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Marketing For Consulting Services in Russia



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Today the range of consulting services in Russia is not much different from the Western market. Such services as IT consulting, legal consulting, financial consulting, management consulting and other kinds of consulting in Russia have a big coverage and are in great demand. Though, consulting services’ domestic market due to its youth, clients do not trust too much to Russian consultants, which in its turn gives some kind of advantage to foreign companies. By virtue of a limited market outlet and specifics of close relationships between Client and Contractor the promotion of consulting services has a number of specific features. Find more in the RMAA Group special report.

Diagram 1 – sales mix of consulting firms in Russia according to the results of 2011 business year, courtesy of “Expert” ad agency.

First of all, it is worth noting that any service has a number of points, which determine the specifics of its promotion.

1) The services are intangible, they do not have permanent features, and they cannot be checked in advance. That is why Client faces the problem of choosing a good Vendor. As for consulting, this question can be solved by development of a trade name, image-building policy, reporting of data about backlogs and customer notes.

2) The services cannot be separated from a man who renders them. Inevitably, the marketing of consulting services to a wide extent depends on communicative skills of the consultants and often involves them to take part in marketing actions.

3) As a rule, different Contractors have different quality of service, which makes important such things as quality management and Clients satisfaction with services rendered.

4) The services are impossible to keep, put away for later, whereas consulting company cannot render a service for keeping as well as for sales in advance.

A big dependence of marketing on the consultants makes necessary their participation in marketing activities. Besides the communication with clients as such that entails direct employment of consultants in marketing. This being said, it is essential that close cooperation of consulting agency staff and marketing specialist is done. That entails the following types of promotion:

carrying of limited fee-based seminars

public speech at client meetings

• publication of different articles in business press

• organization of industry conference or participation in conferences of partners

• carrying of public analysis

Each of these kinds of promotion gives a consultant leading role, whereas marketing specialist takes upon himself housekeeping issues and settles all relevant questions.

Many people think that advertisement of itself is in no need for use with consulting business. It is worth saying that it is partly true, for a variety of causes. Firstly, consulting services have quite limited target audience – CEO or top managers of companies experiencing growth or having stability. Secondly, the decision to appeal to consultants is usually taken by upper executive management who are often great on this matter. Third cause being the result of first two is that an appeal to consulting agencies usually happens either time and again or upon the recommendation of other companies, i.e. not owing to the direct advertising. It is especially true in regards to some exclusive services which are not easy to standardize. An example of successful combination of digital marketing tools for the biggest financial consulting company is described in our case-study"How to Enter the Russian Market With a Complex IT Product? RMAA Group's Case Study For WKFS on The Russian Market".

There is a consistent pattern saying that the more consultants’ result of work is formalized, the less such services need to be advertised. But in spheres of consulting offering standardized services such as general audit, auditing services, staff recruitment and et cetera an advertisement is used extensively. Keep in mind that the choice of consultant is influenced by such factors as brand awareness of consulting agency which makes an institutional advertisement a key element in promotion of consulting services.

Limited target audience imposes big constraints on the choice of promotion methods of consulting services. Particularly, among all the media sources the one and the only appropriate for advertisement is print media. Naturally it is a good idea to rely on the publications which are in favor with your potential clients. These are business and specialized newspapers or magazines. An advertisement in business publications of general nature has a big coverage, but it does not necessarily match your target audience. Specialized publications have a less coverage but designed for a limited target audience.

Your advertisement may be very effective if you choose issues consisting of some ratings or any referral information, because Client may use this one for a several months which increases greatly you’re an effect of your press advertising.

Do not forget to publish short bio in offline and online reference works. Such publication does not require big expenses from you but allows Clients find information about your company. Mind geographical targeting if you prefer offline reference works. Among all online reference works the most notable are,,

As for outdoor advertisement, its usage should be very selective. The most effective places to put your advertisement of consulting services are airports, business centers, specialized conferences and exhibitions, billboards and street banners with location in close proximity to offices of your potential clients. Some companies put their billboards near tax office buildings, registration chambers and arbitration courts, i.e. in places where their potential clients may across with this advertisement.

Promotion through the Internet should be used with care. Banner advertisement of consulting services is ineffective, its CTR counts less 0.5%. Though, if your potential clients belong to some narrow field, it is a good idea to place a banner on a specialized site. Besides, CEO optimization is on the front burner to promote consulting services. Please make sure your site to stay in Top-10 of the main search engines in Russia.

One more method to promote consulting services is a sponsorship. It is worth paying attention to the sponsorship of professional conferences, higher education institutes and cultural activities.

Making an effective advertising strategy for a specific consulting company depends on a lot of factors beginning from the kind of services and seasonality to the company size and sales cycle length. RMAA Group specialists will help you to choose a really effective strategy for promotion on a Russian market.

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About the Author

Digital Strategist. Head of one of the project groups at RMAA. Maria started her journey in digital marketing in 2009. 

Author Maria Romanenko

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