Business Development – Breaking into Niche Areas
Have you tried all the marketing routes to find new business?
Whether that is networking, SEO, telemarketing, direct marketing, social networks, advertising etc. and found in general your results have not been what you expected? Whilst the debate around each of these areas can be explored fully the main fundamental question that needs to be answered is what targeting strategy have you been using?
It is quite easy to be a jack of all trades and advertise the fact that you are an accountant based in xyz region offering services in all areas of accountancy to just about everyone. But if for example we had a technology start-up wanting advice about R&D tax benefits and a visible 12 month cost package so they could balance their annual cash flow forecast, how would you sell that to them on your marketing collateral?
Exploiting niches is a great way to grow business because it positions you and your firm as “experts” in a crowded marketplace. If you are comparing two firms that are very similar, but one has overtly marketed that they have a long history of helping technology start-ups, which firm do you think would be chosen by our earlier technology start-up example?
Peter Rosenwald of Chartered Developments who help accountants develop their business comments on this approach:
“In the last few years, really since the start of the recession, we have seen a marked shift in the marketing of smaller and mid-tier firms, away from service and partner lead propositions towards sector based approaches. The big firms have been focussed on sectors for a long time, since the downturn however, smaller and regional big players have had to get a ‘greater bang for their marketing buck’ and have taken the sector route.”
“We believe the professions have got it right; their clients and prospective clients almost exclusively believe their industry sector is special and subsequently want an advisor; whether an accountant, lawyer, bank, actuary or investment specialist, to understand them deeply.”
“There also seems to be efficiencies to be gained from taking a sector approach, it’s easier to get PR, find introducers, create target lists, and gain client referrals. There are of course exceptions due to conflicts etc.”
Which sectors are the best to target?
Whilst it depends on your practice strategy there are some examples as follows:
- Barristers for financial service advice are great because of their wealth, their loyalty and their capacity to refer wealthy friends.
- The medical profession for accountants has been good for years, and particularly so currently because of the changes to the GP contract.
- Renewable energy was and still seems to be good because; they are growing fast, some are well funded and in some cases there is complex government legislation to unravel.
- Academies were and still are fabulous, so much so that some practices have gone for a real land grab or % stake in the market.
Peter will be speaking at our Partners Conference on 29th June, and if you have any questions regarding niche marketing we will be happy to take them and will follow up with a blog on all the question and answer session from the conference.