern, High-Growth Marketing Different? And How Does it Work?

Unlike its traditional antecedents, modern marketing is no longer an isolated outpost tasked with supporting sales. It’s deeply integrated into the entire business, and it changes the way business development is performed. In fact, it penetrates to the very heart of the professional organization — its corps of experts.

To understand why today’s high-growth approach is revolutionary, it helps to contrast it with conventional professionals services marketing. Traditional marketing focuses on three goals:

  1. Building brand awareness
  2. Promoting the features and benefits of the firm’s services and products
  3. Creating personal relationships and nurturing them through repeated contact over time

Let’s take a moment and examine these goals one by one.

Firms typically tackle the brand awareness problem by investing in advertising (print, radio/TV, Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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