The Anatomy of an Outsourced Marketing Engagement

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So hopefully, Part I of this series has convinced you that by outsourcing your marketing department you will be in a better position to do what you enjoy: serving clients and attracting new business into your practice.  Because outsourcing the marketing department in a professional services firm is not the norm, most firms fall into the, “let’s hire someone out of college to do our marketing” trap because they fail to really grasp the benefits of how an outsourced marketing relationship works.  The purpose of this post is to define, with clarity, what it looks like to have a marketing engagement that happens to not reside physically within your office space.  When PSM begins work with a new outsourced marketing client, we have a proven process we use to get the ball rolling.

Phase I – Strategic Marketing Assessment

Whether you are a lawyer, financial advisor, or other professional, you wouldn’t dream of giving advice to a client if you didn’t have all of the facts.  A Strategic Marketing Assessment allows us to ask all the right questions and gather relevant documents.  Be prepared to share:

  • Materials – All marketing materials currently in use
  • Website – Your outsourced marketing firm should  thoroughly review your website and messaging contained therein and make recommendations for improvements.  At PSM we do a website audit for each client.
  • Communications – Communications the firm uses in its outreach to clients, prospective contacts, referral sources and other important audiences
  • Ongoing Client Communications – Any proactive communications sent to clients and friends of the firm over the past three years
  • Biographies –Biographies of all professionals
  • Client Feedback – Received from clients over the past two to three years
  • Revenue – Total revenue by professional and by service area for the past three years
  • Accounts Receivable Summary – To make sure you have a process in place to minimize AR balances if applicable
  • Intake Documents – We need to review how you open new files, and how your clients retain you to work with them
  • Marketing Expenses – Marketing budget for the past three years
  • Marketing Technology – Learning more about your marketing technology including its CRM (if one exists) and website back end editing capabilities
  • Advertising – Samples of any paid advertising the firm has done over the past three years
  • Public Relations – Review press coverage and articles written by board members and members of CLI over the past three years
  • Social Media – We will review and develop an audit of all the firm’s social media activities
  • Speaking Engagements – Review of presentations given by your professionals over the past three years
  • Events – Summary of any events the firm  has sponsored over the past three years
  • Strategic Marketing Questionnaire – At PSM we use a tailored Strategic Marketing Questionnaire to gather other relevant information needed to develop a Strategic Marketing Plan.  The Strategic Marketing Questionnaire PSM uses will ask you to present:
    • Successes in marketing
    • Top ten lists (current clients, prospective clients, referral sources)
    • Criteria for your A-level clients and referral sources
    • Best current clients and referral sources
    • Marketing frustrations
    • The value you bring to your clients
    • Niche areas of expertise within your field
    • Key accomplishments
    • Client services provided
    • Representative experience
    • Competitive analysisIndustry and association involvement
    • Writing and speaking experience

Phase II – Development of a Strategic Marketing Plan

Once we have reviewed and thoroughly analyzed everything in the assessment phase, your outsourced marketing firm will develop a comprehensive marketing plan for the growth of your firm that will include:

  • Growth and revenue history and goals
  • Target audiences – To whom we are marketing
  • Key messages on why clients should hire us and why referral sources should send us business
  • Marketing objectives – Specific and measurable
  • A proposed marketing budget for the current year and for future years
  • Implementation tactics under the Four Pillars of Marketing :
    • Retain and grow relationships with existing clients and contacts
    • Develop new business
    • Increase name recognition in the marketplace
    • Targeted client and contact communications

Phase III – Implementation of your Strategic Marketing Plan

For each client we determine the number of hours the marketing department will need in order to implement the tactics identified in the marketing plan. What do we implement?  It is different for every firm and described in depth in the Strategic Marketing Plan.  For an extensive list of the activities we perform for our clients at PSM, you can take a look at our PSM Services A-Z. Generally speaking, your outsourced marketing department will include:

  • Marketing Director – Leading, managing, and strategizing with your firm’s highest levels of leadership
  • Project Manager –  The mortar between the bricks of the firm’s marketing program.  This person manages the entire outsourced marketing team as they deliver services throughout the year
  • Graphic Designer – This important person will help us design and refine your firm’s branding and overall visual identity
  • Copywriter –  It is critical to communicate by reinforcing the messages developed in the marketing plan.
  • Website Developer –  To move your website to the next level, this person provides turn-key services from domain name registration all the way through the process of designing and developing your website
  • Database Specialist – Helping the firm to establish and populate an e-communication database of contacts, clients, and referral sources
  • E-Communications Designer – Works closely with the copywriter to develop creative and visually appealing client communications
  • Search Engine Optimization Guru– Every website needs to be optimized to be found online.  We integrate SEO into every website we build for our clients
  • Social Media and Content Strategist –  Find content and post every day on all of your firm’s social media pages.  We also help clients engage with their visitors

Phase IV – Measuring Results of Marketing Engagement

Our motto is “If you can’t measure it, you likely shouldn’t do it!” Your outsourced marketing department will help you evaluate and measure every marketing activity they propose.  The best way for us to show you how we do this, is to have you look at a tool we developed on How to Measure the ROI of Marketing. Your outsourced marketing department should lead the charge in communicating regularly with you about the results your marketing program is producing.

It is through the four distinct phases above, PSM delivers its outsourced marketing services to clients. We hope after reading this two-part blog post, you will be interested in contacting us to learn more!

Prior to founding PSM, Terrie Wheeler served as the marketing director at three large Minnesota law firms.  During this time she and her marketing team led all marketing and business development efforts at the firm-wide, practice group, industry group and individual attorney levels by creating and implementing highly-targeted and results-oriented marketing strategies. Read Terrie’s Biography >

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