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5 Mistakes Professional Services Firms Make With Marketing


Your professional services firm is most on the path to failure or indefinite struggle without a marketing strategy. Nevertheless, the presence of one does not guarantee success. There are a number of actions prone to endangering your brand perception, as well as negatively impacting your ROI.

In working with several professional services firms across Nigeria, we have identified 5 marketing mistakes that are common with these firms. Read on to learn these five mistakes and how to avoid them in your own organisation.

1. Not having a dedicated marketing team:

Professional Services firms often run marketing as an extension of the MD’s desk. This means that there is no dedicated marketing staff or team to do mind the task. In its stead is an MD who implements marketing tactics at his convenience and mostly in piece meals as he neither has the time nor the expertise to implement strategic marketing communications for the firm.

One implication of this is that the value gained from marketing in this kind of firm will be next to nothing and as time goes on, the MD might be inclined to think that marketing doesn’t achieve results. The budget invested in marketing in a firm like this will be wasted.

Another consequence is that if the firm has a strong competition that is focused on consistent marketing with a desk of dedicated and strong marketing professionals, it will only be a matter of time before the competitor overtakes the firm.

2. Long approval process:

This is especially true for firms that do not have a dedicated marketing team. The aftermath of which being the approval process for marketing projects will be tedious and hard as there is no one consciously looking out for these projects. Besides, professional services firms are conservative in nature and have long approval processes.

Marketing, on the other hand, moves at the speed of light and long approval processes may hinder marketing campaigns or projects that are time-sensitive; especially consumer-generated campaigns based on latest industry news or trends, some of which have potency of between one day to one week.

Waiting for the admin to pass it to the GM’s Secretary/PA who then has to weigh the importance and then presents it to the GM when other priorities have given way, which may be two weeks later and no longer relevant at that time.

3. Treating marketing as an afterthought:

Most professional service firms do not make allowance for marketing while planning for their firms. It is often treated as an afterthought and receives almost no attention.

This is a mistake that any firm looking to gain relevance and thrive should have no hands in.

Brands often make the mistake of treating marketing only as an afterthought to be looked into when it seems they are way in over their heads and are struggling to keep afloat. Implementing marketing only when the organisation has challenges only puts pressure on marketing to focus on short term goals and tactics like promos, price slash etc.

4. Not implementing marketing as a long-term project:

A number of the professional services firms that invest in marketing do so on an ad-hoc basis. They implement a project once in two years and for a short period of time and never consider it again until a distant future. Meanwhile, marketing is supposed to be a huge part of your everyday project in running the organisation.

In one study, it was found that all that is needed to put off a potential client is one moment of dissatisfaction usually from lack of service, speed of return on assignments, lack of insight or experience in a specific sector; all of which is an action inconsistent marketing projects promote.

Like I always say, marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It is actually never done.

5. Lack of marketing budget:

Having things in motion to create content is only the first step. Even more important is the need to strategically have it appear in front of the right audience via hyper-targeted promotions.

For a firm where marketing was not planned for in the first place, there is almost always no budget set aside for it. Without an active budget, nothing gets implemented.

To quote Stuart H. Britt, “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you’re doing, but nobody else does.”

You need a marketing budget where your marketing team can periodically dip their hands into to promote your firm’s content to garner the right amount and type of website traffic and leads that will fill your funnel and grow your business.

To correct this mistake, consider including a marketing budget to your firm’s annual budget, to be channeled towards paid advertising like Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC), search engine marketing (SEM) or LinkedIn/other social media sponsored updates are a great way to get your content before the right ‘eyeballs’ as you’re building your organic audience.


Developing a marketing strategy is vital for the survival and growth of any business. Without one, your efforts to attract and retain customers are likely to be hit-and-miss.

With an effective marketing plan in place, you’ll be able to straighten out such things as who your actual customers are versus who you thought they were, potential new growth opportunities, make viable marketing investments, and avoid these five plus other marketing mistakes that could hurt your firm’s lead generation opportunities and brand reputation.