Humble Marketing Oxymoron or Appealing Alternative?

What would happen if you pared your firm’s marketing activities down to the essentials that matter? I’ve spoken with a lot of professionals lately who feel pressured to keep up with a constant stream of promotion.

In response, some are opting to take a more humble approach. They don’t want to downplay their capabilities, but they’d like to feel more at ease with the style in which they communicate them.

If this platform sounds appealing, here are a few ways to get started.

  1. First, determine if it makes business sense for your particular firm. Does it align with what your target clients, referral sources and employees expect? How? Some stakeholders want to see all your firm news all the time, others don’t.
    • If you have an aggressive growth strategy, your marketing and communications need to reflect it.
    • If you want to become more selective, it could make sense to focus intensely on a few messages and communication channels.
  2. Then, make it a strategy that guides deliberate marketing and communication choices. Then go for it. Say “no” everything else.
  3. Try prioritizing social listening to find out what clients are talking about. Posting endless streams of announcements on your site and social media profiles without ever engaging in market or industry conversations is not humble; it just adds to the noise competing for reader attention.
    • A listening strategy helps you learn the issues and problems that vex target audiences, and then make an informed contribution or propose a solution at the right time.
  4. Be seen in all the right places. It’s possible to be visible without appearing grandiose. Try techniques that place you directly in front of your target markets.
    • Speaking engagements or media interviews as a subject matter expert are good starting points.
    • Involvement in industry initiatives such as research studies also works; it demonstrates a collaborative approach and often generates early-market information that can be a competitive advantage.
  5. Emphasize how you learn and earn capabilities more than awards and accolades. It shows that you’re focused on continuously generating quality results for the clients who keep your firm afloat.

One way to gauge whether a more humble marketing approach is right for your firm is to decide what you are emotionally committed to as an organization. Is there a central purpose or goal that everyone can support? If so, any efforts to convey it have a good chance of being perceived as authentic and a good chance of persuading clients that you’re the right provider to help them.