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The Institute of Management Consultancy UK consider consultancy services as the services provided by an independent and qualified person or persons in identifying the investigating the problems concerned with policy, organisatoin, procedures and methods; recommending appropriate action and helping to implement these recommendations.
The aforesaid views make it clear that in the consultancy services, an expert of the related field or discipline or group of experts identify and investigate the problems and on the basis of their expertise, make available suitable suggestions and also help in the implementation of recommendations. As for example, person or persons having and outstanding excellence in the concerned areas like legal, medical, management, technical or so make available specialized services to a person or persons in the shape or knowledge and information. They make an indepth study of the problems and offer to them appropriate suggestions to combat the problem. For the services rendered, they may or may not charge fee or commission.
The application of marketing concept in the consultancy services is a recent phenomenon. A number of consultants have been found engaged in the process and they have been found selling their views or expertise. This made ways for conceptualizing marketing in the consultancy services. The growing significance of innovative ideas, expertise mainly to excel competition paved avenues or practicing marketing. An individual or an institution started the process of marketing the consultancy services on national and international levels for making profits which made the business conditions competitive. Since then, the marketing concept has gained importance. Thus by consultancy marketing. The emphasis is one marketing of expertise by an individual or an institution where they formulate the marketing mix and keep on moving the process of innovating the decisions to establish their edge on the competitors.
Clients possess some uniqueness which complicate the task of a marketer, while assessing their needs and identifying the level of their expectations. In the consultancy services, there are a number of factors influencing the needs and requirements of the prospects. In the consultancy services and organisation
needs to segment the market on the basis of region, sector and geographical conditions.
Market segmented on the basis of zones helps the consultancy organisatoins in studying the needs and requirements of different zones and the development of marketing resources are thus made optimal to the users representing a particular zone. Segmentation on the basis of sector helps the consultants and the consultancy organisatoins in understanding the expectations of different categories of users in a different way.
Marketing mix for the consultancy organisatoins
The formulation of marketing mix is an important decision making area which requires professional excellence. An individual or a group of individuals engaged in the consultancy services is required to formulate a sound marketing mix that makes possible an optimal development of marketing resources. It is the quality and quantity of different submixes that play a significant role in determining the quality of marketing decisions. This makes it essential that the marketers while formulating product mix, place mix, promotion mix, price mix and people keep in their mind the intensity of competition in addition to the level of expectations of clients.
In the consultancy services, the important products are technical services, legal services, medical services and the managerial services. The providers and the clients may be an individual or even an institution.
The formulation of product mix requires a number of care and precautions. The innovative ideas, sophisticated technologies, intensive research need due care while formulating the product mix.
The formulation of a sound product mix makes it essential that the consultancy organizations make efforts to design a sound product portfolio in which different types of services are included. The medical consultants need to be aware of the latest devices of treatment and to offer the patients the best medical aids. The technical consultants also need to innovate their product mix in the face of technological sophistication from the product mix. The legal consultants need to be aware of the latest developments, such as amendments in laws, rules and regulations and to formulate the service mix accordingly. Thus the elimination and inclusion processes need to be adopted even in consultancy services. These facts make it clear that like other organizations, the consultancy organizations also need to make possible innovating in the face of multi-dimensional developments in the business.
The formulation of sound package is also found important in the product mix of the consultancy organisatoins. Here the emphasis is on the blending of different types of services keeping in view the needs and requirements of different segments availing the services. The packages become a point of
attraction if the marketers show their professional excellence in the blending process.
In view of the above, it is right to mention that the formulation of a sound product mix is considered essential and the marketing professional serving the consultancy organisatoins need to make it possible. This is easier when they are well aware of the changing needs and requirements and the increasing level of expectations of the clients / customers.
Like other services, the consultancy services are also required to be promoted. With the help of sound mix of promotion which is a fair blending of the different constituents, such as advertising, publicity, sales promotion, word-of-mouth promotion and personal selling, the consultancy services can be effectively promoted.
While advertising, the consultancy organisatoins need to draw their attention to some of the important problems mentioned below:
·Composing slogans having creativity.
·Selecting suitable vehicles for traveling the messages
·Injecting sensitivity to the messages, themes and appeals.
·Making the advertisements measures cost effective.
·Increasing the life-span of advertisement slogans
·Testing the advertising slogans before their final launching
·Testing the advertising effectiveness.
With the increasing sophistication in print technology, the print media is an effective instrument in informing, sensing and persuading the clients. The newspapers, magazines, posters, brouchers, leaflets are effective print media.
Now, the telecast media has established its edge over the print and broadcast media. This is due to the fact that televisions have the outstanding merit of audio-visual exposure. The marketing and advertising professionals bear the responsibility of making the advertisement slogans creative provide adequate budget to make advertisement effective and purposeful.
