Consultants are people that engage in deep thinking, using several tools they can think of for at their disposal, to work for their clients. Independent consultants know that having their consulting business website is more important than ever before. The reason is simple: the world has gone digital, and a review of a consulting business’s portfolio will definitely include a review of their online presence. Management consulting firms know that important things to note is that the firms create their brands. So, it becomes important to create marketing strategies for consulting firms and their practise.
Website and Online Systems
Every business out there has developed a website. Some develop brochure-style websites that showcases who the consulting company is and the work they do. However, people thrive and need to engage with something better than that. People want to read more; they want to see more from the websites than some stilted pages that is all about the firm.
The websites built by consulting firms have increasingly become strong digital assets that, over time, helps to position the firm and also serves a differentiation function for the company that owns the website. The reason is simple: in many cases, potential clients base their decision of whether to approach a firm based on the information available on the firm’s website. The consulting firm website is not just a website, neither is it an end to itself. The website is only one of many digital tools that aggregates to form the entirety of the business assets a company can rely on to prospect for clients and position themselves in their chosen niche market.
In the past, consulting practices and boutique firms focused on delivering their knowledge to their chosen clients. However, times have changed. It is no longer enough for a consulting firm anywhere to say that they can do something; they have to be able to demonstrate the capacity to do whatever they position themselves as being capable of to their potential clients. Since there is no way for the consulting firm to showcase their capacity for a specter of work, the only way is to showcase their thought leadership.
A potential client that sees a white paper from a consulting company in Nigeria or anywhere else which deals on the market friction the client wants to solve, will more happily go with that company over another company. Clients and prospects want to see proof, and the best proof to show to these clients is proof of previous work and thought leadership. The former shows that you have worked with companies that have market frictions to solve and you have helped solve these frictions. The latter shows that you have deep industry knowledge of the market, enough to show that the clients can trust your work and judgment.
Some consulting firms come into the market without much proof of previous work; perhaps they’re new to the market. Perhaps the consultants working within the firm do not have enough body of work to showcase to potential clients. However, in spite of these—or rather, because of these—it becomes imperative for the consulting firm to showcase their thought leadership. Now, they have to do this with more dedication and tenacity than more established counterparts who already have a thick slice of the market share.
How do you influence consumer perception regarding your Brand in relation to the Brands of your competitors? What do you aim with market positioning? To establish an identity for your Brand so that people will perceive the brand a certain way.
Differentiation among Consulting Companies and Competitors
What makes you different? What precisely do you have to offer that the competition cannot offer to the client? The most beautiful website on the Internet will not cut it. The most beautiful marketing materials that showcases how great your consulting firm will not cut it. Fancy brand design and streamlined guidelines will not cut it. If you have a smaller consulting firm, it becomes easier because these types of firms usually market to a smaller segment of the market and address smaller sets of business issues.
For the larger consulting firms that handle various multi-faceted business problems, differentiation is more difficult. In this circumstance, what precisely makes your firm different from the others? The services you provide will not be enough differentiation because the other larger consulting firms provide the same or similar service. In this case, focusing attention on thought leadership and the soft sellable skills of the partners and lead consultants becomes an important factor for market differentiation for these larger consulting practices.
Note that the focus here is not the larger consulting firms with big slices of the market share, but on smaller consulting practices seeking to gain a foothold in the market.
From the above, marketing strategies for consulting firms is not simple. But it is important.