An objective look at your marketing processes reveals what is going well and what can be done better. To get that, a look at current best practices and what comparable firms are doing is critical.

Challenge

A 100-person design firm with a single office wanted an assessment of their marketing program—the personnel, processes, and business acquisition.

Our client didn’t feel they were winning the work they should be winning. They had had a marketing structure in place for a long time without much change and wanted to see if something was missing. The firm grew from a somewhat small regional firm to a large firm with a national practice, which brought new marketing challenges.

Insight

Interviewing everyone involved in marketing yielded detailed insights into what was working and what needed improvement.

We spoke with all of the principals, market sector leaders, and others who helped with marketing, looking at different metrics such as spending and their win-loss rate.
In the process of talking to the various players, we learned they were doing a lot right in terms of positioning themselves as experts—they had built a successful practice on a national scale in focused areas—but they were struggling with business development. There wasn’t a strong business development culture at the firm and no process to create that kind of culture.

We looked at possible models for structuring their marketing and business development activities and how social media and PR could be integrated, and we presented our recommendations to the principals.

Action

Even in the early stages of implementation, the changes in their outreach activities are energizing the firm.

Our observation was that our client needed someone who could oversee their marketing activities and implement a strong business development program. The firm has now hired a high-level business development leader, recalibrated their marketing group, and brought outside expertise in PR and communications.