Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed…
Sylvia S. Montgomery, CPSM — Sr. Partner, Hinge
Marketing, branding, and strategy implementation is what Sylvia Montgomery delivers to her professional services clients. As Sr. Partner at Hinge, a branding and marketing firm for professional services, Sylvia provides strategic counsel to national clients, relying on her on-the-ground experiences to provide a “realistic” dimension to the practical advice she shares.
Sylvia frequently speaks on topics related to branding and marketing for professional services; she is a co-author of Online Marketing for Professional Services and is currently co-authoring the book Inside the Buyers Brain: Closing the Gap between Buyers and Sellers of Professional Services. Sylvia has an MBA from University of Maryland, University College; an MFA from the George Washington University and a BA from Trinity University.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
Hinge has one main office in Reston, VA. The firm was started in 2002 and the current corporate management structure was put into place in 2010. Hinge is an LLC and there are 4 partners who are all active in the firm. Hinge has 22 on-site employees with an additional 8 FTEs. Hinge has focused on working with professional services firms since 2004 – these include architects, engineers, construction firms, accounting and finance firms, management consulting, technology and government contracting. Our interactions with these firms are energized around conversations with C-level executives, including senior level marketing.
Tell us your story about reaching C-Level executives to do business?
Publishing high quality, relevant, and free content on a regular basis has increased our ability to engage with prospects, thus creating a self-selective lead-generating system. Once a potential client has found us, our stream of content helps educate and qualify them as they gain an understanding of the Hinge brand. The prospects that are then interested in our content keep coming back for more. When they are ready to buy services, they turn to us. As we started to uncover this shift in nurturing target audiences, we began sharing it with our own clients and prospects. What’s worked for us is also working for our own clients as they rollout content to attract and nurture their own prospects.
Do you know of other examples of businesses being creative in this endeavor?
Yes, here are just a few but I can get you more, depending on what industry is of interest to you (they would all be in professional services).
GHT, Ltd – an mechanical, electrical and plumbing consulting firm in Washington, DC
Claraview – a business intelligence and analytics consulting firm in Reston, VA
Modative – an architecture/engineering firm in Los Angeles, CA
What lessons, if any, do you derive from these stories?
Consider the more traditional model for developing trust and business relationships.
Meet > Relationship > Expertise > Trust > Client
Now, consider a model aided by online marketing. This model looks like:
Issue > Education > Expertise > Trust > Client
We are researching and purchasing everything else online. Why not professional services? A number of lifestyle shifts have also driven the changes in expectations: technology, digital demographics, expectation for free education and transparency, amongst others.
With valuable and helpful content, you firm can have a much greater reach. Traditional marketing relies heavily on personal contact, referrals, and word-of-mouth techniques to spread a firm’s message, making it difficult for professional services firms to break out of local markets. An effective content marketing plan will harness the power of Internet search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, allowing you to reach an audience not bound by geography. Also, your content marketing plan helps you maximize the work you already do, giving you more bang for your buck.
12030 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 120 | Reston, Virginia 20191
phone 703 391 8870 | fax 703 391 8871 |
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