During an economic downturn, business owners may be tempted to cut expenses, including marketing. This fiscal prudence extends beyond the owner of the local shoe store to the managing partner of a consulting firm. But a survey by Alterra shows that consulting firms who maintain the proper focus with their marketing programs, even during lean times, will turn into leaders when the economy recovers.
According to Alterra analysts, the management consulting industry has followed most other sectors into the digital realm when it comes to marketing. Instead of using direct mail to distribute a brochure, these consultants are turning to email and social media. These businesses also tend to publish white papers and case studies to generate interest. And, many management consultant firms attend industry events to meet potential clients.
As the economy recovers, Alterra notes that market leaders will shine against laggards if they focus on the following:
- Lead generation
- Brand awareness
- Thought leadership
The emphasis on thought leadership can made a significant difference. Despite the recession and tighter budgets, these business owners still must compete with the likes of PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Accenture. Instead of losing a contract through a bidding war, Alterra analysts recommend that smaller management consulting firms use marketing techniques to demonstrate expertise in thought leadership. Smaller firms can publish white papers and research reports that document their experience handling specific problems and emphasize their intellectual capital when it comes to developing superior solutions.
When a consulting firm shows detailed examples of expert problem solving, it will get the attention of business owners who need help.[Source: Stick to Marketing Strategies during a Recession, Management Consultant International, Alterra Group, Winter 2009]