High-​Growth Professional Services Firms Spend More on Marketing

BY Kathy Crosett
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Professional services firms — think attorneys, accountants, or engineers ‑may look like they’re in an enviable position, economically. The truth is, these professionals face as much competition as any other business type. To excel in 2019, professional services operators are taking stock of the threats they face and adjusting their marketing plans accordingly. A new Hinge Marketing survey gives us a glimpse into the challenges that professional services firms are confronting.

Top Threats

The typical firm has to contend with increased competition (39.9%) for clients at the same time they are trying to field top talent which is in short supply (36.6%). On top of that, these operators are under pressure to keep prices low (39.7%) as they deal with buyers who are changing purchase methodology (34.7%). As if all that wasn’t difficult enough, professional services operators have to keep their eye on rapid technological changes and how that will impact future business (33%).

Revenue Growth

On average, professional services firms grew revenue over 11% in 2018. And, the high-​growth firms (29. 7% of the total) achieved a spectacular 20%+ growth rate. Analysts found little difference in growth rates when looking at firm size. They also noted that firms with government contracts achieved an 11.8% average growth rate last year, compared to the 8.3% revenue increase for firms that don’t sell to the government.

Marketing Strategies

Analysts also found a correlation between growth rates and marketing budgets. In particular, professional services firms with a marketing budget of at least 5% of revenue were more likely to be in the high-​growth category. Businesses with no or slower growth allocated 3% of revenue to marketing.

High-​growth professional services firms deliberately target clients with digital and traditional media formats. When it comes to digital, these formats rule and are used by the following number of operators:

  • Email marketing 50.5%
  • Keyword research/​SEO 43.7%
  • Blogging 43.7%
  • Social media marketing 42.7%
  • Case studies 32%

High-​growth operators don’t leave anything to chance. They understand the importance of the personal touch in their field. Over half of these businesses network at events, sponsor conferences or events, and speak at targeted events. Nearly half use branded marketing collateral and 35.9% use assessment and consultations as a way to nurture leads into clients.

In 2019, these firms will focus on developing a content marketing plan (44%), updating their websites (36%) and improving website performance (34%). You can give prospects and clients a snapshot of how well they’re doing by running a digital audit on AdMall from Salesfuel​.com. The tool reveals website performance and other digital marketing measurements for any selected business.