Professional services firms’ median growth rate has increased over the past couple of years, reaching 13% amid a “time of great opportunity,” according to the latest annual High Growth Study [execute summary download page] from Hinge Marketing. The research identified “High Growth” firms from the sample, defining them as those with a minimum of 20% compound annual growth rate over a 3-year evaluation period. These high-growth firms display certain divergences from their “no-growth” counterparts, per the research.
High-growth firms are about twice as likely as their counterparts to have already completed a digital transformation, and generally rate their digital maturity as higher. Perhaps as a result, they get more leads from digital sources (33.4% share) than their “no-growth” peers (24.8%). (Interestingly, this portion is down from previous years.)
Additionally, high-growth firms’ marketing teams are more likely to be involved in a variety of functions, from implementing strategies for growth and profitability (69.2% vs. 52.1%) to researching target markets and competitors (59.2% vs. 52.1%) and monitoring and tracking campaign performance (50.2% vs. 35.4%). Indeed, growth leaders are more apt to track a variety of marketing and business development metrics, particularly in determining patterns that lead to success and adjusting processes accordingly.
There are some interesting results when regarding marketing talent. Employees at high-growth firms tend to be more satisfied with their company culture, and they seem to be better able to find talent with higher skill levels. Marketing teams at these firms are also more likely to be involved in branding and marketing their company’s employee value proposition and employer reputation in order to attract or retain top talent.
At the same time, these leaders aren’t foregoing outsourcing. About 82% reported consulting with an outside agency, firm, or freelancer for one of various services listed in the report, compared to 78% of no-growth firms. The leading areas in which high-growth firms have leveraged outsourced talent over the past year include website improvements (54.7%), graphic design (45.8%), marketing materials development (37.3%) and SEO (33.8%). In each case they’ve done so at a greater rate than their no-growth counterparts, with the gap particularly stark for graphic design and SEO.
Looking forward, both groups of firms will be prioritizing content creation this year. Compared to no-growth firms, high-growth professional services firms will be less likely to prioritize website performance and more likely to focus on marketing technology and automation.
For more, check out the executive summary of the report here.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of more than 700 professional services firms across the following industries; Consulting Services; Architecture, Engineerings & Construction; Accounting & Financial Services; Technology & Software; Law Firms & Legal Services; and Government Consulting. The majority (roughly two-thirds) do business in the US.