In professional services, business growth is closely correlated to the composition of marketing skills within a firm.

Results from the Hinge Research Institute’s 2016 High Growth Survey point to identifiable differences in the way high-growth firms market their services. So whether you acquire the marketing skills you need to grow through an external partner or from within, you’ll want to consider adding the following four skillsets to your repertoire:

Skill 1: Digital Marketing

High-growth firms invest more in digital marketing than traditional techniques. You should consider doing the same.

figure-10

Our research results showed that high-growth firms put 23% less effort into traditional marketing techniques than their no-growth peers.

Importantly, they also put a greater (13%) investment into digital marketing tools and techniques. The top five digital techniques high-growth firms incorporate include:

  1. Marketing Video
  2. Blogging
  3. Guest Blogging
  4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  5. Social Media

Skill 2: Marketing Analytics

High-growth firms hold their marketing strategies accountable. How? By measuring their results over time.

If you want to succeed in today’s digital marketplace, your marketing skillset must include the ability to collect and evaluate data. Regular tracking and reporting of key marketing metrics helps puts firms in a better position to know what works and what doesn’t. This means you’ll be equipped to make course adjustments and fix problems as they arise.

But not all metrics are alike. You have to know which ones matter most. Our research shows that while no-growth firms tend to focus on bottom-line metrics like the number of new clients acquired and revenue growth, high-growth firms track a much wider group of variables spanning the entire marketing pipeline. In fact, they track 33% more metrics than no-growth firms.

figure-11

What are these metrics? The metrics most often tracked by high-growth firms include:

  • Website traffic
  • Social media engagement
  • Lead generation
  • Conversion rates

Skill 3: Knowing How to Integrate Digital and Traditional Marketing

Partly due to diligent tracking and monitoring, and partly due to their specific blend of tools and techniques, high-growth firms experience a greater impact from their marketing investment — about 23% greater, on average.

High-growth firms understand that they get the bests results when their digital and traditional marketing skills work in concert. Speaking engagements for example are part and parcel of most high-growth firms’ marketing programs, helping them become more visible to carefully selected audiences. But the extent to which professionals can even secure those speaking engagements is largely contingent upon how effectively they demonstrate their expertise through digital means – blogs, social media and e-books, to name just a few.

The table below illustrates my point. High-growth firms don’t only favor digital strategies. They prefer to incorporate a blend of online and offline approach — but a very specified blend:

table-8

Skill 4: Knowing Which Marketing Techniques Work Best

Which marketing techniques yield the best returns? To be sure, there are a multitude of options to consider when building your marketing strategy. There is, however, a set of techniques that high-growth firms use consistently to deliver the greatest return relative to their level of effort.

Here they are, listed in order of greatest return on effort:

table10

Not only do high-growth firms market themselves differently, they invest less effort than their no-growth peers.

figure-9

How is this possible? Think of “effort” as a blend of time, resources, and money. Marketing strategies that emanate from a well coordinated system of tools and techniques tend to make much more efficient use of total marketing investment. And the end result is less overall effort.

The Take-Away

There are four distinguishing marketing characteristics — or skillsets — of high-growth firms:

  1. They understand the power of digital marketing in today’s Internet-fueled environment.
  2. High-growth firms religiously track, measure, and adjust their marketing strategies with key metrics. They are continually fine-tuning their marketing programs to improve their performance.
  3. They have more balanced marketing systems in place. They get superior results by combining traditional and digital techniques.
  4. They have learned which techniques deliver the highest returns and spend little or no time on those that don’t produce results.

Make sure your team has these four skills covered. Firms that value them have far more efficient marketing programs and tend to spend less time and money on marketing. Now you can too.