What is a marketing culture?

It may sound too easy to be true, but hey, that’s how we like it! Creating a firm culture around marketing is simply educating your employees on how they are part of your mission, vision and future of the firm.

Many of the elements that make up a firm’s marketing culture are dependent and reflective upon the leadership team. All professionals working around a dynamic leader want to mimic their actions. So, let’s give them some powerful leaders to mimic!

On the flip side, if you have a very introverted leader who doesn’t believe in the power of marketing or has one foot out the door, then developing a strong marketing culture may be a lost cause (initially). Referred to as “toxic employees” by Bob Corlett, a writer for The Business Journals, these people can hamper the marketing culture of your firm before it’s even begun to develop. Without the leaders of a firm leading by example, the firm cannot develop and sustain a strong culture for growth.

A friend of mine, Jack Kaser of NextLevel Business, defined marketing simply as “selling in advance.” Whether the activity is attending a networking function or serving an existing client, both are considered marketing opportunities! At the networking event, you could meet a potential client; however, cross-serving an existing client will definitely work out better in the long run (more value, more trust and more revenue potential).

A strong marketing culture helps your firm grow. Period!

Marketing that is ingrained in all employees is a habit; it is not seen as a chore, task or something on the checklist that needs to be done. It is a philosophy on how a firm does business and expectations are learned, not forced.

Anyone who has made a successful career in a professional service firm knows marketing (or practice development) – at some level. Building relationships and managing clients is marketing.

Characteristics of a firm with a strong marketing culture

Firm has a strategic plan, with goals and objectives set forth by the leadership team, but communicated to the entire firm.

  • Everyone in the firm understands what marketing is and isn’t
  • Employees are engaged at developing business (maybe at different levels, but still engaged)
  • Management openly shares information about gross revenue and about the current and future state of the firm

 Obstacles that hinder a strong marketing culture:

  • Leadership doesn’t understand the difference between marketing and sales
  • Individuals are focused solely on their personal development and not on the success of others
  • No strategic marketing guidance or processes in place to plan future success
  • A leadership team who sees marketing as overhead and not as an investment in growing the business

If your firm doesn’t have the characteristics of a STRONG marketing culture and you know there are obstacles that would hinder developing one, here are some ways you can begin developing a culture:

  • Educate all employees on the strategic initiatives of the firm (as a whole) – not a time to call out anything, just stay focused on the MACRO level overview
  • Evaluate and interview employees to find out their comfort level with different marketing and business development initiatives
  • Determine what the ideal marketing culture means to your firm – is it 80% involved / 20% uninvolved or 50%/50%?

The value and power of a strong marketing culture in any professional service firm is engaged employees, bottom line increases and improved efficiencies. Who doesn’t want that?

To learn more about a marketing culture and how to develop one in your firm  contact us to get started!