In January, 40 years ago, the legendary ‘80s philosopher Phil Collins sang ‘I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh lord’. I’m pretty sure professional services marketing wasn’t on his mind, but you can never be certain…
Now, as we start a new year, it certainly feels like there is something in the air. It might be that feeling we have when we close the door on another busy year and welcome the opportunities a new one brings. Or perhaps it’s the ominous clouds bubbling up on the horizon that suggest tough economic times ahead.
Many of us will remember clearly the 2007/08 financial crash and how the professional services sector responded. The more recent experiences of the global pandemic have shown how firms can pivot and reinvent themselves. Marketing and business development teams have been central in both.
There is little doubt that in 2023 we will continue to see pressure on client fees. Whether a global giant with an army of advisers, an owner-managed business or a private individual, all will be looking to get the best value for their spend. In some instances, that will mean a consolidation of work to a smaller number of firms. For others, it will mean a cut in fees.
But unlike previous economic slowdowns, I believe marketing and business development teams find themselves in a much stronger position. Colleagues across our firms are as busy as they have ever been and turn to their marketing and business development teams for business-as-usual support and, more importantly, guidance and direction. We will be front and centre.
‘Why have a marketing team and then tell them what to do?’ asks Mills & Reeve Managing Partner Claire Clarke in our lead article. It is a theme that is echoed throughout this issue of PM Magazine.
Here, we offer professional services marketers in all disciplines both advice and challenges to embrace in 2023 that will protect and grow revenues and will improve the way we work.
Protect and grow
I am grateful to Dominic Ayres for his first-class article on cross-selling and the strategy tips he offers. It is essential reading. So too is the article from Keith Hardie and Louise Hall, who look outside the professional services sector at the lessons that can be learned from SaaS marketers.
The former Brethertons CEO, Shaun Jardine, is one of the sector’s value- based pricing evangelists and explains how and why today’s professional services firms should look to move away from the billable hour. Marketing and BD teams, he argues, should be at the heart of that decision-making.
I would also like to thank three further contributors to this issue of the magazine. All address how we better communicate through the written word.
Journalist and educator James Lumley provides a terrific guide to better writing, and Simon Marshall and Matthew Rowe give an insight into the language we use. We will never be ‘delighted to announce’ again! I am sure all three will be sharpening their pencils and rewriting this column.
I hope you enjoy and find useful this issue of the magazine and wish you a happy and prosperous new year.