The consulting profession has evolved quite a bit over the past 40 to 50 years. And with the 21st century, comes the unearthing of ethical contexts
and situations not relevant in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Though the basic principles have been around—
integrity, intent to represent the client, and interactions
with people of varying background—these principles
look different in 2017 than they did in 1973.
Greed, white collar theft, intellectual property
concerns, and corporate espionage can be applied in
a whole new way with the dawn of the digital age
and technological advancements completely alter the
product and method of consulting services. As a consultant, or member of consulting firm, understanding
practical, yet ethical ways to market yourself is critical.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MESSAGING
At the heart of any growth management, or
commonly referred to business development, process is marketing. There are multiple steps involved in creating a marketing strategy for your consulting services.
Though the role of marketing changes as
prospects move through the pipeline to clients, the
importance of branding and communication does not
change. Developing a marketing strategy involves key
steps by identifying your target markets, identifying
your value to each market, and using messaging when
communicating the value.
A FRAMEWORK FOR MESSAGING
The critical ethical moment in the process is developing the messaging that will be used across all marketing
efforts during the growth management process.
List your target markets along with client profiles.
Consider your historical trends, current situation, and
future long-term and short-term consulting goals. Use
this knowledge to create client profiles for each tar-
get market. Note that, client profiles vary from type of
organization, age of the organization, number of em-
ployees, and legal structure, and consulting firms may
specialize in a specific type of organization.
Each client profile is distinct and speaks to a specific target market. For each target market and client profile, identify your value. To do this, note your
capabilities and differentiators along with the access
and experience you offer clients. Brainstorm about
the following benefits you afford clients. Consider
that the value you, as a consultant, offer must also
take into account not only the benefits of your services, but also the costs of your services. This is how
you derive the value:
• Consider your service—performance, features, and technologies used;
The Role of Ethical Messaging when Marketing
to 21st Century Consultants
BY SARAH SKIDMORE