Digitalization is pushing the business models of many industries, not only in the industrial sector with Industry 4.0, but also in the consulting industry (Consulting 4.0). A recently released survey shows, what digitalization means for consulting firms and the buying behavior of clients.
Digitalization is changing the world of consulting. Consulting firms are concerned with a profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies. In terms of digital, consulting firms focus on these areas which are crucial for success and growth: business models, branding and marketing, slaes and acquisition of new clients as well as Knowledge management. A majority of clients/ buyers rely on digital market places and communities, B2B networks such us Linkedin and Xing as well as search engines as most commonly used online source of information when looking for prospective consulting firms.
Given the fact, that clients’ procurement organizations will look for more efficient and effective ways to procure consulting services the use of digital media and channels such as marketplaces, online communities, portals and search engines will gain further importance. Buyers of consulting services find it difficult to explore consulting firms especially for specialist topics. On the other hand, one of the big challenges for consulting firms is how to increase their brand perception in the minds of clients. In fact, the surveyed consultants indicate that they are satisfied with the perception of their brands in the minds of their current customers but often are lacking perception in the minds of prospective clients.
Besides building and maintaining longer and stronger client relationships and relying on traditional marketing techniques and channels, online marketing strategies become more and more key for consulting firms in order to boost further growth since the availability of digital media & online channels has already remarkably changed how consulting clients look for prospective consulting firms. Digital marketing, however, differs from traditional marketing in that it involves a wider range of marketing elements such as search engine advertising, search engine optimization and inbound marketing activities as well as presence on digital market places and within communities.
What are consulting firms doing with regard to their digital marketing strategies and activities? Looking at the responses to the question which online marketing channels are currently used by consulting firms to increase brand building, visibility and lead generation one cannot recognize a focused strategy or a high engagement in these channels. Obviously, there is still room for improvement in this area.
Digitalization is changing the world of consulting. Consulting firms are concerned with a profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies. The majority of the surveyed consulting firms located the highest potential for the digitalized consulting value chain in the area of knowledge management and brand & marketing. Since also client organizations, i.e. buyers of consulting services, not anymore solely rely on personal relationships and recommendations, but look for transparency. Increasingly also through digital channels. Among the online techniques used by buyers of consulting services digital market places & portals have eclipsed more traditional methods such as search engines and social media channels (e.g. LinkedIn).
You can find all results of the Survey on the Digitalization of Consulting Firms, 2016 here.
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