Sam Wilko Advisory approached One RabbitTM in 2017 for help strengthening the marketing capability of the firm.
Headed by Peter Wilkinson, the business consults on the project and commercial management of large-scale engineering projects. Peter is a qualified mechanical engineer and management consultant.
In addition to this consulting work, Peter also provides business advisory services to mid-sized engineering firms to help them strategically grow their businesses.
Highlights and key components of this engagement
We worked with Peter to understand the types of projects he is typically engaged to work on and gain a deeper understanding of the target audiences. Two things became apparent.
Firstly, his engineering consulting work is a very different audience to his business advisory work.
Secondly, Peter is one of only a few experts in Australia that provides specialised business advice to mid-sized engineering firms to structure and grow their businesses. Peter’s perspective as a consulting engineer working on both sides of the fence gives him a unique clarity of the nuances and challenges faced by firms in this sector.
The balancing act needed to market to these two distinct audiences with different personas, pain points and needs from the same space was creating too much compromise, seriously blunting any marketing potential.
Our recommendations included, separating out the business advisory practice into its own market position aligned as closely as possible to the pain points of the personas of this target audience. This position would be used to support a strong attraction and conversion strategy.
We worked through a process with Peter to unpack his approach used to understand and solve the problems of his audience. This was then distilled down into what we call a marketable perspective. This perspective formed the basis of the strategy used to attract, engage and convert the target audience.
This new positioning based exclusively around the business advisory audience was branded “Tipping Point Advisory”.
Game Plan Development
A strategy to attract the ideal target audience, along with personas, content themes and associated messaging was developed. A complete set of ads where designed to rollout through various digital platforms, including landing pages and a conversion focussed website with supporting call to actions in line with the buyer journey.
A content plan was put together to nurture and convert leads into real opportunities for the business with the intention this would be managed by a marketing automation platform.
The One RabbitTM fulfilment team implemented the entire platform inhouse.
Peter was responsible for developing his content but was supported through this process by One RabbitTM to help write, formulate ideas and develop ways to communicate concepts that would optimise the marketing outcomes.
Our design team designed and published his collateral into the “Tipping Point Advisory” brand, and our web team launched all of the digital assets including a new website.
All this was implemented onto a marketing automation platform to automate lead capture and nurturing.
Q & A With Peter
Give me a bit of background about Sam Wilko Advisory before you started this journey with One RabbitTM
I started Sam Wilko Advisory back in 2012. Really our focus back then was consulting on large infrastructure projects both from an engineering technical standpoint and project management.
Business was going well with all my new work coming through my referral network. I take that as a good thing, a strong indicator that my work was well regarded, although I recognised that to scale up my business, I needed more channels of revenue and ones I had more control over.
What convinced you to invest into your marketing capability and seek external advice?
Around 80% of my work was in consulting and 20% in coaching. While I enjoy consulting, I was keen to do more coaching and especially within the SME space. At the time most of my client mix was the large corporates.
I’m also firm believer in the value of external advice. Part of my whole mantra and Tipping Point perspective is that all businesses reach a point where external advice is essential to transition into the next stage of growth. And I’m convinced that developing a strong marketing capability, systems and processes that is scalable is one of the keys that enables that growth.
Being a very hands on type of person, I did a lot of research myself into marketing. I did invest some money into getting advice early on which led me to write an ebook and experiment with some popups on the website and an email newsletter.
To be honest, it didn’t really deliver much in terms of new business, but it did help me get familiar with the concepts of marketing. And even with a lack of results, I did feel there was opportunity to tap here, I just didn’t know how to fish for it properly.
Progressing further was outside my capabilities. I’d done enough to know there was potential to tap, but this wasn’t my skillset.
What where your top objectives?
From a practical perspective, to:
- Move my business into the strongest marketable position and get clarity around where my best opportunities lie and how to reach them.
- Create opportunities to deliver more SME work into the business coaching space.
- Develop a cohesive and high-quality set of marketing assets.
I also had some broader objectives that were really important to me, such as:
- Developing a scalable system that I could reliably dial up or down and create a predictable source of new business.
- I didn’t want to just have someone implement some ad hoc marketing campaigns. This was as much about developing the capacity and maturity within my business and build a repeatable process that added value to the business.
What convinced you to work with One RabbitTM on this project?
It was an easy decision in the end, just not a quick one.
I actually became a client of One RabbitTM directly as a result of their marketing from start to finish, so I saw it work first-hand. Thinking back, the content nurturing and in particular the No BS Guide, were integral in educating me to feeling confident about the approach and results it could achieve.
How did you find the journey One RabbitTM took you on?
You did warn me at the start this was going to be a lot of work!
You were right! There were times when it got intense, especially while writing my key content pieces. While quite a challenge, the support and coaching provided through the process was invaluable and I realise was necessary to really sharpen up and clarify my perspective.
Yes, I found it difficult, but the back and forth, review and advice, added a significant amount of value and really got me a result I could never have achieved on my own and is a piece of work I’m really pleased with.
In the early stages, the workshops really helped give me the clarity I needed to understand my business and target markets. I was surprised how focussed these sessions became as I felt One RabbitTM already had a firm grasp of the kinds of challenges I was facing.
It’s worth mentioning too, that I found our sessions enjoyable.
So what outcomes do you think are most valuable?
- I now have a strong perspective on my target audience’s problems and a compelling position in how I solve them. It’s not that I didn’t have perspectives before, but they weren’t so well defined and packaged. My brand has now been literally built around this, supported by collateral, extensive content, an automated marketing platform and lead generation machine all professionally designed to a very high standard.
- I can scale up or down my marketing machine as needed and with some predictability, and the process itself is part of the IP in my business that can be continually tweaked to deliver higher value results.
- This has impacted my whole business, not just my ability to generate new clients. It flows into the conversations I have with partners and my distribution channels. Within the industry it continues to raise my profile in ways that continues to surprise me.
Twelve months down the track, where are you now as a result?
First let’s talk about the lead generation.
From an ROI perspective, the investment I made to develop this lead gen machine with One RabbitTM has already been completely paid for from new business that can be attributed directly to this work. The process has also delivered me one of my highest valued clients that I continue to work with on an ongoing basis.
Overall, the quality of leads delivered has been very high and lines up exactly with the ideal target audience we set out to attract. I’ve calculated these high-quality leads to be around 70% of all leads generated; I’m very happy with that result.
I’ve also been able to consistently measure metrics like cost per lead. With 12 months history behind me, I can reliably predict that for every $500 I spend on targeted advertising I can generate 10 leads. Of those 10 leads, I know that 7 on average will be directly relevant and high value to my business. In most cases, these are new connections who were previously unaware to me.
There are a few other observations that are worth noting:
- Beyond lead generation, the exposure of my brand within the industry has become noticeably stronger. My content has gained the attention of people who I consider significant and influential in my sector. It’s difficult to put a value on this kind of exposure.
- There are times when it feels like my email marketing is just going into the ether, as direct replies are few and far between. Yet, I’ve attended quite a few networking events and am constantly surprised by the number of people who are subscribed to my content and actively listening. I’ve had quite a few encouraging conversations with people I’ve never met before but have expressed appreciation for the content. I’m constantly surprised what’s happening in the background.
- I think I now have my lead generation machine running well, and my marketing ducks are in a row and clearly delivering results. More importantly, this continues to run automatically in the background with some minor tweaks here and there from myself. It’s freed me up to focus on developing other areas of my business.