High Awareness and Popularity

Have you tried to execute marketing you can keep up all year, but fallen short? Are you top of mind with clients when it matters?

In an industry often plagued with dramatic peaks and troughs in its pipeline, lean periods can creep up on us suddenly. From what can seem like marshalling traffic in the noise and hyperactivity of Times Square, projects get postponed, briefs delayed and we’re suddenly in a tumbleweed desert. Which is nice for a day or so but after that, it’s onto the phones to try to fill the void.

So we make a New Business Spreadsheet with names, numbers and contact dates. We speak to current clients and reconnect with past ones. We ask them to have a coffee or a Zoom meeting with us to ‘catch up’.

When we meet them, we spend half the meeting dancing around the subject till we’ve discussed everything under the sun except work and that we’d like some, please.

We promise ourselves we’ll keep up that new business activity, but we get busy again. We think our time is better spent on writing winning proposals than having meetings with potential clients. So we invest our efforts in the lowest hanging fruit and forget the rest. Till the wind changes again and we can smell the desert dust blowing in.



Marketing ladder


Are you the world’s best-kept secret? To know you is to love you but not many people know you?

It’s great that your clients appreciate you but with low awareness outside your client circle, you’re very vulnerable to market fluctuations, clients leaving etc.

When business takes a downturn you’ve got nowhere to run, no warmed up leads, no interested prospects. 

So sales in a crisis are particularly difficult.  You can shake the tree very hard, but very little fruit will fall.

The world needs to know of your brilliance.  Time to get going on a marketing plan that works that you can stick to.


Of course you do marketing, sometimes.  You’ll put the occasional post on LinkedIn, you’ve maybe submitted articles to magazines and papers to conferences. 

You put a lot of effort into everything you post on LinkedIn/send to clients, reinventing the wheel every time.  In fact so much so that it’s impossible to keep up when you’re busy.  Marketing is such hard work!

There are old clients you’ve not spoken to for a year or more.  There are potential clients you’d love to work with but courting them is a long process you never get round to.

You sometimes wonder if you should hire someone to do your marketing for you but then it wouldn’t be your voice, your relationships. 

You’re making it all too hard.  Of course, you need to maintain standards and yes you can do it yourself so it has integrity.

It’s time to get real with this marketing thing so you can actually keep it going this time (wouldn’t that be great).  Then you can reap the benefits in terms of sales and the tree will yield fruit if you need to shake it.


Wow, you’re scorching!  High awareness, top of mind, strong current relationships, positioning that’s clear and fabulous.  It’s rare you need to shake the tree or do any sales activity as your marketing does the job for you and old and new contacts are keen to experience your work.

You have found a way to do relevant, useful marketing easily and frequently.  Keep going – you’re on fire!



One of the problems with using tree-shaking as a strategy is that we’re trying to go 0 – selling in one step.  While we may pride ourselves in our ability to build relationships, when we do this we’re knocking on the door and proposing marriage with no courtship in between. No wonder it’s such an unsuccessful approach.

Are you top of mindRecently a client company told me that even if they had a favourite research company, if another company who was adequate called at the time a brief landed on their desk, they’d give the brief to them instead. 

That’s proof that as good as we think we are, we are not more powerful than the convenience of being mentally and physically available to them at just the right time.

That’s hard to hear but it explains the old conundrum – if they loved our work as much as they said at the debrief, why didn’t they give us another project?

Our clients with big budgets may have great relationships with us, but they have great relationships with others too. As in any market, the heaviest buyers are the most promiscuous.


When we don’t execute a continuous marketing plan, we are making ourselves difficult to buy.  Our prospective clients don’t think of us, don’t have a relationship with us and may not know what we have been up to lately, or even what we’re really good at.

Not surprising when we come knocking at their door with flowers, we don’t get the welcome we expect.



When planning your marketing it’s worth thinking of the 3 roles it plays, all of which play a part in making sales activity more effective.

Three roles of marketing


This is more than just awareness, it’s, as Daniel Kahneman refers to it, availability. Are you the first to be considered when a brief comes in? 


Many companies promote themselves as developing strong relationships with clients.  Marketing is a great way to continue to build relationships with clients between projects.


Research companies I have worked with have been surprised when some of their closest clients were not aware of the expertise they had in other areas. When developing new clients, they need to know how to use you.  Small companies need to take all the work they can get from anywhere, large companies often have a variety-specific experts leading teams within areas of IP, but mid-sized companies need focus to gain traction.  They need a strong defined positioning to help clients buy them.

Just as dating is not about getting married, so marketing is not about sales.  Don’t be tempted to jump the gun and rush into sales – that’s a sure way to destroy goodwill and stop your clients being pleased to hear from you.

Marketing makes sales easy.  It means you never have to cold-call again.



 I can’t count the times I’ve heard ‘Marketing is all very well, but when it gets busy we just don’t have time to keep it up.’

So here’s the trick I wish I’d known when I ran my companies – keep it very simple.  Think well, think once and deliver often, in lots of different ways.

One piece of thinking, supported with facts, stories, observations, case-studies can furnish you with marketing materials for a long time – genuinely offering value to your clients and the market in general.



It’s cognitive bias, not truth, that convinces us that what we know others know too.  Don’t fool yourself.  Most people don’t know that thing you know, or they did know it but they’ve forgotten, or they don’t think of it in the context you think of it in.

Even if they do know it, it could be a good time to bring it to mind.  You don’t have to be game-changing, just relevant and useful.

Imagine you’re a jam manufacturer, you don’t have to come out with a new jam every time you talk to your audience.

And it doesn’t have to be your thinking you’re writing about.  As long as you give full credit to the originator of the thinking, you can share other people’s ideas with enthusiasm and it’s just as useful and still keeps you top of mind – and associated with the brilliance of the thinking just by sharing it.



Many people embark on a marketing plan and make it overcomplicated or demanding and not surprisingly, they can’t stick to it. They forget that the job it has to do is fairly simple. 

Staying top of mind doesn’t require blowing the market’s mind with new approaches, it really is as simple as sharing an article you read, commenting on the news or something in popular culture or science which helps you make a point. The key to staying top of mind is frequency not content.

Positioning-specific work does not have to be done so frequently.  Of course, everything you do contributes to your positioning, but some pieces will be intended to do a stronger job than others. You might want to showcase some of your own thinking/experience here but remember you’re not selling, you’re just trying to help them know what to buy you for.

Relationship building is about understanding them and what interests them.  It doesn’t have to be written.  It could be sending them a book, a ticket to a key webinar or conference. 


 Get in touch with me and we can discuss what approach would work best for your business.


Direct Line: +61 404196884

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