Professional Development

Top Tips For Your First Year in Professional Services Marketing

You've landed a marketing job for a company offering professional services, now what?

All of the hard work paid off: you made it through the interviews, and now you’ve just accepted your first job in the world of professional services marketing. If you’re scared – you shouldn’t be. If you’re nervous – that’s understandable. Not only is professional services marketing a great way to earn a living it’s also a great way to help others with the challenges they face in their business and personal lives.

As you embark on your first few days and weeks in the job, there is a lot to learn about the industry, not to mention learning how to successfully navigate your way through the unique environments that exist in partnerships and other closely held businesses. There are a few key things you should keep in mind as you jump into the world of professional services marketing. Many of these will also apply to the greater marketing world in general.

  1. First of all, learn to listen and ask questions, lots of questions: You don’t know what you don’t know so you need to learn quickly and fill in the gaps in your knowledge base. One of the best ways to do that is by asking good questions.
  2. Find a mentor: Find a senior member of the marketing staff and use him/her as a mentor. They undoubtedly have a wealth of experience that you can learn from. If there aren’t any other marketing folks around seek out a partner or senior manager who has been involved with the marketing or business development in the past.
  3. Get to know the partners in the firm: Whether you interact with them on a daily basis or not at all, you need to know the partners and what their expectations and experiences are. Conversely, you need to show them that they can trust you and your decision-making abilities.
  4. Get to know everyone else in the firm: The worst thing you can do is ignore your fellow employees. You need to get to know the other professionals in the firm and use their collective experiences to the firm’s advantage.
  5. Join a professional association: Organizations such as the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) or the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) are great places to learn your respective industry, gather necessary skills and build your network of resources.
  6. Become a subject-matter expert on your firm’s brand: Know the history of the firm, what industries (if any) they specialize in, where their strengths and weaknesses lie, what the firm’s value proposition is, etc. If you’re brought on to develop that brand, pay close attention to what the partners and their clients are saying about the firm and do your homework.
  7. Learn what services the firm provides: Is the firm strictly tax or strictly audit? Does it offer other consulting services? If it’s a law firm, are they litigators or more transactional? Either way, learning more about what your firm actually “does” goes a long way to understanding how to market the firm.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: There will inevitably be a time when you can’t do it all or know it all. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network for help or bring in an outside consultant. After all, in the end it’s about getting the job done and moving the firm forward.

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list, but then again this isn’t a “how to” book now is it? The key is to make those connections to the partners and other professionals in the firm. Make sure you convey to them your expertise, experience, and dedication to the cause. If you have any questions about your first job or the professional services marketing world in general, please don’t hesitate to send them my way. I’m here to help you.

Tim Allen is an experienced professional services marketing professional with broad experience in strategy creation, branding and business development. Mr. Allen has held top marketing positions in both large, national CPA firms as well as smaller, regional firms where he has been instrumental in creating and implementing a firm-wide marketing culture. He has written and presented extensively on the intricacies of services marketing and is currently writing his first book on the transition from college to career and creating your personal brand for the millennial generation.

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