Before speaking with Enoch Sears about this topic on the Business of Architecture, I arrived at a realization that summed it up. Consumer marketing is (and has been since the 60's... as Enoch rightly pointed out!!) driven by the infamous 4 P's. For those unfamiliar, this model and its application to professional practice is expanded on at the top of this video. But, experience tells us that there is a better way for professional practice. So, here's what I came up with instead.
2 P's that drive success for professional practice, in the modern marketplace:
- Point of difference - Consider developing a unique and valued difference that goes so deep that none of your peers do exactly what you do. When they come across someone that needs that service, what do you think will happen? They will refer to you. What else? So, in one strategic move, you turn your competition into referrers and you expand your market. Point of difference can be developed in the most creative of ways. Beyond service, it can also include style, process and many other possibilities.
- Partnership - It's not the legal definition of partnership that's being referred to here but rather that 360 degrees of 'partnerships' professionals develop throughout their careers. The alignment of such partnerships is a direct reflection of the strength and reach of the practice. So, if the (literal) partners running the firm share a vision for its future, their leadership will have a positive rippling effect throughout. But, if they are disconnected, whether discussed or not, it negatively impacts motivation, performance and growth. The same is true of partnerships with staff, referrers and other complementary businesses.
All of these ideas are expanded on at the 6:30 mark on the video above with very specific and concrete scenarios to take this discussion out of the theoretical. Although our talk is primarily focused on marketing architecture firms (and law firm marketing by contrast), the principles are transferable to professional practice generally.
Plans for doing this video began when I noticed a wave of clients going through sweeping changes all at once. There were clear patterns in the resulting solutions that enabled them to manage ensuing risk and also take advantage of opportunity (including both the overt and hidden). So, instead of waiting for issues to force your hand, you can put some of this learning into place proactively!
- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto