Guerilla Marketing for PM

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    According to an old saying, You cant get fired for hiring IBM.Well, those days are long gone.

    Today, clients make the best choices, not the best-known choices. The name on your business cardmay get you in the door, but todays clients are seeking talent, not firm names.

    The competition for new work is not between firms, but between people and their ideas. Yourmarketing must convey more than buzzwords; it must tell the full story of the talents and potential

    benefits you can offer clients.

    Guerrilla marketing extends beyond selling and completingprojectsit applies to everything you do.

    Your firms name, its services, methods of delivering services, pricing plan, the location of

    your office, and how you promote your practice are all part of guerrilla marketing. And there ismuch more, including the clients with whom you choose to work, how you answer the telephone,

    even how you design your invoices and envelopes. The object of guerrilla marketing is to buildand maintain profitable relationships, not merely to get clients.

    As a consultant, you face a vastly different challenge than those who

    sell cereal or toothpaste. You are the product and, unlike a bottle of mouthwash, your services areexpensive, intangible, and sold before they are produced. Your success hinges on the relationships

    you forge and the quality of your work. You must focus all your efforts on those

    factors: Its your guerrilla mission.Everyone you deal withespecially your clientsmust beconvinced that you will always deliver what you have promised.

    Traditional Marketing Guerrilla Marketing

    Central to the business Is the business

    Fuzzy message Focused messageConsultant-focused Insight-based

    Invest money Build intellectual assets

    Build brand identity Build client relationships

    Enhance revenue Enhance profitCreate media perception Reveal reality

    Tell and sell Listen and serve

    One size fits all One size fits noneTake market share Create markets

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    Clients and prospects have zero tolerance for marketing fluff,

    but a deep thirst for ideas that can help them. Selling services isnot just about price, qualifications, or your firms long string of

    success stories. First and foremost, it is about the insights and

    ideas you bring to clients. If you cant provide great ideas, youmight as well stay home.

    SIX PRINCIPLES OF GUERRILLA MARKETING

    FOR CONSULTANTS

    Principle 1: Insight-Based Marketing Wins

    Your insights into an industry, a discipline, or a specific company should be the fuel for your

    guerrilla marketing plan. Your qualifications may get you that first client meeting, but the ideasyou propose will be your strongest selling points.

    Clients also ignore jargon-rich and content-free messages. Theyhave become desensitized to such messages and skeptical about

    whether they reflect reality.

    Consultants are often hesitant to disclose their best insights intheir marketing materials. However, insights are the guerrillas ultimate weapon. They cut through

    the marketing morass. Frame your marketing to help clients resolve urgent, substantive issues.Give them original, insightful, and valuable ideas at every step of the marketing process.

    Dont be afraid that you will give too much away before you are hired. Howard Aiken, co-inventorof one of the worlds first computers, advises, Dont worry about people stealing an idea. If its

    original, youll have to ram it down their throats.

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    Principle 2: Guerrilla Marketing Is Cohesive

    and Coordinated

    Guerrillas employ a wide assortment of marketing tactics to send cohesive messages to targeted

    clients. They use their Web sites, newsletters or zines, speeches, research and survey reports,

    presentation materials, proposals, endorsements, testimonials, references, andeven their letterhead and business cards. Unless your marketing

    strategy is well integrated and all elements are coordinated with each

    other and your overall plan, they wont get the job done.

    Each of your marketing approaches must support, reinforce, and cross-promote the others. Your

    goal is to imprint multiple, positive impressions on clients in your target markets.

    The right mix of marketing tactics working in unison will create an overall market impactthat is more potent than the sum of its parts.

    Reference your articles and Web site in your proposals and your research in direct mail andspeeches. Design your business card and Yellow Pages ad to promote special features of your

    practice. If your firm specializes in improving warehouse workers productivity, highlight that

    fact; or if strengthening employee attitudes is your forte, showcase it in all your market

    communications.

    Principle 3: Consulting Is a Contact Sport

    Relationships are the lifeblood of a consulting practice. Most consultants spend considerable time

    in contact with clients but fail to build

    enduring client relationships. Forging long-term relationships cantake months or even years. Guerrillas invest in building those relationships as the core of their

    marketing strategy.

