Rule 5: Top Line Growth Happens at the Niche Level
To date, I’ve addressed four of the 13 new rules for marketing that are going to transform the way that CPA, law and consulting firms grow their top line. Today, Rule 5: new business action happens at the niche level, so allocate your resources appropriately.
The value of niche marketing for professional services firms is undeniable. Niche marketing allows the firm to:
- Differentiate from the competition, particularly if you can “hit ‘em where they ain’t”.
- Focus partner’s unbillable time and marketing department resources for maximum ROI – fish where the fish are.
- Build the personal brands of partners and rising stars among a narrow target market of firms looking for subject matter experts
Over the ten years I was Director of Marketing for a TOP 75 CPA firm, the marketing budget increasingly shifted to allocating resources to developing a selected number of niches. I say “selected”, because one of the most difficult decisions needed to be made was where to allocate the budget, as I did not have an open checkbook (even though my Managing Partner thought that I did!).
I used a couple of filters in making recommendations for budget allocation: (1) opportunities to deliver maximum ROI for minimal costs, (2) niches where we enjoyed competitive advantages because of strong competitive differentiations, (3) opportunities to create innovative and compelling lead generation campaigns, and (4) practices where partners “got it”.
The results of this allocation and focus, anchored by an “accountrapreneurial” Managing Partner and niche practice partners that were enthusiastic contributors paid off, as selected niches saw a doubling or tripling of their top line.
That top line growth was built using tried and tested new business push strategies and tactics, but today, niche marketers need to add one additional element: pull or inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is based upon approaches, tactics and powerful new marketing technologies that work to help the niche get found first by prospects searching on line for information and ways to solve their issues or problems.
I believe that as firms allocate more of their marketing budget to niche top line growth, a significantly greater portion of that allocation will be devoted to inbound marketing.
It’s here, it’s the way that niche practices can develop a strong lead generation capability, and it’s likely that your progressive competitors are using it right now to build their niche practice top line.