Service Minded

Debra Helwig on Marketing & Leadership in Professional Services

Archive for February, 2009

Get Your Online Act Together

Posted by debrahelwig on February 27, 2009

When someone at your firm does something smart, it belongs online.

Says something interesting? Get it on the Web (and Facebook, and Twitter, and LinkedIn).

Helps someone? Yep, online it goes.

Tells a great story? By now, you probably get the drift.

This social media thing – thought leadership and connections to make yourself “addictable” (as Scott Ginsberg puts it) – is not going away. Social media is rapidly becoming a (if not THE) critical marketing driver for successful businesses. That includes professional services firms.

Yes, this means YOU.

If you’re reading this post on my blog, then you probably already understand this concept. BUT…(big pause here)…there are a ton of folks in your firm that don’t get it yet – many of them the decision makers in the partnership.

It’s up to you to make the case and get them on board.

To that end, here’s some great insight into why social media is do-or-die for your firm. Need fodder to share with others less enlightened? Check out these brilliant explanations:

Scott Ginsberg: How to Save Your Company $80,000 in Marketing Costs (takeaway: need to create a Visibility Plan, not a Marketing Plan or a Business Plan. Be more findable, more obsessable, more lovable, more addictable, more spreadable.)

Seth Godin: The Panhandler’s Secret (takeaway: interact first, sell second)

Debbie Weil: If You Can’t Link to It, It Doesn’t Exist (takeaway: I’d love to help promote you, but you have to provide me with a way to share it online)

Link. Tweet. Post. Have fun. Make a difference.

Whatever you do, get moving.


Posted in Accounting, Business Development, Marketing, Networking, Professional Services | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Lock Up the Calculators

Posted by debrahelwig on February 26, 2009

To quote the managing partner of an IGAF Worldwide member firm: “OHHHH, how accountants love to measure!”

For those on the marketing side of the professional services house, that usually means a whole lot of effort trying to prove your effectiveness (read: ROI). From the first dime spent down to the last inbound email and prospect meeting,  you’re required to live and die by the complexity of your tracking systems. Believe me, I get what you’re doing – and I understand why.

But if you’re living shackled to the ROI beast, I have a bit of advice:

STOP. Right now. Put the calculator down.  Back awaaaaay from the spreadsheet.

Seriously, now is the time for you to push back on ROI – even if you work for an accounting firm. Knowing where every jot of money went and being able to document every hit on your Web site is only great for your performance review. Not for growing the business. Especially in the current economy.

Over at ClickZ today, Adam Cahill presents a great piece called “Outcome Addicted” that explains the situation very neatly.  Here’s a snippet:

Irony is, the point of measurement is to increase effectiveness. But blind devotion to measurement makes us less effective. If your plan is crafted to generate measureable outcomes instead of total outcomes, you’ll end up being able to attribute every last sale. Unfortunately, there will be far fewer of them to attribute.

David Meerman Scott hit this topic back in January too, in his eBook Lose Control of Your Marketing: Why Marketing ROI Measures Lead to Failure. He says:

While [ROI] information is useful, lusting after it often prevents marketers from investing in efforts that could become World Wide Raves — solely because traditional measurement data are not available from those efforts.

Take a hard look at the projects you’re working on right now. If you’re more focused on what you’re measuring than the ideas you’re sharing that actually help people (and make them love your firm), it’s time to make a change.

Lock up the calculators and get about your real business – making raving fans of your customers and prospects.

Hard work.  Tough to measure. But that’s where you’ll see lasting results.

Posted in Accounting, Marketing, Professional Services | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Positive Thinking

Posted by debrahelwig on February 25, 2009

Saw a great tweet today from @Lifeblazing – “Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it changed into a butterfly. Hold on! WINGS are coming!”

I could point you to dozens of posts by ZenHabits, Escape from Cubicle Nation, The Fluent SelfThom Singer, HelloMyNameisScott, and lots of other very smart people about how your thought life affects your ability to function – at work, at home, in networking, in creativity.

I’m not saying it’s all sunlight and roses in the workplace right now. But I *am* saying that how you choose to interpret the actions and activities in the world around you directly affects how comfortable you’re going to be during what appears to be a mighty difficult “holding on” phase.

Attitudes are contagious, too. If you make an effort to “get your smile on”, you might be surprised how your colleagues – and your customers – respond.

WINGS are coming. But don’t mope til they arrive. See if changing your thought patterns can’t help you make a tiny bit of magic for yourself – and those who work around you – in the meantime.

Posted in Attitudes, Leadership | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

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