Consulting






I offer services to help your firm improve its focus, message/point of view, and growth.

The world is a big, beautiful, complex place, and that is why a lot of things can work when it comes to marketing. I believe we have the best chance of getting you tangible, increase-the-bottom-line results when I help you navigate a very specific growth path in an orderly sequence, and so my services look like this:

  1. If your firm hasn’t defined a clear focus (aka specialized), the only service I can ethically sell you is the Focus service, which helps your firm specialize.
  2. If you are running an already-specialized firm or have implemented my guidance from the Focus service, then you can buy my Message/POV service to build the foundational assets of:
    1. A clear, distinctive website message
    2. A distinctive, compelling POV
    3. A set of foundational content assets that explain your POV, demonstrate your expertise, and target late-stage prospect questions/objections
  3. If you have the above in place, then my Growth service is the next step.

Phase 1: Clarify Your Firm’s Focus

If you’d like your firm to become marketable so you can stop relying on referrals and word of mouth, you need to clarify your firm’s focus.

I wrote the book on how services firms (not product businesses) can specialize using a systematic method that leads to increased profitability and marketability. With my Focus service, you’ll have outside input and real clarity on how to focus your business for best results.

Method

  1. I’ll gather information about your business (your goals, risk profile, decision-making style, organizational learning style, org change management style, and your areas of relative advantage in terms of client work, expertise, process, business model, visibility, and market access)
  2. I’ll gather information about your context (market size and dynamics, known and likely exogenous changes, competition, upward mobility options)
  3. I’ll make recommendations about your options
  4. I’ll help you understand the risk/upside of each option
  5. I’ll provide a high-level implementation roadmap
  6. I’ll help you write a clear, effective positioning statement

Results

The following are reasonable expectations about the results of this service, measured from the conclusion of the service:

MinMeanMax
Internal clarity about your firm's strategic direction0 weeks3 monthsDepends on you
Market has a better understanding of what you offer and your value1 month1 year2 years
6 months18 months3 years
Your prospects more readily accept higher pricing12 months18 months24 months
Your company cultivates observably-deeper expertise because of your more narrow focus12 months18 months24 months

Fees

My fee for this service: $10,000; delivery over 2 weeks

The next step if you’re interested is to share a few details about your situation, and then I’ll schedule a call with you:

Inquire About FOCUS Service

Phase 2: Improve Your Firm’s Message/POV

Prospects can see your firm as real experts before your first call with them. If they don’t, it’s because you don’t actually have real expertise, or (more likely) you’re not communicating that expertise in a way that’s compelling, unique, and accessible.

I can help your prospects see your firm as real experts using a strategy/coaching/editor model that builds a culture of thought leadership in your team. I’ve helped others formalize their point of view and I’ve written everything from white papers for Microsoft to a self-published book with over $100,000 in sales to over a half-million words of email list content.

Method

Quality content is hella expensive to outsource. Lead generation through purely organic inbound marketing is risky and slow-acting. How do we respond to these realities?

We reduce waste and only create content that:

  • Defines or explains your firm’s focus, offerings, and value
  • Demonstrates enough of your firm’s expertise to pass the “are they real experts?” sniff test (here’s a perfect example that I was not involved in creating: https://playbook.hanno.co)
  • Explains your firm’s point of view

If you’ll let me coach, edit, and gently push you, we can get this done in 6 months. I’ll help you define the content and messaging strategy, interview you and your SMEs, and be your editor/writing coach as you build the needed content.

Results

The following are reasonable expectations about the results of this service, measured from the conclusion of the service:

MinMeanMax
Prospects specifically comment on your message/expertise/POV as a factor in their buying decision3 months10 months2 years
Specific referrals because of your POV6 months18 months3 years
Inbound leads generated by your content (if accelerated by pay-to-play means)3 months12 months3 years
Your firms is considered for better projects than before6 months18 months3 years
Your thinking has observable/measurable impact in the market18 months2 years4 years

Fees

My fee for this service: $24,000; we work together for 6 months; you can pay a lump sum or 6 equal monthly payments.

The next step if you’re interested is to share a few details about your situation, and then I’ll schedule a call with you:

Inquire About MESSAGE/POV Service

Phase 3: Improve Your Firm’s Growth

Some firms are ready for marketing-led growth but aren’t ready to build out and staff a full marketing department. Their needs go beyond improved positioning, messaging, POV, and content to include outbound lead generation, aspirations like publishing a podcast their clients want to listen to, or recognized thought leadership.

Method

I will help you orchestrate a strategically-coherent subset of the following tools:

  • Thought leadership (I have a unique approach to this, described here: /how-does-your-firm-build-a-culture-of-thought-leadership/)
  • Brand marketing gifts
  • Outbound marketing (usually cold email) enriched by the content assets we built during Phase 2
  • Email marketing that focuses on re-using existing content assets and a “MVP” approach to any new content
  • Ad-based inbound marketing acceleration (A purely organic inbound marketing approach is ~18 months before first ROI in most cases; ad spend helps shorten that timeline)
  • Podcast-as-relationship-building (Podcast-as-audience-building is an extremely difficult game; podcasts as a way to meet prospects is much higher ROI)

Results

The following are reasonable expectations about the results of this service, measured from the conclusion of the service:

MinMeanMax
Sales calls booked because of your outbound marketing1 month3 months6 months
Your company cultivates observably-deeper expertise or greater confidence because of your staff's involvement in creating thought leadership.6 months12 months18 months
You get access to significantly larger or better opportunities because of brand marketing gifts or community presence.2 years3 years4 years

Fees

My fee for this service: $96,000 plus any contractors who are required (ex: outbound email prospecting, ad spend, podcast editing, etc); we work together for 12 months; you can pay a lump sum or 12 equal monthly payments and you can decide whether to renew for another 12 months or not at the end.

