17 February 2006

New findings from a UQ study show that many professional service firms are still behind the eight-ball when it comes to marketing.

UQ Business School’s Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy said the 37 in-depth interviews making up the first stage of the study had yielded some interesting views from participants.

“One respondent talked about ‘marketing princesses’ who are ‘very good at handing out name badges at events’,” she said.

“The same person reported that their firm was ‘too scared’ to get involved in marketing research and strategy.

“Another talked about the partnership structure often adopted by professional service firms and the consequent view among partners that money spent on marketing comes ‘straight off their bottom line’.”

Professor McColl-Kennedy is working with Associate Professor Jill Sweeney and Professor Geoff Soutar from the University of Western Australia on the project.

“The research is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery grant and poses important new questions about the impact of well-established customer marketing approaches in the professional service environment,” Professor McColl-Kennedy said.

Co-researcher Associate Professor Jill Sweeney said the research was important because it made the link between marketing strategy and organisational performance.

“Service firms are critical in Western economies – typically accounting for up to 75 percent of GDP and 80 percent of employment,” she said.

“While professional service providers are practising relationship marketing, there is typically little to no formality in their marketing approach. Given the competition and rapidly increasing size of this sector in Australia, both in terms of GDP and employment, these professional service firms need to take a more strategic approach to remain competitive.”

Associate Professor Sweeney said the next stages of the project would involve online questionnaires formulated on the basis of the initial interviews.

The researchers expect to complete their data collection later this year.

For more information contact Cathy Stacey, telephone (07) 3365 6179, Mobile 0434 074 372 .
Email c.stacey@business.uq.edu.au