Professional Services Marketing Through the Downturn

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How have professional services marketers adjusted their strategies in response to the downturn? Our recent survey reveals that on average the brand has become less important and thought leadership more so, but the top priority remains has stayed the same.

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Professional Services Marketing Through the Downturn

  1. 1. Professional Services Marketing in the Downturn Initial Survey Results May 2009
  2. 2. Survey Results Summary > Nearly half of respondents anticipate lower revenue in 2009, but almost one‐ quarter anticipate growth   – Similar proportions report budget cuts (52%) vs. budget growth (22%)   – The majority have not seen marketing layoffs > Lead generation was marketers’ top goal in 2008, and remains so in 2009   – However, thought leadership has increased in significance and brand‐building has  become less important > Marketers will pursue these goals primarily through direct marketing and written  materials (collateral, POVs, and case studies) – The use of advertising has stagnated, and blogging has yet to become an important  part of the mix – Advertising and blogging are also the only marketing vehicles significant portions of  respondents plan to cut post‐recession > Most respondents think the recession will end in the first half of 2010
  3. 3. Projected 2009 Revenue 5% 14% 19% Significantly less than 2008 Slightly less than 2008 About the same as 2008 Slightly more than 2008 Significantly more than 2008 33% 29% 47% project less revenue, 29% say revenue will be steady, and 24% anticipate  revenue growth
  4. 4. Marketing Budget, Past Six Months 4% 4% 8% Reduction by more than 50% 10% 23% Reduction by 25%-50% Reduction by less than 25% No significant change Increase of less than 25% Increase of 25%-50% 26% Increase of more than 50% 25% 52% have seen budget cuts, 26% have not had any changes, and 22% have larger  budgets now than they did six months ago
  5. 5. Marketing Headcount 8% 1% 1% Reduction by more than 50% Reduction by 25%-50% 5% 57% Reduction by less than 25% 8% No significant change Increase of less than 25% Increase of 25%-50% Increase of more than 50% 20% A slim majority have had no significant change in marketing headcount;  33% have  seen layoffs, and 10% have seen growth
  6. 6. Marketing Priorities 2008 Marketing Priorities Lead Generation 4.05 Brand Awareness 3.68 Thought Leadership > While the order of marketing  3.29 2.53 Supporting New Products priorities has not changed  since 2008, their relative  1 2 3 4 5 Mean Scores: 5=Highest Priority, 1=Lowest Priority importance has evolved: – Lead generation has gained  importance 2009 Marketing Priorities – Building brand awareness has  become relatively less  4.39 Lead Generation important, and thought  Brand Awareness 3.42 Thought Leadership leadership relatively more so 3.40 Supporting New Products 2.66 1 2 3 4 5 Mean Scores: 5=Highest Priority, 1=Lowest Priority
  7. 7. Single Highest Marketing Priority Respondents Describing Each as quot;Highest Priorityquot; > Similarly, 60% say lead  51% generation is now their single  Lead generation 60% highest priority, versus 51%  Building brand awareness 26% 23% in 2008 2008 Establishing thought 13% 2009 > Building brand awareness  leadership on one or more topics 16% remains the next‐most  Supporting new product 7% 9% common top priority,  introductions although it has lost ground  since last year
  8. 8. Marketing Vehicles Current Importance Targeted Direct Marketing New web copy and collateral New POVs > Targeted direct marketing  External Events New Case Studies and written materials are  PR most important Firm Events Blogging – These are also generally  1 2 3 4 5 Online Ads the vehicles respondents  Mean Scores: 5=Very Important, 1=Not at all Important Print Ads are using more of now > Blogging has seen increased  Change in Use in Past Year use, but remains the third‐ Targeted Direct Marketing lowest priority New web copy and collateral New POVs External Events New Case Studies > Advertising is a low priority,  PR and is not gaining  Firm Events Blogging significance 1 2 3 4 5 Online Ads Mean Scores: 5=Significant Increase, 1=Significant Decrease Print Ads
  9. 9. Anticipated Usage Post‐Downturn 9% Print Ads 68% 23% 23% Online Ads 65% Increasing 12% Steady 37% Decreasing Blogging 53% 9% 45% All Other Vehicles 53% 3% The vast majority of respondents plan on maintaining or increasing their use of  all these vehicles after the downturn; however, more than 20% plan to cut print  ads, and around 10% will cut online ads and blogging
  10. 10. When do you predict the downturn will  no longer affect your business? 1% 14% 6% Q209 Q309 31% Q110 20% Q210 Q310 Q410 28% 92% of respondents believe it will be 2010 before the recession will no longer affect  business, and the majority believe reprieve will come during the first half of that year
  11. 11. Demographics: Title, Industry, Size 46% Marketing Sales/Business Development 54% Management consulting 27% 34% Accounting Legal IT Services Association 13% 5% Corporate Training/Executive 9% Education 0% 12% Other (please specify) 10.4% <$10 MM 18.2% 36.4% $11-$50 MM $51-$100 MM $101-$250 MM $251-$500 MM 5.2% $501-$1 BN $1 BN+ 6.5% 11.7% Prefer not to disclose 5.2% 6.5%
  12. 12. About the Research > This online survey was completed by 105 respondents in  April 2009 > To come:  Full analysis, including comparison of companies  that have maintained or grown revenue with those that  have not
  13. 13. About Alterra Group > Alterra Group was founded specifically to help professional  services organizations address their thought leadership  marketing challenges. Our approach has three key elements:  – developing unique points of view,  – articulating those points of view, and  – building powerful marketing campaigns around the content. > Contact us: – www.alterra‐group.com – info@alterra‐group.com – 216.539.9710

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