How should business advisors really market themselves to their target customers?

Do business advisors market themselves properly or are many guilty of poor self-promotion or even no marketing at all?

 Business advisors and management consultants tend to fall into one of two categories: Specialists, or generalists.

What is the difference between a specialist and a generalist business advisor?

A specialist is usually a person with a specific skill, expertise or in depth knowledge of a particular subject area, topic, discipline or business function. They can also be experts in a specific market or sector.

Examples include: Human resources, Accounts / financial control, purchasing, process management, legal, manufacturing etc.

A generalist may have high levels of expertise and knowledge of a market or sector, but typically has a broader skills base. In other words, a lot of knowledge across several disciplines / functions, but perhaps without the in-depth technical knowledge of a specialist in each area.

Many generalists have good levels of expertise however in sales and marketing, and some have been managing directors or divisional managers. In other words, generalists usually have an ability to see the big picture and as such understand the importance of marketing and message targeting.

So back to the original question:

How should business advisors and management consultants market themselves to their target customers?

First question then is – who are their target customers? – Is the answer to this a type of customer, a sector, or a function within a business?

Specialists are sometimes too focused on finding a client (any client) who needs their particular expertise; but the problem here is who should they market themselves to? – For example; how can you create an effective marketing campaign if you don’t know specifically the type of client you want.

In other words, business advisors (both specialist and generalist) need to first decide on some basic targeting. Which sector? What size of business? Is there a sub-sector? Is there a preferred geography?

Once that has been established, marketing messages can be created that are relevant to those potential customers. These messages can THEN include any specialist services, or can be left as a broader, more generalist approach.

The important thing is that the right marketing message is going to the right potential client in the right sector.

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Steve Woods

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