    GUERRILLA CONSULTING RELATIONSHIPS ARE BASED ON . . .

    Mutual respect and trust

    Deep knowledge of the clients business

    Straight talk, honesty, and objective advice

    Multiple interactions over time

    Personal chemistry

    Value for client and consultant

    To meet client needs, rely on a cadre of trusted associates who

    can fill in project gaps. Nonclient relationships with colleagues,suppliers, past clients, and even your competitors can provide a competitive advantage. Treat them

    with the same care as clients . . . plus,

    they may become clients or refer business to you.

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    Principle 4: High Tech Is for High Touch

    Guerrilla clients expect every consultant to be technologicallyadvanced. Clients dont want yesterday, they want tomorrow; and technology is the gateway to

    tomorrow. Tip the competitive scales

    in your favor by integrating powerful, low-cost technology intoevery aspect of your practice, from gathering business intelligence

    to marketing, billing, and revenue generation. Use technology to

    manage and simplify your practice, strengthen client relationships,reduce reliance on high-priced specialists, and promote your practice, guerrilla style.

    Principle 5: Focus on Profits, Not Fees

    Principle 6: One Size Fits None

    Tailor your marketing as if you were crafting a custom suit. Start

    with the basicsa vision for the business, your value proposition,and the markets you will pursueand then shape the details.

    Meet the precise needs of your clients and the market. Strike a

    balance between building on your existing business and attracting

    new clients. Adjust this balance as your practice matures.

    Create a marketing plan. It will force you to examine each project in detail and confront the toughissueswho are your clients,

    what do they need, and what can you do for them? As Harry Beckwith notes in What Clients Love,Planning teaches you and your colleagues about your business . . . writing a plan educates you ina way

    that nothing else can.

    Once you sift through your options and make critical marketing decisions, identify and

    launch the guerrilla marketing weapons that will move your practicein the desired direction. After you get started, you can broaden your

    plan or embellish it with analyses, charts, and appendixes.

    Capitalize on your passion. Helping clients is the core of the

    consulting business. Your passion for serving clients must drive

    you to jump out of bed each morning and make you burn the midnight oil. Passion inspires

    others and makes them want to support

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    your efforts and sing your praises. Without passion for the profession and genuine

    enthusiasm for solving client problems, the demands of the business will quickly overwhelm

    your best-laid plans

    for success.

    SECRET 4: OFFER A GUARANTEE

    Most consultants get convulsive at the thought of offering clients

    any kind of guarantee. Consultants are notoriously conservative because they fear that

    uncontrollable elements such as client executive

    turnover, a clients surprise merger with another company, or even

    bad weather might derail their best-laid plans for a project. The possibility of financial ruin

    causes even the most confident consultants

    to avoid guarantees.

    The guerrilla understands this dynamic and uses it to competitive

    advantage by offering an up-front guarantee of client satisfaction.

    When all other things are equal, a guarantee will send consulting workyour way. A guarantee also motivates consultants and clients to nail

    down objectives and responsibilities at the outset of a project so that

    everyone understands what must occur for the client to be satisfied

    and the consultant to be paid.

    A guarantee should be a two-way street. If a consultant is willing

    to waive fees or provide other considerations if the client is dissatisfied, the client should be

    willing to increase the fee if the consultants

    work exceeds expectations. For a guarantee to work optimally, both

    client and consultant must have a stake in the game.

    Consider this: Among the top criteria that clients use to choose

    service providers is their guarantee to deliver as promised. In

    consulting, there is an implied guarantee that certain results

    will be attained. On many projects, clients hold back part of the

    consultants fee until the project is completed successfully. So

    in effect, clients create a guarantee that they will get what they

    pay for.

    A guarantee can put you at the top of the clients list for consulting projects and, in reality,

    doesnt significantly increase your financial risk. And, as a bonus, you are entitled to ask for

    additional fees if the results exceed expectations.

    Clients no longer hire consultants solely because of a firms brand

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    name, advertisements, or direct solicitations, such as cold calls and direct mail. Instead, they

    turn to their networks of colleagues and the Internet. And they usually know quite a bit

    about you before they

    contact youparticularly about your qualifications to help them.

