Brand Marketing to Boost Your Firm’s Marketing ROI and Visibility

By Sylvia S. Montgomery, MBA, CPSM

While brand mar­ket­ing is far from a new con­cept, it’s under­gone quite the evo­lu­tion in the last sev­er­al years. Hav­ing a strong brand and build­ing a pos­i­tive rep­u­ta­tion, pri­or to 1978, relied on word of mouth. Even­tu­al­ly, print ads and spon­sor­ships gained some trac­tion, both with lit­tle abil­i­ty to track their return on invest­ment (ROI). Fast for­ward to the past decade, when the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion has caused brand mar­ket­ing to take on a whole new form. Not only is brand mar­ket­ing mul­ti-faceted, it is also mea­sur­able. Today’s con­sumers are high­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed. They expect answers to their ques­tions with just a few key­board clicks. They expect much more trans­paren­cy pri­or to select­ing a ser­vices provider. Luck­i­ly, dig­i­tal brand mar­ket­ing allows firms to not only estab­lish and enhance their brand, but also ampli­fy their val­ue so prospects can expe­ri­ence greater rel­e­vance. Here are three tips for using brand mar­ket­ing to boost your firm’s mar­ket­ing ROI and vis­i­bil­i­ty in today’s com­pet­i­tive and dig­i­tal mar­ket­place.

1. Create a Solid Strategy

Hav­ing a strong brand-build­ing strat­e­gy begins with defin­ing your tar­get audi­ence. When you have a clear under­stand­ing of your audi­ence, where they spend their time, and what they’re look­ing for, you can cre­ate mes­sag­ing that speaks to their needs and posi­tions your firm as the solu­tion to their prob­lems. Typ­i­cal­ly, most firms think about their tar­get audi­ence in terms of mar­ket sectors—such as health­care, edu­ca­tion, or com­mer­cial. How­ev­er, a more impact­ful approach to iden­ti­fy­ing audi­ences is often the role of those audi­ences tar­get­ed. For exam­ple, your firm may have strong rela­tion­ships with the mid­dle man­age­ment lev­els of exist­ing clients, yet lack strong con­nec­tions with C-suite or deci­sion mak­ers. Each of those roles responds to dif­fer­ent trig­gers dur­ing the vet­ting and selec­tion of a ser­vices provider. By tak­ing the time to under­stand your prospects, your firm can build a brand that con­nects you with the right audi­ence, which helps to ensure the time you’re putting into nur­tur­ing leads is well spent. How­ev­er, cre­at­ing a sol­id brand strat­e­gy doesn’t stop there—it’s also about set­ting your firm apart from the com­pe­ti­tion. Dis­cov­er­ing mean­ing­ful dif­fer­en­tia­tors has become increas­ing­ly more impor­tant in the dig­i­tal age. The shift to online mar­ket­ing has widened the play­ing field by min­i­miz­ing geo­graph­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions. Buy­ers of pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices no longer feel the pinch to hire local­ly, even if the exper­tise and tal­ent are there. Instead, the pri­ma­ry moti­va­tor is to seek out the best provider. The devel­op­ment of this new com­pet­i­tive mar­ket­place has cre­at­ed a demand for firms to stand out and estab­lish their exper­tise in a par­tic­u­lar ser­vice or skill. Build­ing your brand strat­e­gy around a key dif­fer­en­tia­tor for your firm is a cru­cial ele­ment in max­i­miz­ing your vis­i­bil­i­ty.

2. Go Beyond Traditional Marketing

Even though online tac­tics have tak­en the adver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing worlds by storm, offline tac­tics still play an impor­tant role. In fact, using the two approach­es in tan­dem can allow your firm to reach your tar­get audi­ence even more effec­tive­ly. For every offline tac­tic, there is an equal— and often, better—online tac­tic. While a speak­ing engage­ment is still impor­tant, com­bin­ing that face-to-face strat­e­gy with host­ing an online webi­nar brings even more vis­i­bil­i­ty to your firm. The same goes for pub­lish­ing in print pub­li­ca­tions and pub­lish­ing online—the two approach­es are stronger togeth­er. See Fig­ure 1 on the pre­vi­ous page for more exam­ples of how online adver­tis­ing can give tra­di­tion­al adver­tis­ing a boost.

Just remem­ber: Dif­fer­ent chan­nels work bet­ter for con­nect­ing with dif­fer­ent audi­ences depend­ing on the goal at hand. The key to suc­cess­ful­ly going beyond tra­di­tion­al mar­ket­ing is being able to iden­ti­fy the best chan­nel for the best sit­u­a­tion.

3. Build Your Expertise

Buy­ers want to hire firms that are experts in their fields. One of the most effec­tive ways to build your firm’s expertise—and, in turn, your rep­u­ta­tion, vis­i­bil­i­ty, growth, and profit—is by pro­mot­ing your goto staff as some­thing we at Hinge call Vis­i­ble ExpertsSM. Vis­i­ble Experts are those indi­vid­u­als with strong exper­tise in a par­tic­u­lar niche that attain the vis­i­bil­i­ty required to reach crit­i­cal mass and become wide­ly known for their mas­tery of a top­ic. In order to under­stand the impact of Vis­i­ble Experts on their firms, we con­duct­ed exten­sive research and inter­views with Vis­i­ble Experts and buy­ers of pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices. We found that even those expert indi­vid­u­als with the low­est lev­el of vis­i­bil­i­ty had a sub­stan­tial impact on their firm’s abil­i­ty to build a strong brand, expe­ri­ence growth, and attract new leads. Per­haps most notable, we dis­cov­ered that Vis­i­ble Experts were able to com­mand high­er billing rates—with buy­ers being will­ing to pay up to 13 times more for the high­est lev­el Vis­i­ble Expert. Build­ing your brand by estab­lish­ing exper­tise is one proven-effec­tive way to get results and attract bet­ter clients and part­ners. The bot­tom line is: Acci­den­tal mar­ket­ing does not work. Instead, inten­tion­al mar­ket­ing that lever­ages the com­bined strengths of online and offline strate­gies is essen­tial to con­nect­ing with the right tar­get audi­ences. Uti­liz­ing these brand-build­ing strate­gies and pro­mo­tion­al chan­nels is the best way to boost your mar­ket­ing ROI and increase the vis­i­bil­i­ty of your firm.

 

 

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