Like other organisatoins even the consultancy organisatoin are required to use this component of promotion. The ultimate object of publicity is to transmit the news and information to the masses. In the consultancy services, the publicity measures are required to be innovative. This requires support of academics and professionals in the field of creative literature and getting them published in the
important newspapers, magazines and journals preferred by the target clients. The services to be offered
by a consultancy organisation would be published in a reputed media having wider circulation. The technical, medical, andlegal‟stheimportantnewspapersmanagementandmagazines preferredjournal by the prospects require due attention of marketing professionals.
The marketing professionals serving the consultancy organisatoin need to develop rapport with the media people to publish the developments. Organizing press conferences, displaying and visualizing positive contributions, quality of services, benefits to the users are some of the important aspects requiring due attention of marketing professionals in general and the public relations officers in particular.
This component of promotion bears the efficacy of touching the target with the help of incentives offered to the middlemen and the clients. It is a temporary incentive instrumental in promoting the consultancy business.
The consultancy organizations are required to influence the personnel supposed to offer the services to the clients by small gifts. In addition, the sales promotion measures are also offered for the users or clients. This may be in different forms, such as concessional services for a particular period, offering of small gifts to the customers, organisatoin of sales contests for the clients and users, package benefits to the customers for a particular period. While offering incentives, the consultancy organizations also need to turn their eyes on the strategies adopted by the competitors so that they are in a position to offer the innovative measures.
Sales people are supposed to perceive power,s organisatoins. It is also essential that they develop personal relationship with clients. The success of personal selling substantially depends on the personality and excellence of an individual. Physical attractions are assigned due weightage in the very context. If they behave well, act well, move well, communicate well and receive well; the task of consultancy organizations becomes simple.
Personal promotion helps the consultancy organizations in creating impulse buying. A consultant salesman is required to device new ways to move market into action so that impulse buying is generated in a right direction. The excellence of a consultative salesman occupies a place of outstanding significance. If the clients remain satisfied with the communicative ability of the consulting sales people, the task of consultants and the consultancy organizations is simplified considerably. It is pertinent to mention that it is not only the consultants who generate the business but virtually it is the result of a joint
endevour of the consultative sales people and the consultants that simplify the process of promoting the
business. The consultative sales people are required to create awareness and interest, reinforce to overcome cognitive dissonance, facilitate and cause the purchase to take place and ensure that the clients are satisfied with the service of consultants. It is against this background that personal selling occupies a place of outstanding significance in the promotion of consultancy services.
By word-of-mouth communication the emphasis is on promoting the services by the hidden sales force. It is pertinent to mention that the satisfied group of customers communicate to their close friends and relatives the outstanding properties of he services availed by them. For instance, if you are satisfied with the services of a medical consultant you talk to your friends and relatives regarding the same. In fact, you act as a hidden sales force. In future your friends and relatives prefer to use the services of the same doctor. Like this, if a legal consultant helps you in protecting the property, you talk to you friends and relatives the same. They prefer to user the services of the same legal consultants as and when they need. These facts are a mute testimony to this proposition that quality goods or services are promoted even by the satisfied group of customers or users. It is in the context the we talk about the instrumentality of word-of-mouth promotion in promoting the consultancy services.
It is important that in this context the marketing professionals also need to sue the services of opinion leaders or vocal persons. They identify such persons, offer to them concessional services in addition to small gifts and expect from them a strong advocacy in favour of their services.
In the consultancy services the price mix refers to fee or commission charged by the consultants or the consultancy organisatoins for making the services available to the clients. The pricing objectives may be either price-competitor or non-price-competitor. In the price-competitor objective, the consultancy organizations offer lower price since the pricing decisions are required to be motivational. In the non-price-competitor objective, stable pricing is followed. The other objectives are profit-generating, market stability, market share etc.
It is important that the consultants and the consultancy organizations explore possibilities for a rational pricing policy which helps in maintaining the commercial viability besides serving the social interests.
An individual consultant offers the services directly to the ultimate users. But the consultancy organisatoins offer the services to the clients with the help of branch offices. To be more specific when the head office located for off, it is essential that the consultancy organizations make suitable arrangements for the offering of service at different places through its branches. The opening of branch
offices simplify the task of head office which also helps in improving the quality of services.
In almost all the consultancy organizations, the instrumentality of people in implementing the policies and programmes in an effective way. The consultancy organizations also need the services of quality people serving as consultants, consultant sales people, working in the branch offices. A fair synchronization of sophisticated technologies and quality employees makes the ways for quality upgradition. If the employees serving the branch offices are satisfied with the incentives offered to them, the promised services reach to the clients or the ultimate users. This makes it essential that the consultancy organisatoins make possible employee-orientation by offering to the employees incentives in different forms. Thus while managing people, the marketing professionals need due weightage to the incentive plans for employees which would pave avenues for performance –orientation.
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