Here's How High Growth Firms Become High Growth Firms
Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Strategic Issues

Here's How High Growth Firms Become High Growth Firms

May 16, 2014

by Tony Vidler

One of the very interesting things that hit my desk this week was a summary of a study into how high growth accountancy firms market themselves, and it is immediately obvious that the lessons from the accountancy world would apply to any professional services firm.
The difference in performance between high growth firms and low (to “no”) growth firms is stark:
a.  High growth firms grew at an average of 23.6% while spending only just over 1% of revenue on marketing
b.  Low growth firms shrank by an average of 3.7% while spending just over 2% on marketing
So some firms are going backwards and increasing costs to try and avoid going further backwards, whereas some firms are accelerating ahead and spending a negligible amount…clearly the differences in strategy and tactics is worth looking at.
The bottom line is that the most successful firms are spending a lot more effort on:
  • content creation (emphasising their thought leadership);
  • educational events (showcasing their expertise);
  • networking & trade shows (essential activity for opportunity creation); and;
  • website & SEO (ensuring they get found, and look good when they get found)

Pure public relations activity, sponsorship and advertising are areas that receive far less attention at high growth firms than at low growth firms.


This is further evidence that the marketing of professional services has changed enormously in recent years.  Consumers are far more discerning than ever before.  There is need to demonstrate expertise in advance of the client engagement, and there is a need to have an effective digital presence that supports your professional positioning.  Above all though, it would seem to me that those who are experiencing rapid growth are focused upon being thought leaders in their sector.

They are not afraid to have opinions or original thought, and are not afraid to publish or demonstrate their expertise in advance of the engagement.

The executive summary of the report can be found at:

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