Edited by Markus Reihlen and Andreas Werr
Chapter 12: Marketing in professional services firms: turning expertise into customer perceived value
This chapter discusses the key marketing themes relevant to entrepreneurial professional services firms. According to a definition established by the American Marketing Association, “marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large” (AMA, 2007). One of the most famous concepts ever developed in marketing literature, the marketing concept, refers to the philosophy that firms should analyze their customers’ needs, and meet those needs better than competitors. In other words, the fundamental role of marketing in any company is to meet customer needs with offerings that create value for the customer. Professional service providers traditionally have not perceived themselves to be sales or marketing oriented; the use of advertising has been particularly resisted (Morgan, 1991). However, as many professional service sectors have developed into highly competitive businesses where market forces and business goals have become increasingly influential, professional services firms have gravitated towards a more favorable approach to market orientation and marketing (Reid, 2008). Professional services firms (PSFs) are typically founded by people who possess specialist knowledge and expertise that can be used to benefit the client. From the marketing perspective, the success of entrepreneurs depends on their ability to leverage expertise into services and processes that create value for and with their clients. Value perceived by the customer determines the success of any business exchange and should therefore be the primary concern of professional entrepreneurs in managing their business in an increasingly competitive environment (see Howden & Pressey, 2008; Slater & Narver, 1994).
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