The next step if you’re interested is to share a few details about your situation, and then I’ll schedule a call with you:

Inquire About GROWTH Service

Results, Time, And Expectations

I believe it’s important for both sides of a marketing investment to be honest and realistic about results. I know my expertise can help you get better results than you could on your own, but neither of us can defy certain realities about how quickly a market — the somewhat diverse group of people you’re serving — absorbs new messaging and responds to your offer. Nor can we alter the rules of the platforms we use to reach prospects.

Most of my clients are not hiring me to replace an existing marketing consultant, they are hiring me because they want to more fundamentally change how they do marketing. This looks like:

  • Moving from a generalist to a specialist market position
  • De-risking a whale client
  • De-risking an outsized dependence on referrals
  • Using marketing to drive growth
  • Or investing in thought leadership/brand marketing

This means it’s largely on me to educate you about realistic expectations. If I was an omnipotent being, I would cause your content marketing to rank in number one position on every relevant Google search results page the day after you hire me. I am a smart, hard-working marketing consultant, but I am not an omnipotent being. 🙂

Equipment reliability is measured using a Mean Time To Failure. With marketing, I think in terms of Mean Time To Success: any given marketing action could result in success very quickly, and it could take longer than usual, so the best way to set your expectations is in terms of the usual range and the Mean Time To Success (MTTS).

So for each service I offer I describe the range and MTTS you should expect for key outcomes from that service. These numbers are an informed expert opinion, not a large sample size scientific study.

As you think about these ranges, keep the following general “sea changes” in mind:

  • Inbound marketing:
    • You should expect it to take 18 months for even very good new website content to start generating meaningful Google search traffic. This becomes dramatically shorter if accelerated by ad spend.
    • It is difficult to build a new audience for a podcast. This is a difficulty that is common to any media space that has become saturated, and one not easily overcome even with ad spend. The exceptions are hyper-niche topics (ex: https://agileembeddedpodcast.com). For those you can reasonably expect to build an audience that generates leads.
  • Outbound marketing:
    • “Warming up” a cold email list with thousands of members is a lengthy, technical process. Those who want to use outbound direct marketing need to think instead in terms of getting ROI from 50 to 100 surgically-chosen new contacts per month.
    • Using a podcast as an outbound introduction or relationship-building tool is not negatively affected by the media saturation headwinds mentioned above.
    • Using ad spend to reach an audience of web or video search traffic is not negatively affected by the headwinds mentioned above. Audio listenership is a tougher nut to crack, even with ad spend, though it’s not impossible. Even so, using a podcast as a relationship-building tool is an easier path to ROI.
  • In general:
    • If you have an existing social or email audience, you can get new content in front of a fraction of those audiences (a much bigger fraction with email, but still far less than 100%) immediately. This accelerates ROI on that content.
    • If producing valuable content is relatively easy and natural to you, then start today and eventually you’ll get some benefit from Google search, etc. But if it is not, then think about content the way you would think about signage or a building lease, and look for ways you can “pay-to-play” or use hyper-focused outreach to find buyers.
    • New channels and platforms can fulfill the promise of “attention at a discount”. The land rush that occurred with Clubhouse starting in the summer of 2020 is a good example, and the platform’s rapid decline from 10 to 2 million weekly users in a year is a good reminder about the downsides of this approach.

Again, the range and MTTS you should expect for key outcomes from that service:

Clarify Your Firm's FOCUS MinMeanMax
 Internal clarity about your firm's strategic direction0 weeks3 monthsDepends on you
 Market has a better understanding of what you offer and your value1 month1 year2 years
 Specific referrals because of your newly-clarified and publicized focus6 months18 months3 years
 Your prospects more readily accept higher pricing12 months18 months24 months
 Your company cultivates observably-deeper expertise because of your more narrow focus12 months18 months24 months
Improve Your Firm's MESSAGE/POV MinMeanMax
 Prospects specifically comment on your message/expertise/POV as a factor in their buying decision3 months10 months2 years
 Specific referrals because of your POV6 months18 months3 years
 Inbound leads generated by your content (if accelerated by pay-to-play means)3 months12 months3 years
 Your firms is considered for better projects than before6 months18 months3 years
 Your thinking has observable/measurable impact in the market18 months2 years4 years
Improve Your Firm's GROWTH MinMeanMax
 Sales calls booked because of your outbound marketing1 month3 months6 months
 Your company cultivates observably-deeper expertise or greater confidence because of your staff's involvement in creating thought leadership.6 months12 months18 months
 You get access to significantly larger or better opportunities because of brand marketing gifts or community presence.2 years3 years4 years

Contractor Costs

The following are reasonable cost expectations for competent contractors. Some components of my Growth service use specialized contractors to help us execute faster. Remember that with the Growth service, we are designing a blend of several tools that respects your context and supports your growth goals. That means you won’t need every kind of contractor listed below:

  • Outbound email: $2k to $3k/month
  • Podcast production: $1k/month

Proof

I write and publish case studies that help you understand my consulting methodology, but I don’t ask for testimonials for anything that I sell that costs more than $1,000. Testimonials are insufficiently objective for these higher-priced offerings. Sometimes clients offer unsolicited testimonials anyway. This client published one to their email list: /images/Philip-Morgan-Consulting-Mail-Remember-that-the-sun-rose-clear.pdf

Summary