In a noisy world where demands on our time come from every direction, it has never been more important to listen to what clients tell us, and then act.

There is much to celebrate in the professional services marketing community. Whether taking the first steps in a career or leading a team, we bring knowledge, insights and expertise to our firms and colleagues daily.

Those contributions are widely recognised and applauded by colleagues, peers and, of course, the PM Forum. We celebrate some of those achievements in this issue of PM Magazine.

But it is important to stop, take a step back and learn from those outside our immediate community. Just as politicians are often accused of living in the ‘Westminster bubble’, we too can be consumed by our work and the often-inward nature of professional services marketing.

How often do we as marketers stop and ask whether what we do is really what the client wants or would find helpful? How often do we defend and fight for that brilliant campaign idea, or are we happy to accept compromise? And how often are we prepared to try something truly different, knowing perhaps that that difficult partner will be quick to criticise?

Our interview with Vodafone UK’s General Counsel and Company Secretary Andrew Yorston hints at this challenge.

He admits to rarely reading the 20 or more marketing emails he receives from law firms every day. For a firm’s efforts to stand out, it needs to be “genuinely groundbreaking, an author with credibility, or an industry lens that makes it relevant”. His interview suggests they are missing the mark.

Client listening programmes might be seen as the answer, but here too are problems. Some firms are very good at listening, acting and reporting back, says Yorston, but others will hold an hour-long call and then all but disappear.

He calls for firms to take “time off the clock” and get to know what the client priorities really are.

It is a call echoed by Faith Wheller, the Marketing Director of Intuit QuickBooks. “Growth-minded start-ups are tech-savvy… and accountancy firms need to embrace that,” she tells PM. “Marketers in accountancy firms need to understand client pain points and how they use technology.”

In a noisy world where demands on our time come from every direction, it has never been more important to listen to what clients tell us, and then act. And the PM Forum can help.

This magazine provides the first opportunity. This edition brings some fantastic insights from all corners of our community. It should be essential reading.

The PM Forum’s annual conference, Staying ahead of the curve on 29 September, provides the second opportunity to take time out from the hustle of the busy day to hear from new voices, share experiences, discover new learning, and catch up with old friends and make new ones.

I hope you enjoy this edition of PM Magazine and welcome your thoughts and suggestions for future contributions.

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