Business Ethos

The strength of your network reflects the strength of your business: it pays to be well connected.

It’s as true for corporations as it is for individuals; increased connections and deeper relationships equal increased revenue. Some organisations have perfected business networking on an industrial scale: Amazon, Google, iStore et.al. But are lessons from Internet retailers relevant for professional service companies?

The answer is yes, with caveats.

Internet retailers’ transactional business can scale in a way that is impossible for more complex professional service products or services. For practical purposes Internet retailers do not have to limit business volume: they can scale to meet demand and customer expectation.

In contrast, professional service marketers have to match demand to available resources. The challenge is not to build networks per se but to network profitably. In other words: maximise connections with organisations that deliver the greatest return and sever unprofitable links; which is where ‘Business Ethos’ becomes relevant.

Business Ethos is your organisation’s character. It is how you are perceived (and remembered) by the world. Potential clients are attracted (or repulsed) based upon their predisposition to the type of organisation you are. Professional service marketers have to develop a business ethos that builds relationships and networks with a carefully targeted audience.

And this is how to do it online:

How we act

Attracting new business is a pro-active endeavour. Timing, frequency and the tools used to communicate create an impression in the marketplace. For most, interruption marketing: cold calling, email blasts, etc. is pushy to the point of rudeness. It is unattractive and unlikely to appeal to audiences most professional service organisations wish to connect with.

But connections need to be built and interruption marketing is possible if:

1.    The style of copy is right.
2.    Subject and materials are relevant.
3.    The individuals addressed have been carefully selected.
4.    Timing is correct.
5.    Objectives are limited.
6.    Follow-up is timely and appropriate.

It is the digital equivalent of the cocktail party. A charming and intelligent approach to an individual you wish to engage in conversation is likely to be successful. Limit the initial objective: ask too much of you new found friend and you will fail. Be prepared to follow up any interaction appropriately. Build your network.

What we say

Your organisation is perceived by what you say as well as how you say it. To create gravitas and presence communications have to provide value to your target market. Simple, time limited offers, will not build a network. Your content has to be thought provoking, engaging and help your readership solve complex, challenging issues. It should encourage further dialogue and networking. Good quality articles, white papers and commentary on matters affecting your customers’ marketplaces today will help to construct profitable networks.

Where Amazon will suggest a book or product based upon purchase or browsing behaviour, the professional services marketer should offer opinion or provide insight based upon individuals’ interests and browsing behaviour. Getting partners or busy professionals to create high quality content can be challenging and we address how to build content in a later post (Expedite).

Look forward

Building the right connections should be a priority for the professional services marketer and it starts with understanding the sort of organisation you are and the sort of clients you wish to attract. Once that hard work has been done planning and constructing communications should be easy!

Our next article looks at infrastructure: the tools and techniques required to get your message out, build your network and manage the opportunities generated.

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