Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Strategically Plan Your Marketing

Strategic planning allows your firm to establish its goals and objectives for the future. PSMJ has found that planning works well only when you bring your firm’s key managers directly into the process. In this way, you base your plan on critical input from a variety of perspectives and ensure a high degree of commitment from all those who participate.

To develop a thorough and workable plan, you need to include all operational elements of your organization: finance, project delivery, human resources, ownership/leadership transition— and marketing.

Whom do you want as clients?

The first marketing question to answer during a planning session is “What kind of clients do we want to serve?” Establish specific criteria that define which clients warrant the investment of your marketing and proposal resources.

Put another way, which owners do you really want to have as clients? We call these “Quality Clients.” For example, during a recent strategic planning session we facilitated, participants concluded that their quality clients must:

• pay their bills promptly,
• not select design firms solely based on low price,
• have significant ongoing need for our service,
• appreciate the benefits of a long-term relationship, and
• conduct their business in an ethical manner.

Market with leverage

After you decide on these criteria, subject your existing client list to them. Clients who fail to meet all the Quality Client criteria are appropriated zero marketing and proposal investment in your overhead budget. Next, subject potential new clients to the Quality Client criteria—and either include or exclude them from the marketing plan based on how they measure up.

We are not saying you should refuse to work for clients who fail to meet all these criteria—only that you should invest no marketing or proposal efforts in those clients. If you do take work from them, make it on your terms, not theirs.

Once you have developed your list of existing and potential Quality Clients, decide which of them should be designated as “Strategic Clients”—and target them as your highest priority.

Make a matrix

The next step in developing a marketing plan is to prepare a matrix of clients and services offered. If yours is a multi-office firm, you can create a similar matrix for each office.

Learn more about how to stretch your marketing dollars and get better quality clients (something everyone in the firm should know!) - join PSMJ this spring for our Business Development for A/E/C Firms seminar, coming to 6 locations across North America. Get the tools and confidence you need to succeed in bringing in more work for the firm – register today!

1 comment:

Jerry said...

I suppose there are firms that first decide what kind of clients they want to have then build their business around that. But is seems more organizations first set their business goals then decide what clients they need to achieve them. If you need to grow revenue and close more large deals that means one kind of client and client mix.

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