How to turn intellectual assets into a true differentiator for your firm
Professional services are intangible. You can’t see them sitting on a shelf as you pass them. They have to be explained. Thus, the challenge in marketing professional services is much harder than marketing any other types of products or, indeed, some services. That’s mostly because they are largely based on technical and niche expertise.
So, how do you do that effectively? We have a unique system for that:
- First, you collate a list of services you provide and the sectors you target
- Then you look at all those that set you apart from the competitors, all in an effort to find the true differentiators
- And then you look at your target markets for evidence of delivery.
However, all of this is not enough. Your differentiator can’t be just anything. It has to be accurate, relevant, and provable. Those three are the key requirements for finding good differentiators.
Use a simple, 5-step strategy
To truly develop those key differentiators unique to your firm, you need to do the following:
1. Find your individual expertise
It might sound straightforward, as you already know you are an expert in your field. However, every professional services firm in your industry is an expert in that industry. That’s why you need to find a way to set yourself apart. Think about what specific expertise you have that is worth promoting. It should be broad enough to appeal to your market, but it should still be specific enough to resonate personally to their business issues and to set you apart for noticing.
2. Research the market
The next step is to do thorough research. You need to find out what your prospects need and how to position your firm as their sorely needed solution. Conducting thorough research is vital in this step.
3. Develop the differentiators
After you’ve done the research, you’ll finally be in a position to develop your differentiators. Create a list of the ones you think are a good choice for you and then evaluate each one according to the criteria we mentioned in the beginning. The ideal result of this effort is a strong list of at least three specific, strong differentiators. They may even be part of the same problem, possibly one stepping stone to another.
4. Create a good story
Now it’s time to create a good story to market your differentiators effectively. See how you can communicate them and your expertise to your potential clients. If you manage to create a good story for this, you will have a foolproof way of engaging and nurturing your prospects and turning them into clients. The mediums you should use are your website, blog posts, speaking engagements, eBooks, webinars, and, most importantly – thought leadership.
5. Inspect and change
Now that your strategy is developed, you still need to do some fine-tuning to reach that exact message that will truly resonate with potential clients. Inspect the results you get and change them accordingly to seek perfection. But don’t rest, fine tuning is a constant process.
Also, don’t worry if your strategy falls short – this is not a foolproof way of turning your intellectual assets into great differentiators. You will have to do research once again if your strategy fails, and develop a new one. The important thing is that when you succeed, it will be worth it. Also, if you need help, feel free to contact us.