Simply because your title doesn’t say Marketing Strategist or Director of Strategy does not mean you should sit on your hands and not suggest strategic solutions to your internal and external clients. Consider this for example:
We always have one point of contact for all clients. However, at any given time, a client can call and speak with any member of our team. Everyone on the team has some knowledge of what is going on with our clients and can answer or find the answer to their questions. We conduct business this way because it not only is significantly important to our agency’s brand and efficient, it provides a valuable service and benefit to our clients.
There has been a dynamic shift in professional services marketing recently. Marketers are moving from being defined by the “tactics” they perform to being respected for the strategic contributions they can make to their firms. But don’t stop there: strategic thinking doesn’t need to be confined to the marketing department. We truly believe that everyone you hire, from admin support to partners to your IT professionals, must have a strategic mind. The ability to think outside-the-box and offer solutions that will exceed their client’s needs is essential to the success of any company.
Now, a strategist will be defined differently based on whom you speak with. Many define a strategist as someone who understands your business and the importance of your brand to the business and looks for ways to improve and grow both. If you are a Tax Manager or an associate in a law firm, your job responsibilities should go beyond what you see within your job description. You should be continually looking for ways to offer additional value and benefits to clients. Yes, much of the firm’s macro-strategy is done at a high level with Marketing Partners, Managing Partners and the COO. However, all employees should be strategists on the micro level, a thought process that will raise the level of client service, increase thought leadership, increase awareness of the firm brand, the clients’ brands and ultimately bring in new business.
Time and time again, we hear that companies hire professional service firms for their expertise and problem solving abilities. No one wants a cookie cutter approach. Differentiation is critical! A strategic approach is driven by the attitude and culture set forth at the partner level and even at orientation on your first day on the job. Take time to identify ways that your hires can contribute to the strategic conversation and educate them about the most appropriate ways and time for them to begin. Without the education component you never will give permission for your hires to do anything other than what’s in his or her job description, resulting in a loss for everyone.
Take a step back and think about your firm. Are your employees or colleagues strategic contributors? If not, why is that the case? If so, what benefits have you seen as a direct relationship to the strategic culture? Let us know.