If you have been reading my blog for some time, you know that one of the key tenets of my growth philosophy is that firms must align their core capabilities, market opportunities, and brand relevance if they want to set a smart growth strategy in motion. Today, we are drinking our own Kool-Aid® and augmenting all three.

 

For the past decade, large professional services firms have grown bigger and more diversified through both acquisitions and organic growth. At the same time, much of the remaining traditional industry has been eaten away on one end by boutique specialty firms and by IT/SaaS providers on the other end.
Food for Thought
 

Annual combined revenue of the Big 4 accounting firms

Individual GDPs of 2/3 of the world’s countries

 

>$120B1

<$120B2

 

Today, Deloitte, Accenture, and McKinsey are as much about digitization as accounting, outsourcing or strategy. Boutiques, on the other hand, are offering deep, specialized knowledge, flexibility and affordability that generalists cannot or will not provide.

 

Top 10 Consulting Players

Market Share

20112015 
36.3%3 53.4%4 

 

Many IT/SaaS providers have digitized services once provided by many firms (project management, research, accounting, IT, marketing, law, systems integration, et al.) and give away conventional consulting intellectual capital as “content” to attract users.

 

Source: Forrester Research Inc.

 

When I started Prudent Pedal five years ago, I had a vision of elevating professional services marketing from its lowly “make it pretty” position to one of strategic business impact. Prudent Pedal was never intended to be a marketing “agency.” We don’t focus on design, PowerPoint, logos or websites. We began as—and remain—a management consultancy.

Prudent Pedal:

 

RELATED: The Messy Manifesto

Our clients and work represent some of the world’s top professional services firms. Still, more and more boutique firms and IT/SaaS providers are asking us to manage/outsource their marketing so they can take advantage of our strategic approach to growth and maintain focus on the core business in a dynamic environment.

In 2012, when my consulting work began, marketing technology was in its adolescence. Today, with mergers, acquisitions, spin-outs, and venture-backed investments, the world of marketing technology is mind-boggling. New players are emerging daily and morphing repeatedly.

 

Source: Scott Brinker at chiefmartech.com

 

According to Brinker, who tracks the graphic above:

  • There are now 5,381 solutions on the graphic, 39% more than last year
  • There are now 4,891 unique companies on the graphic, up 40% from last year
  • Only 4.7% of the solutions from 2016 were removed (and another 3.5% changed in some fundamental way — their name, their focus, or their ownership)

 

The web has flipped the buyer-seller relationship. It is a buyer’s market and these technologies are designed to enable firms to meet potential clients where they are in their buying cycle.

  
By 2020, customers will manage 

85% 

of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.

 

By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.5Firms need to be astute, nimble and focused—in a word: prudent. The one thing that remains unchanged in this relationship-building world is the criteria that buyers use when selecting a service firm. Clients still demand expertise, proven results, and firms with whom they find it easy to work.

RELATED: The Question is Not Why Clients Buy But How

As we enter our sixth year and the rate of change accelerates, I am expanding our services to accommodate our clients’ and prospects demand for managed services.

You will see changes coming to our website, blog and intellectual capital as we expand to serve more firms of the future.

Be prudent.

 

  1. Susskind, R. and D. Susskind, The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
  2. International Monetary Fund, GDP, 2015.
  3. Gartner, Market Share Analysis: Consulting Services, Worldwide, 2011.
  4. Gartner, Market Share Analysis: Consulting Services, Worldwide, 2015.
  5.  Gartner

 

photo by eduardo ki and unsplash.com

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