Preparing your firm to be "marketing ready"
When your technical and business development staff leave the office for a crucial appointment with a potential client, can they effortlessly put together a package outlining the benefits your firm provides? Are the professionally printed materials readily available, or easily customizable materials ready to use at a moment’s notice? If not, you are missing the mark on how to be “marketing ready.”
Effective marketing materials aren't just about how they look. Getting to that final, streamlined product includes many crucial steps. Here are our top five:
1. Understand your clients' needs. First and foremost, you must understand your potential client and what they will be looking for in your marketing materials.
2. Create content. Technical staff’s participation is crucial. Sometimes the easiest way to get the information out of their heads and into your materials is by interviewing them. Write down all the questions you have about what they do and how it benefits the client. Then schedule an interview at a time that is convenient for your technical staff, when they can focus on the information you need. For project-related information, get your accounting department involved! They have critical project data.
3. Make it pretty. Branding and graphic design are significant components of marketing materials. When a potential client looks at your materials, will they know which firm prepared them? Creating a standard template for each type of material you need – brochure, project sheets, SOQs, proposals, will help you to easily create and customize pieces. Look outside the industry for graphic design ideas.
4. Stay organized. Ensure that everyone who needs access to marketing materials can find them quickly and easily. Create and maintain server file and folder structure and organization. Save graphics in one location to allow for easier “linking” to files. Store all information in a centralized location – a firm-wide database is a good resource. Don’t have one? Some programs we’ve seen used successfully include Deltek Vision, Cosential, ACT, Access, Airtable or even a really good Excel spreadsheet.
5. Put it out there. Those materials aren’t doing much good sitting on your server! Determine the right clients and get your message out to them.
Don't miss out! Check back next month to discover the most important step in proposals!