When it comes to effectively marketing professional services, many technology services firms find the process of building a strategy significantly easier than deploying that strategy. That is because even the simplest, most straightforward marketing strategy requires a wide range of skills to execute.
So, what are the requisite skills for marketing a tech services firm effectively? What skills should you be looking to add to your team?
1. Research Skills
There are two important research methods to consider. Keyword research – the basis of any content-based marketing program – demands knowledge of the tools to conduct keyword research and a strong understanding of the firm's clients and their challenges. Target audience research demands comfort in conducting executive-level interviews with clients. A researcher who clearly understands the firm's services will be able to develop the data gathered through interviews into strong content.
2. Strategy Skills
Target audience research can be used to inform a marketing strategy with information about the differentiators that set a firm apart from competitors. As a result, an effective strategist should be capable of applying this research to develop positioning and create messages targeted to each audience. A strategist should also be able to see the big picture of how a firm is positioned and understand how to weave that story into subsequent marketing copy on brand assets such as websites, collateral, and even supporting themes for thought leadership.
3. Writing Skills
There are two writing styles necessary to deliver a message across the broadest range of audiences. Marketing copy must be brief and persuasive to convince prospective clients that a service is the best choice. This might include promotional emails, website copy, and proposals.
Editorial copy is designed to provide a taste of the insight that a firm can provide. This content, including blogs, white papers, and webinars, will demonstrate expertise in a non-promotional way. It establishes a firm as a thought leader, prompting prospects to seek out expert services.
4. Promotional Skills
A strong content base is useless if no one is reading it. Promotion is most effective when performed by a person who enjoys working and communicating with other people. This person will need to share content with a broad audience through avenues such as social media, trade shows, and networking events. Further, this person will need to network with editors of other publications to secure guest author opportunities. Both technical knowledge and interpersonal skills are necessary for this marketing task.
5. Analytics Skills
All marketing strategies must be regularly tested for effectiveness. Long-term success depends on tracking, monitoring, testing, and reporting on every piece of the strategy. Where are leads coming from? What do conversions look like? What trends are you seeing in web traffic? This activity requires specialized knowledge to determine which metrics to track in the first place, how to interpret the data, and how to report that information to the rest of the team to inform future strategies.
6. Design Skills
Good graphic design can play a strong role in drawing in an audience. It also can create a first impression of your firm. A designer should not only understand the principles around user experience for digital design, but also the B2B buyer mindset – the B2B buyer will respond to a different set of criteria than a B2C buyer will.
7. Implementation Support
It's important to keep marketing momentum moving forward. The implementation support team has responsibility for managing the editorial calendar, posting regular updates to the website or blog, and handling other details that keep the marketing plan running. This highly organized team may also be in charge of marketing automation and/or contact management.
Finding the Right Mix of Skills for Marketing
As you consider how to recruit for the right skill sets, keep in mind the range of talents and knowledge needed to deploy a successful marketing strategy. While some of these skills may be found in a single person, others demand very different ways of thinking and will likely require multiple people. For example, a person with promotional skills is not likely to be an expert in analytics. No matter the combination, these seven skills can be used to create a strong foundation for launching a more powerful and effective marketing strategy.
Elizabeth Harr is partner at Hinge Marketing.