Are You Ready for the New Age of Professional Services Marketing 3.0?

by Bruce W. Marcus

An interesting characteristic about legal or accounting marketing is that it can only be done with the full participation of the lawyers or accountants.

Not true, though, in product marketing.

The lawyers and accountants must supply the grist for the marketing mills. The auto and cereal companies don’t have to rely on the people on the line to market.

The problem with that is that when every marketing idea is a hard sell within a a law or accounting firm, when every partner has something to say and says it, a lot of marketing ideas don’t get into play. The lawyers and accountants had trouble understanding that they must be as conversant in marketing practice as the marketing professionals, and that marketing professionals must be substantially conversant in professional firm management.That’s what Marketing 2.0 has been like, and is only now beginning to change.

And here we begin to see the beginning of a new era – Professional Services Marketing 3.0.

But evolution often has a life of its own, and what should be is often what will be. With new generations of professionals moving into positions of authority – lawyers and accountants not totally imbued with, nor inhibited by, the traditions of their elders. What is emerging, then, is Marketing 3.0. It is the next stage of the evolution, and while its seeds are in the past three decades since Bates, it portends substantial change for both the marketers and the professions. This, I might add, is not conjecture, but demonstrable fact.

Professional Services Marketing 3.0 brings us the lawyer or accountant who is now completely conversant with the role of marketing in the practice, the techniques of marketing, and the role of the professional marketer. Where, under 2.0, it was the professional versus the marketer, we now begin to see the accountant/marketer or lawyer/marketer – in a new partnership.

What we see, also, are new kinds of firms, with new configurations, developed to improve productivity and client service. We see new attitudes by the professionals, and new professional-marketer relationships. It’s a new step in the evolutionary process.

That’s what this era is about – how to learn to swim to shore in a churning and turbulent sea of evolution and change. How to recognize and participate profitably in the incoming tide. How to use your own resources to survive and thrive when your competitors are drowning in a sea of despair. How to find and sow the seeds of opportunity in the midst of crisis. How to survive as the future unfolds.

— Bruce W. Marcus

Bruce W. Marcus is a pioneer in the modern practices of professional services marketing. This is excerpted with permission from his new book, Professional Services Marketing 3.0, published by Bay Street Group LLC.

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