Tiffany Quinn

May 8, 2023

Are you skipping the first 4 steps of your marketing, sales and delivery process?

5 Steps to Thought Leadership Marketing for Professional Services Firms.

In construction, engineering, and architecture we tend to lead with the jobs. Look at all the amazing projects we’ve done! And then we proceed to smorgasbord potential clients with endless photos of buildings and the stuff that went into them in a futile hope that someone will discern something on our tender/website/LinkedIn that will help them achieve their objectives. Here’s the process your marketing really should be following:

1. Define your best self as an organisation, your value proposition. 

This is NOT a slogan! It is the thing that’ll differentiate you from your competitors. You will need to achieve a deep understanding of the value that you deliver to your clients. This value is shaped by a unique combination of your core capabilities, your organisation culture and your purpose - your why.

Metec is a great example of how defining your value proposition can drive your business and branding forward. With their new tagline and value proposition “Reshaping the way you think about building performance”, Metec redefines itself as the unique thought leader in building performance with a competitive advantage. Knowing their value proposition from the start and the unique set of skills they bring to their clients allowed them to find the right clients and successfully closing new deals.

2. Love yourself love your customers. 

Define your ideal client, a client who values what you deliver and how you deliver it. That client - defined by industry/company/offering/size/world view/vision/mission/culture - is what creates the environment that allows you to show up as your best self. Your delivery people thrive in this environment, they have a clear sense of purpose and alignment with the client. This is where the alchemy and harmony happens - in your suitability to work with this client on this project. Love yourself, love your customers. When you have developed a stable of these clients you can avoid the race to the bottom, you are no longer competing on price, but on your unique suitability to achieve their goals.

You can read more on how to define your ideal client and target them here. 

3. Fall in love with the problems.

Define the issues and the results that you are uniquely capable of delivering. Now that you have learned to love your customer, you need to fall in love with their problems - do this rather than shouting about your smorgasbord of projects and solutions! You should be perpetually pursuing a deeper understanding of your clients, their goals, their problems and your unique ability to help them. You need to properly understand what’s standing in the way of what your client wants to achieve. This understanding will facilitate you to provide the logical solution that is best suited to achieve the client’s desired results. It’s worth spending a lot of time on this phase. 

Frontline Energy asked us to help them work through the steps of this process. They spent time to understand who their clients are, the challenges they face and how Frontline Energy can help them to overcome these challenges. The user journey on their new website provides each target audience with their own path that leads them to the specific services they are interested in.

4. Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.  

Develop a clear point of view from your understanding of the problem. This is borne from your people’s expertise, wisdom, and track record. Demonstrating to your client that you truly understand what’s standing in the way of achieving their goals sets you up nicely for the last step - your proposal on how to overcome those issues.

Built Interiors is a great example of how you can use thought leadership content and video to demonstrate your understanding of the problems.

5. The logical formulation of your solution set, and service delivery. 

This is the step to which many of us gleefully (and thoughtlessly) skip! Based on the work done in steps 1-4, this should be a set of solutions that has been custom-built to tackle the problems and deliver the results that you have spent so much time exploring with the client. The client will have come on this journey with you so that when they see the set of solutions you’ve built they will agree that this is the perfect methodology to tackle the problems and achieve their goals. It’s a natural result from the research you have done together. It's important that you keep this solution set simple, clear and bespoke - rather than throwing suggestions at the wall and hoping that something will stick. 

If you want to talk to Tiff about these 5 steps and how they can help you differentiate yourself from the rest, get in touch.

Let’s workshop your why

Find your why
Marketing that benefits all aspects of your organisation through the alchemy of story telling, strategy and design.
Cookie Consent

By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.