    4

    Clients use initial discussions to see how well you listen andgrasp their situation, not to learn how big your practice is or how

    many clients you have served in their industry. Exploratory client interactions are test-

    drives. Dont waste your time trying to figure out

    how to sell to clients, but be prepared to show how you can help

    them. Since many clients think consultants are trying to sell to them

    all the time, disarm and surprise them. Dont sell, but show them the

    benefits you have to offer.

    Clients gravitate to consultants who effectively demonstrate

    their capabilities and show the value they can add to the

    clients business. They ignore consultants who merely asserttheir qualifications with ambiguous marketing statements,

    glossy brochures, or Web sites. The assertion-based approach

    cannot compete with a value-based sales process.

    SECRET 9: TOSS YOUR BROCHURES OUT

    THE WINDOW

    The question isdo your marketing materials (for example, your

    brochures) communicate the power that your intellectual assets can

    give clients? If not, you might as well toss them out the window.

    For guerrillas, the boilerplate approach to brochures, Web sites,

    and service descriptions is dead. Instead, guerrillas tap into the

    repository of the firms intellectual assets to produce highly tailored

    materials that are responsive to the unique needs of each client and

    provide the basis for a substantive dialogue on the relevant issues.

    If you lose a client, it may produce an immediate financial impact. If you lose a great

    consultant, you lose a lot more than money.

    You lose a portion of your ability to sell and deliver projects, you lose

    your investment in training, and you lose the client relationships

    that the consultant built. And dont forget the high cost of recruiting

    and breaking in a new consultant.

    SECRET 11: CLIENT LOYALTY IS AN OXYMORON

    Regardless of the strength of the relationship, clients look for increasingly great work by

    incumbent consultants. In effect, your own

    flawless delivery raises the bar for your next proposal. The guerrilla

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    pulls out all the stops when proposing new work to an existing client

    by using every scrap of intelligence and every relationship in the

    clients organization to blow away the competition.

    As an incumbent, any proposal you submit for new work must

    prove that the depth of your previous experience increases your

    value to the client. Otherwise, you can easily lose any competitiveadvantage.

    Guerrillas understand that we are in an era of 24/7 marketing.

    Clients will not take notice of your practice unless you continuously

    promote it. Your business will eventually stall if you think, Well

    focus on marketing after we finish this project.

    Marketing must be a daily activity with the same high priority as

    performing your work for clients. There is no on/off switch in a guerrillas marketingprogram.

    Your marketing plan is more important than your business plan; it

    can mean the difference between building a successful practice and

    finding yourself in the unemployment line.

    Consider the following ten marketing goals:

    1. The specific clients you hope to attract

    2. Ideal projects youd like to complete

    3. The steps you should take to become a better consultant

    4. Your charitable contribution or pro bono goals, such as volunteering to serve on a

    committee for a community service organization

    5. Your industry contribution goals, such as writing a topical

    article for an industry newsletter, speaking at industry conferences, or helping to organize a

    seminar in your field

    6. The number of new relationships you want to forge

    7. Improvement of your market visibility by developing a new

    publicity campaign, updating your Web presence, or undertaking a survey or poll on a topic

    of interest to your clients

    8. Your financial goals, such as revenue, profit, and growth

    9. Your life/balance goals, such as scheduling nonnegotiable

    vacations, setting a monthly limit on client service hours, or

    starting a new hobby

    10. New service areas youd like to develop, which might mean

    expanding the scope of a service you currently offer, adding

    capabilities to your practice by hiring new people, or building new services

    GUERRILLA TIP:YOU CANT DO IT ALL

    You cant be an expert at everything, so dont try to be all things

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    to all clients. Focus on doing a few things and do them exceptionally well.

    NINE DIFFERENTIATORS THAT DO WORK

    Distinguish yourself by focusing on how you will provide benefits

    and insight for clients. Zero in on clients needs and give them solutions, not slogans:

    1. Category authority. Nothing trumps the power of undisputed

    competence. The market embraces experts far more quickly

    and rewards them with higher fees than jack-of-all-trades consultants. Most people dont call

    a general contractor to fix a

    plumbing leakthey call a...