Digital marketing tools have brought marketing a long way since the days of placing a phone book ad, and nowhere is this progress more useful – and more underused – than in the marketing of professional services. “Professional services” refers to those companies and people who sell their time and expertise, as opposed to a tangible good. Industries include, among others, architecture, engineering, law, consulting, and finance.
6 Digital Marketing Challenges
Unlike companies selling tangible goods, there is usually nothing potential customers can see or touch. The deliverable may be clear and vivid in the provider’s mind, but abstract and amorphous in the client’s.
Lack of immediacy
Unlike software-as-service or other technology, there is usually not an immediate result. There is no “installation finished” or “conversion successful” pop-up that appears within moments of hiring, for example, an architect.
Professional service fees tend to be more expensive than what people are used to paying for daily items. The cost of legal representation or of architectural services can easily be the same as the cost of a car, and without, in the client’s mind, anything to show for it.
No comparison shopping
Professional service fees are generally within the sole control of the provider, based on whatever factors are relevant to that provider. Overhead, educational debt, insurance, and licensing expenses all factor into what, for example, a lawyer charges as an hourly fee. There is more pricing flexibility than with a fixed good, and it is all but impossible to conduct “apples to apples” comparisons. Customers are forced to evaluate a matrix of factors and prioritize those that are most important to them to make a choice. One service provider may be more expensive, but does the extra certification they hold justify the price? The lack of ability to compare service providers by a single factor (price, or location) can frustrate customers and cause them to feel that they are being duped in some way.