Jerry Fletcher in Directors and Executives, Entrepreneurs, Marketing CEO • Z-axis Marketing, Inc. May 7, 2020 · 3 min read · 3.5K

Consultant Marketing After the “All Clear”

Consultant Marketing After the “All Clear”

Yes, I’m more than a little squirelly.

Yes, I’d like to go back to business as usual.

No. That is not going to happen.

Maybe in Korea or New Zealand but not in the United States. It is never going to be the same for consultants here.

Negative Impact

The virus had a negative impact on over 85% of consultants that responded to our annual survey! They said things like this:

  • “People will have to get better at online marketing because onsite is taking a hit.”
  • “Business will never be the same--smaller locations, work from home, telecommuting, more younger people, more technical”
  • “We will use more virtual communications, marketing and delivery. Agility might become more important to clients and prospects.”

An on-line happy hour

Tribal customs die hard. A client sent me a Zoom recording of an exit meeting following a successful engagement with a client company. The entire team had gathered by Zoom with a drink at hand to celebrate the work they had done together, work which will ultimately make the company stronger as they emerge from the social distancing requirements.

Six months ago they would have met in a local tavern, clinked glasses and bottles in shared toasts and enjoyed the camaraderie of a group that had come to know each other better than before because of their shared experience.

Shared memories are a significant part of what happens in any consulting engagement. A happy hour gathering is a pleasant way to share them. That won’t go away when the country “opens for business.” We can expect social gatherings to continue. The only question is when.

We are a solution. That will continue”

That was one respondent’s take on what the future of consultant marketing has in store.

She was right.

That is what consultants do. They help solve problems which may not always be apparent to the folks that wind up hiring them. That won’t change. But the digital wind has picked up force in the last five years.

The digital shift

Another respondent said, “There will be more digital than ever before.”

Back in 2015, out of 100 billion monthly Google searches, those from mobile devices finally surpassed desktops for the first time. WordPress powered 25% of web sites as of early November. Usage of both has soared. A shift to digital has finally started to impact Consultant marketing.

Referral Marketing is still, far and away the most used consultant marketing strategy. But selling online and internet marketing are showing significant gains across all three of the categories we’ve been studying all these years (start up, growth and established firms). Internet marketing is now preferred over networking, direct marketing and chasing new contracts from former employers and clients.

Controversial and social media

In follow up conversations via old -fashioned phone calls and using the bright shiny technology of the moment (Zoom) I found myself looking for a way to summarize what was working for those who were using digital marketing to their advantage. Here’ what I came to believe:

“Controversial gets you heard. Proof gets you hired.”

Jerry Fletcher

Building a brand onsite or online requires a unique trust-based identity that is memorable. You need a hook. Being controversial is one way to do that. The few consultants that go out of their way to be controversial do it with the end in mind not just as a knee-jerk reaction.

They consider the question or concern and based on their knowledge of similar situations and successes in the past disagree with the common assessment providing convincing arguments for their viewpoint based on solid analytics.

The awareness of their name/company name has grown exponentially as has their ability to generate new business from sources they had not considered before. Yes, they still must find a way to interview prospects, analyze their situation and provide a value-based proposal. Yes, they have to provide clarity and speed to solutions. Yes, they need to keep their eyes and ears open for follow-on work. But they no longer discount the source of the initial contact.

After the “All clear”

There will be “New Normal.” The established firms will be the first to take advantage of the digital technology to build a business development approach. A few will structure business development around powerful video capabilities almost like establishing a “personality newscaster.” Some will do ongoing research with an eye toward finding the areas where “common knowledge” ain’t. A segment will build a “tribe” that become willing purchasers of individual products, events and subscription services. My short- hand way of identifying these approaches is:

  • Video Personality
  • Opposite Viewer
  • ·Productizer

The biggest shift

One major shift will happen because of the Coronavirus. The strip mall and other shopping centers will be converted to housing locations faster than it has been happening already. Small and medium businesses will abandon the idea of having leased offices. They will shift to home offices renting shared offices and meeting spaces on an as-needed basis. Larger companies will take a long look at the lower cost of providing all the equipment needed for a home office versus the cost of “cubicle farms” as they digitize more and more of the administrivia.

I’m betting that we’ll find some new ways to take care of our “social critter” needs.

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.


Brian McKenzie 2 d ago · #6

I have been busier these last 3 months more than ever. 6 to 10 video conferences every day since mid Feb. I live on Zoom & Coffee. You want solutions on healthcare, travel, security, military, hospitality, protection measures, risk mitigation, insurance .... contact me - I still have a few slots available.
Looking forward to when everyone goes back to work - I am planning a great summer vacation. ;)

Edward Lewellen May 11, 2020 · #5

@Jerry Fletcher, can you give some examples of being 'controversial' that your clients have found effective?

+1 +1
Jerry Fletcher May 11, 2020 · #4

#3 Fay, Trust is the most important factor. Who you know matters. What you know is important but who trusts you is the most important element in building a business. And so it goes.

+1 +1
Fay Vietmeier May 9, 2020 · #3

“Controversial gets you heard. Proof gets you hired.” ~ Jerry
Trust keeps you hired. ~ fem-v

+2 +2
Fay Vietmeier May 9, 2020 · #2

@Jerry Fletcher
Having worked in the staffing industry for about 20 years as a branch & region manager this resonated: especially the "proof" that has to shine our of a resume

“Controversial gets you heard. Proof gets you hired.”

One other thing comes to mind and that is trust ... This keeps you hired ;~)
Earning trust is its own unique challenge ... only possible over time and action that affirms being trustworthy.

... sharing your worthy post ;~)

+1 +1
Ken Boddie May 8, 2020 · #1

As one who spends most of his work time either beavering away in seclusion in my own office, or communicating with my in-house clients and external providers either on the phone or by email, I am now finding that I can work considerably more efficiently from home. Coronavirus has saved me two and a half hours travel time each day, forced me to set up my office at home more efficiently and more completely, and made me considerably more conversant with Skype for Business (more common in my company than Zoom). As they say, Jerry, there are no problems, only opportunities. Pity I'm on the wagon or I'd drink to that. 🥂

+5 +5