Former management consultant Nick Synnott has launched a digital marketing agency dedicated to the consulting industry. Create Engage aims to help consultancies better reach and engage with their clients to deliver a better return on investment from their marketing spend.
Just as consulting firms are advising chief marketing officers and their clients on how they should upgrade their digital marketing to be successful in the rapidly changing marketplace, consultancies themselves must stay up to date. A host of factors mean that the way the industry reaches its clients and interacts with them is fundamentally different than a decade ago, with client expectations changing, different channels used, the rise of Google and social media, and much more.
One main development is that with growing competition and demand for transparency, consulting firms can no longer just build on their reputation and informal network. They need to make clear what their differentiators are, and accurately and effectively convey this to managers in the outside world which are using Google, consulting platforms and even review sites to orient themselves for the firms most suited to deal with their pressing challenges.
Highlighting the relevance of marketing focus, a 2018 study by Consultancy.org in collaboration with a B2B marketing specialist found that fast-growing consulting firms invest proportionally more in marketing, echoing a 2017 study from Hinge Marketing which found the exact same thing among UK firms. However, a recent paper by Propero Partners found consultancies on average lag behind in the adoption of digital marketing, something Nick Synnott has consistently seen in practice.
“I speak to many managing partners and consulting leaders whose number one challenge is generating new leads for their business. While they see the power of digital marketing, they struggle to effectively leverage it to generate new business and return on investment,” Synnott told Consultancy.uk.
According to Synnott – who also hosts industry podcast ‘Climb in Consulting’ – consulting firms that manage to reach a high maturity of digital marketing reap “significant” benefits in both branding and sales. He added, “The client’s we’re working with are already seeing the increase in reach, engagement and return on investment that they are able to achieve through embracing digital and changing the way they approach marketing and business development as a whole.
“Engaging with new clients and creating new opportunities from outside their network is where effective digital marketing can be so powerful. Platforms like LinkedIn and mediums such as video and podcasts give consulting firms phenomenal opportunities to reach their target clients directly, at scale. If firms do want to grow, then this is one of the most effective ways to do so.”
Asked about which firms are leading by example in digital marketing, Synnott responded, “You only have to look at firms like Elixirr and 11:FS to see benefits digital marketing it can deliver for your business.”
Elixirr is a London-headquartered management consultancy that positions itself as a ‘challenger’ to what it sees as the established order of the sector. Since its inception, the firm has branched out to South Africa and the United States. Digital marketing has been instrumental in helping the firm’s partners get the word out. Testament to this approach is the fact that Elixirr has repeatedly been recognised for its digital marketing, including a prize at the 2018 Drum Marketing Awards and a nomination for the International B2B Marketing Awards in the same year. 11:FS is a financial services start-up that launched in 2016, and has since grown to a serious player in its niche. 11:FS is very active with thought leadership and on social media.
Synnott spent the last year speaking to over 40 leaders in consulting, as part of the ‘Climb in Consulting’ podcast series, and having heard about many of these critical factors for success first-hand, the former Baringa Partners consultant decided to launch Create Engage to help consultancy firms ramp up their digital sales, marketing and business development. According to the entrepreneur, Create Engage will help firms deliver effective digital marketing that generates a tangible return on investment. The offering his firm brings to the market includes digital marketing strategy definition, digital campaign management, management and support, podcast development and internal capability building.
For more information on Create Engage, see www.createengage.co.uk.