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Driving the Client Journey: Relationship Marketing in the Digital World

Clients – and prospective clients – go through a journey from awareness through preference, trial, and finally commitment.  One of the key roles for leadership (and the board) is to examine how that journey can be helped along – and made more efficient. 

In this white paper, we examine the underlying keys to using digital on these journeys, and specifically for improving growth, marketing effectiveness, and client engagement. Perhaps unsurprisingly, technology is only one ingredient – and not even the most important: strategy and content are.  We unpack these with one of the more profound – and easy-to-understand – concepts, the Trust Curve, and describe how to integrate Content, Social Media, Marketing Automation, CRM. 

Despite the promise of digital, has it really helped your firm grow? 

Have clients suddenly decided that a computer – not a referral or an RFP – is how they will choose their advisors?  And has your firm willingly chosen to substitute LinkedIn and other Social Media activities for billable hours?

Firms today are faced with many challenges: Fee and cost pressures.  Heightened competition from non-traditional (and differently structured) competitors.  Changes at the intersection of marketing and technology. And just perhaps, older marketing strategies that might benefit from a new perspective.

In the 1940s, marketing was characterized by individual relationships built at the club.  In the 1950s, marketing was revolutionized by the 4P marketing framework.  The levers of price, product, promotion, and place could be used to precisely position a firm’s offerings.

While club memberships are still important for many professionals, and the 4Ps are still foundational, there is a fundamental flaw with this framework: where does the target client fit in – and what do you want them to do?

Enter the Trust Curve, a directional marketing model that precisely targets these gaps, while also wiring in content and technology.  The Trust Curve posits that with the appropriate stimulus, trust – and relationships – will improve over time – nothing new yet. What is new is the journey they travel: these targets move along the Trust Curve through the four stages of Awareness, Preference, Trial, and Commitment.

1) Awareness:  The target client is aware of their problem, and aware of your firm.

2) Preference: The target has surveyed the marketplace, and they prefer your firm over competitors.  But they would like to be sure.

3) Trial:  They have had an opportunity to experience your service, and have satisfied themselves that you can solve their problem.  At an emotional level, there is alignment between their brand and yours.

4) Commitment:  They sign an engagement letter, or agree to a particular course of action.

Randall Craig:  The Trust Curve

 

How might this actually be executed? How can you use this concept to reduce marketing opportunism and improve the marketing outcome?  And how does Social Media, content, and other technology fit into the mix?

Consider a prospect considering a particular law firm:

  • Awareness: We are going to be licensing our process to a company in France, and need a lawyer with this special type of experience.  Our accountant recommended Smith Partners, and our banker recommended Jones Partners.
  • Preference: We reviewed both firms’ websites, and did some Google searching. We noted that Jones specializes in licensing, and has an office in Paris. And a LinkedIn check showed several 2nd degree connections.
  • Trial: We filled out the Jones “licensing checklist” document, and it seemed comprehensive.  We then met the firm to see if there was a fit.
  • Commitment: We signed their engagement letter.

The Trust Curve is not just useful in the firm’s marketing department. Consider how it can be used within the recruitment process:

  • Awareness: Posted the job at universities.
  • Preference: Screened candidates onto a short list.
  • Trial: Candidate Interviews
  • Commitment: Job offer

The Essence of a Marketing Strategy

Developing the initiatives that drive a relationship up the Trust Curve to commitment can only be done by leveraging two additional factors:  content, and technology – specifically marketing automation and CRM.  Here’s how:

Want to Read More of this Whitepaper? Fill out the form and we will send the full white paper to you immediately.

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  • Brad Christmas

    Brad Christmas

    CIO Akin Gump

    Their methodologies have depth and are effective. We get exceptional value for every dollar spent.

  • David Berman

    David Berman

    High-level advisor on accessible design United Nations

    We're pretty deep into it, but in an hour and half I learned six or seven things that I just didn't know before.

  • Stephen Libman

    Stephen Libman

    Transformational thinker

    I learned 7 or 8 killer ideas that I need to put into action right away.

  • Brad Christmas

    Brad Christmas

    CIO Akin Gump

    Their methodologies have depth and are effective. We get exceptional value for every dollar spent.

  • David Berman

    David Berman

    High-level advisor on accessible design United Nations

    We're pretty deep into it, but in an hour and half I learned six or seven things that I just didn't know before.

  • Stephen Libman

    Stephen Libman

    Transformational thinker

    I learned 7 or 8 killer ideas that I need to put into action right away.

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