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PPT presentation of Marketing Professional Services In Asia Seminar at Cim HK Aug 09


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A copy of my ppt presentation delivered at CIM HK on Marketing Professional Services in Asia in Aug 09

A copy of my ppt presentation delivered at CIM HK on Marketing Professional Services in Asia in Aug 09

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  • 1. Marketing Professional Services in AsiaRobert SawhneyManaging DirectorSRC Associates Ltd
    Chartered Institute of Marketing HK
    19th August 2009
  • 2. Part I – where are we?Professional Service Firms (PSF) are Different
    Product resides in the structural, social, and intellectual capital of firm
    Key marketer is the professional who interacts with client
    Differentiation is harder to achieve – ‘we do better audits’
    Branding at the individual, practice group, and firm level
    Marketing and BD coupled together – misunderstanding?
    Professionals don’t take easily to being ‘managed’, strategy bottom up and involves all or no one (are they interested)?
  • 3. And the difficulty of…
    Fundamental misunderstanding by professionals of what marketing is
    Growth of 10% per annum, who needs it?
    Strong resistance by seniors
    Belief in conflict with professional ethics and association guidelines
    Combined role of producer/manager
    Short term orientation and lack of longer term strategic thinking
  • 4. Case study – one of the largest US law firms in the world:New branding in HK
    Strategy driven from US ‘HQ’
    Hired a consumer goods branding consultancy
    Campaign was almost totally externally oriented
    Staff heard about it when new branding unveiled at company briefing
    No resonance or affinity = low impact
  • 5. Further problems in Asia: cultural differences and association guidelines
    Advertising: research shows that Asian consumers much less accepting of professionals who advertise
    Research also shows that the professionals themselves in HK more averse to marketing than consumers
    Value pricing: variouswork requires time sheet records for tax purposes
    Merit vs lock step compensation systems
    Service quality-meaning and measurement
    CRM – building relationships
    Managing alliances between firms of different national cultural backgrounds
    Associations lack of practice management strategy know how and guidance to member firms
  • 6. So where are we now?
    PSF marketing is already in the mature stage in the US. The Bates decision in 1976 was a key factor in this area. There are probably hundreds of firms that specialize in professional services marketing and PSF’s adopt marketing openly
    The state of the profession is still probably in the growth stage in Europe as barriers to marketing activities have been slow to come down
    In HK and Asia, PSF marketing is very likely in the embryonic stage as most professional associations still limit activities and the understanding of marketing as a business process is still quite limited
  • 7. Part IIMarketing and client value
    Firstly – what marketing is not:
    Clever logo and new brand name
    Run by the marketing/BD people
    Something that can be turned on and off according to prevailing conditions
    In its entirety, something that cannot be measured using ROI
  • 8. Cont’d
    What it is:
    A business process about creating client value
    A firm culture that has the most significant impact on firm performance
    The guiding force for strategy and strategic management
    The bed rock of firm performance (market orientation)
  • 9. What Do Clients Want?: the value they seek17 factors that drive law firm success
    Client focus.
    Commitment to help by suggesting strategies and demonstrating interest.
    Understanding the client’s business.
    Providing value for the dollar – showing money and time saved.
    Breadth of services.
    Advise on business issues.
    Regional reputation.
    Unprompted Communication
    Bringing together national resources.
    Keeping clients informed.
    Show skill in legal expertise, experience and outcomes.
    Quality work, show attention to detail.
    Ability to deal with unexpected changes.
    Handling problems quickly and effectively.
    Meeting client-imposed scope of work and deadlines.
    Anticipating client needs.
    Having international capabilities.
    (Source: BTI consulting: The survey of client service performance, US)
  • 10. How does marketing fit?
    A market orientation is a firm culture that stresses three interrelated perspectives:
    A client orientation
    A competitor orientation
    Inter-functional coordination
    Numerous studies show it to have the most significant impact on firm performance
  • 11. Bed rock of firm performance
  • 12. Still more than you think!
    David Maister in his book: Practice What You Preach, studied a number of PSFs using rigorous quantitative methods.
    He found in particular, 9 factors that were strongly linked to PSF financial performance
  • 13. The Maister Diagram
  • 14. Cont’d
    In fact, what he found is not new
    But was a revelation for PSFs
    He expanded on what is known as the service profit chain
    This idea shows that happy staff make happy clients which makes money!
    This revolves around strong values, clear direction, and the right culture
  • 15. Now You See
    This is what we mean by adopting a marketing culture
    Peter Drucker said years ago that firms have only 2 functions: marketing and innovation, the rest are costs
    But when he said marketing, this is what he meant. The adoption of the marketing concept into the very fabric of a firm
  • 16. Case Study: the acceptance of value pricing for CPA firm
    One of the major factors that has professional associations soul searching, as well as senior partners, and causes the most dissatisfaction among PSF juniors is billable hours
    Billable hour requirements and time sheet completion treats people like cogs in a machine
    Focus on efficiency instead of effectiveness
    For clients, time spent on a job often has nothing to do with value
  • 17. Cont’d
    Harrex Group, NZ (source: J of Accountancy, 2008)
    Founded in 2007 by Brendan Harrex, first chief value officer at his former firm
    He says focus on time and cost only creates illusion of managing a PSF
    What really matters is value creation
    No more hourly billing, a change of culture
  • 18. Cont’d
    Key Performance Indicators for Harrex:
    * Ability to think strategically on behalf of clients
    * Client Communication
    * Delegation
    * Turnaround Time
    * Client Feedback
    * Effective Listening and Communication Skills
    * Knowledge Elicitation/Coaching
    * Risk Taking, Innovation and Creativity
    * Continuous Learning
    * Passion, Attitude and Commitment
    * Team Player
  • 19. Thank You!
    If you want any of the full references for work cited or have any questions, please feel free to contact me:,