Marketeers like a good survey. We like to understand what makes people think and how mood and desires change. Curiosity helps us understand our clients better. It helps us adapt and to serve them better. We have been watching the results of surveys that have been coming out and speaking to different stakeholders to gain an understanding of now.
Mark Ritson, of Marketing Week, has been one of the few saying that once we come out of the current crisis, what people want will not be so fundamentally different to what they wanted last year. He recently highlighted data which shows that core values have not radically changed pre- and post-Covid-19. That core values do not change of course makes sense; the opposite would question whether they were ever core in the first place. Our coaches often use a values-based exercise in coaching. Holding up a mirror to your core values can help remind you of your personal compass and what you hold dear. They can help individuals to realign priorities.
So, whilst I agree that what people value might not have changed, the realisation of what they value might have done. How is that relevant to a professional services firm? The most obvious impact might be on your professionals. What they want from their employer might change. The desire for flexibility to satisfy core values around family and health is one that will have increased over this time. However, it will also impact relationships with clients. Being your authentic self is more important than ever before. Relationships will have been strengthened or broken over this period. We have already highlighted how GCs want more empathy from their lawyers. They want their professionals to listen. How well have you been doing against this metric?
Marketing tactics have changed too. Digital marketing is no longer a nice to have for professional services firms. We asked marketeers and professionals what they thought the impact of Covid-19 was on marketing and share some of the results with you here.
What has the impact been on professional services marketing?
83% doing more webinars
83% producing more content
67% training professionals in the skills needed to interact with clients virtually
58% are introducing new products or services
50% are reviewing pricing
41% doing more podcasts
24% gathering more client feedback than before (whether through internal or external means)
The biggest shift in marketing has been the marked increase in webinars and content production. This will not come as a surprise to anyone. Whilst marketing has been sending more emails, there have been a lot of statistics flying around about the increase in email open rates too. The appetite for content is there. However, make sure that it is relevant content. There have also been a number of twitter conversations that have gone viral where GCs have been lamenting the volume.
With more volume, the need to cut through the noise is increasingly important. We recently spoke of how you can make your webinars engaging and it seems that firms are also training staff in how to interact virtually with their clients. Those that do will have an edge over those who do not.
The biggest loser? Client listening. Given clients have told us that what they wanted over the crisis period was compassion and not comms, it seems like many firms might be falling short. Only 24% are gathering more client feedback than before (whether through internal or external means).
Our growth equation highlights the need for firms to actively listen to their clients. When coupled with an increased desire for empathy and a refocusing on what values people hold dear, the impact of not doing that now could have serious implications long term.