Interview with Kevin W. Brown, M.B.A. …
Nationally Recognized Expertise, Big Firm Experience — All Available for the Small- to Mid-Size Firm!
Q. Mr. Brown, thank you for this opportunity to interview you. You are recognized as a pioneer and leading-edge expert in the field of professional services marketing. You’ve also authored over 100 published articles for national and local publications, and speak regularly to organizations. Your firm, Kevin Brown Marketing & Consulting, is widely recognized as the premier marketing firm in Southern California specializing in serving professional services firms. What makes your firm so successful?
A. In a nutshell, we understand how to market professionals, from the smallest to the largest firms, as few others do!
Q.What caused you to start your own firm?
A. When I was Director of Marketing at Deloitte in Orange County, California, I saw a great opportunity to start my own marketing firm. So, three key market needs drove the formation of Kevin Brown Marketing & Consulting back in 1991. First, lawyers, CPAs and other professional services firms needed a firm specializing in their unique needs. Second, a truly full-service marketing firm was needed, especially vs. the limited services of PR firms, advertising agencies, graphic designers and sales trainers. Third, we were the first firm in the U.S.A. (as far as we know) to offer a “Part-Time Director of Marketing™” service, aimed at offering high-level expertise at an affordable rate to firms of all sizes.
When I started the firm with these concepts, it was quite unusual, and mine was the only full-services marketing firm in Orange County specializing in professionals. The concept was so unusual nationwide, in fact, that I trademarked the term “The Specialists in Professional Services Marketing™.”
Q. Tell us about your previous jobs and education.
A. Deloitte was a fantastic opportunity. I worked with some of the best CPAs around, really bright people, and a managing partner who was very entrepreneurial. Prior to Deloitte, I worked in investment banking as a nationwide strategic consultant for companies who needed strategic business plans developed to help them increase their business’ value for future sale. Prior to that, I worked as a corporate banking officer in commercial banking with Bank of America, serving clients with loans from $1-200 million. I earned my M.B.A. degree in marketing from California State University, Fullerton and a B.S. in economics and management from the University of California, Riverside.
Q. How did your previous experience help you in forming your firm and serving your clients?
A. My education and experience set the stage perfectly for my firm’s services. My business expertise has always been critical to the success of my firm. I’m a businessman with expertise in marketing, not just a public relations specialists or graphic designer who thinks they can somehow create a marketing plan. We have always operated on the basis of “A Business Approach to Marketing™”. This is very distinctive compared to 90%+ of our competition that don’t have marketing degrees or a business background, which impacts their ability to effectively serve clients. We identify goals upfront, and make sure that there is strategy and business reasoning behind our actions.
Q. Tell us more about your clients.
A. We serve law firms, CPAs, financial services firms, insurance brokerages and other professional services firms. Our clients include some of California’s most well-known firms as well as numerous smaller firms. In fact, since most of SoCal is comprised of firms from 1-25 professionals, that is our primary market. We also serve selected clients across the nation — work that has been gained due to our reputation and expertise.
Q. What are the typical needs that drive clients to your firm?
A. Normally it starts with the need for a marketing firm that can provide sound business strategy for a professional services firm. Clients want someone that truly understands their needs and can give good advice based on experience and education. Beyond that premise, clients typically come to us needing either to increase revenues, get a project done (like a website overhaul), or for our “Part-Time Director of Marketing™” service.
We often hear initial statements such as:
- “How can we market while maintaining cost-effectiveness?”
• “We need help in marketing strategy”
• “We need to increase our revenues and profitability.”
• “We are not happy with our existing PR/advertising firm”
• “Our website (or other marketing materials) is outdated”
• “We need to get our professionals involved in marketing”
• “We’ve tried _________ but it didn’t work (fill in the blank: advertising, PR, internet, direct mail, sales programs, etc.)”
Q. What services does your firm offer?
A. We offer a full range of high-quality services, virtually every marketing service that your firm might need. From the beginning, I developed many innovative concepts and techniques that are proprietary to my firm, including our unique “Part-Time Director of Marketing™”service. We also prepare Strategic Marketing Plans that provide a “road map” to guide marketing efforts. Our other services include marketing materials and graphic design, internet marketing, advertising, public relations, client relations, and business development training. We also provideStrategic Business Advisory Services, which include strategic planning and management consulting; clients appreciate the knowledge that I have gained through the decades which can help their practice to run more effectively.
Q. There are some PR firms and ad agencies who say that they can serve professionals. What else makes your firm stand out from the crowd?
A. Beyond what I’ve already mentioned, such as specialization, our clients tell us that there are several other traits that make my firm the one they want to hire. These include:
- Marketing Experience: As a true marketing professional with a formal education in marketing and a background of over twenty years of in-house and consulting experience, I can provide well-rounded guidance to any client. Most of my competition only has experience in a limited area of marketing.
- Business Experience: I’m a career businessman with expertise in marketing. This business expertise is critical to our success. My education and background with leading companies in banking, mergers & acquisitions, accounting and consulting was a great foundation. I now have over 20 years of running my own firm and serving hundreds of clients, which just adds more value to each new client.
- Strategic Insight: My firm offers an unmatched ability to blend strategy with the selection of marketing tools. This is a tremendous distinguishing characteristic. Our expertise is invaluable in helping clients to chart a course, track progress, and make adjustments along the way.
- Initiative: Our goal is to make life easier for our clients by taking care of all the details. They don’t have to educate us on marketing for professionals or tell us what to do. Further, our desire is to be actively involved in managing and implementing our clients’ marketing programs. We typically become a valued member of the client’s management team, especially for those clients who need our “Part-Time Director of Marketing™”service.