It would be a mistake to think we can summarize a specific methodology for your particular need without meeting with you and understanding the current issues and environment. What we can offer is our general approach, coupled with a specific process we have used with a client.
Our general approach to marketing and marketing communication is summed up in one sentence: “Listen to the customer.”
We work from the customer's point of view. We develop strategies, products, services, identities, and messages that make sense to the customer. To do this we use interviews, surveys, focus groups, and other tools, depending on the problems that need to be solved and the nature of the market and audiences we're targeting. We firmly believe that communication with customers and potential customers should be two-way, not one way, and that we must build opportunities for response and measurability. All communication should be structured for improvement as we learn more and more about the audiences.
In other words, we are not a conventional advertising and PR firm, which aims messages at audiences once an offering has already been developed. Rather, we begin the communication process with target markets and audiences during the business planning and product planning phases. The product or service itself is the most important message the market will receive. Promoting a service is not an extraneous activity. It should grow out of the service.
Example of Specific Services offered [Service Client]
What services will we provide you and how will you benefit? We recommend a comprehensive solution, broken down into the following tasks:
Task one - Understanding the firms' focus and opportunities
The legal profession is a unique business model, in that it is divided into multiple specialties, each addressing a unique [generally exclusive] audience with little “carry-over” to other areas of practice. The relative costs of attracting and retaining clients varies greatly from specialty to specialty. Our first task with ABC will be to facilitate a ½ day retreat where we discuss areas of practice, opportunities for growth, and various issues that have impeded growth. This is foundation in terms of enabling a common understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, and threats the firm faces. We'll come away with a better understanding of the firms Core Competencies, and how to leverage them in this market.
Task two - Crafting an identity and Brandmark
In Parallel with task one, we'll work to derive an identity for the firm that communicates professionalism and consistency in all forms of communication. Current letterhead, brochures, cards, and other identity items all appear dated, and likely create an initial impression that is less than favorable. All marketing materials should be derived from a core communications strategy that flows from the value you provide your clients. We will derive –and communicate- this for you.
Task three – Segment the business opportunities
Task three involves quantitative analysis where we begin to evaluate the core competencies derived in phase one, in relationship to the specific expectations and requirements of unique target segments. As an example, the desires and expectations of someone going through an estate planning process are very different from the services expected in arguing a disability case. Questions to be answered include “what's the relative size of the market?”; “What's the relative profitability of our labor?' and “How concentrated are the targets?” These are over-simplified, of course, but this task is crucial to future positioning. In it, we'll agree on the overall priority of bringing in new types of business, and identifying how and why ABC can provide superior value and results to your clients. The outcome of this task will be 4-5 defined segments.
Task four - Developing Value PropositionWith the information and insights from Tasks 1 and 3, we'll develop specific recommendations to reposition ABC. We'll provide you with several options for a value proposition and will also define the specific services and capabilities necessary to make the value proposition credible. The value proposition defines ABC's offering in terms of what the potential customer values most. It helps the customer understand “what's in it for him,” and it forms the foundation for specific selling messages, which we'll develop in Task 5, as part of a marketing communication plan.