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The Utah DMC Blog

Marketing Insights from the Fastest-Growing Professional Service Firms with Elizabeth Harr - July 21, 2021 [Event Recap + Replay]

Utah DMC Online  - Elizabeth Harr

Our Guest Presenter: Elizabeth Harr

Our July 21st, 2021, Utah DMC live online event welcomed Elizabeth Harr, partner at Hinge Marketing. Hinge is a marketing and branding agency that specializes in helping firms refocus, rebrand, and launch new services..

This was Elizabeth's first time presenting for the Utah Digital Marketing Collective, and we were thrilled to have her here to present: Marketing Insights from the Fastest-Growing Professional Service Firms!

Doc and AJ had a blast on this live broadcast with Elizabeth, and now we are thrilled to share the opportunity for you to learn from her insights via this recap and event replay. (Note: This post is a high-level recap. At the end of this post you can watch the entire replay of the event with audience Q&A, as well as download her full presentation deck from the BrightTalk interface.)

Let's Get Started...

DMC Online Recap Elizabeth Harr AJ Wilcox Darin Berntson - Marketing Insights from the Fastest-Growing Professional Services Firms

About Elizabeth Harr

Elizabeth Harr is an accomplished entrepreneur and executive specializing in brand management and growth strategies for professional services firms. A partner at Hinge, she leads Hinge’s business development team, helping businesses solve critical marketing and brand-related challenges. Elizabeth has co-authored several books and reports published by the Hinge Research Institute. She holds a Master’s degree in International Economics from Columbia University in New York & a B.A. from the University of Missouri - Columbia.


During this live event, Elizabeth talks about Hinge’s latest research studies on the professional services industry. This research came from two studies: High Growth Study 2021 and Inside the Buyer’s Brain

Elizabeth divided her talk into 3 different areas:

  • The Rapidly Shifting Marketplace 
  • Meet the High Growth Firms 
  • What Works With These Shifts

The Rapidly Shifting Marketplace

When Elizabeth refers to the rapidly shifting marketplace, she is talking about the shifts in the way people are finding companies they want to buy services from. She talks about three shifts that are happening today. 

1. Relationships

There is a declining rate at which buyers are going to buy a product solely based on an existing relationship. As a brand, you can no longer rely on only having good relationships with your customers—the connection must go beyond that.  

2. Loyalty

Customer loyalty is also declining. Overall, clients are less loyal to their current firms. Just because a seller secures a customer’s business doesn’t necessarily mean they will be a lifetime customer. 

3. Online Search

Customers have been searching online for what they want for years now, but we’re still continuing to see a shift in that direction. Businesses need to prioritize making sure their digital footprint is up-to-date to show customers that they are skilled and specialized.

Survey Time

During the live presentation, Elizabeth launched a poll and asked the audience: "What marketing technique delivers the highest return on impact?"

Poll-What marketing technique delivers the highest return on impact

Survey Results

What marketing technique delivers the highest return on impact

As you can see above, the answers were varied. But, it was 35% choosing "Providing Free Consultations"

And it was a 22% tie between:

  1. Sharing expertise through video blogging. and
  2. Digital advertising

Was the audience right on the money? Elizabeth would share what she says is the number one answer towards the end of the presentation, as will we below.

Meet the High Growth Firms

What makes a firm considered high growth depends on two factors. The first comes down to their rate of growth. Elizabeth categorizes a firm as high growth if they are growing 20% per year for 3 consecutive years. Elizabeth’s research divided firms into three different categories: 

  • High growth
  • Average growth
  • No growth

Meet the high growth firms

The second component of a high growth firm is profitability. Research shows that almost 46% of these high growth firms are not only high growth, but also highly profitable, as seen in the graph below. Conversely, out of the no growth firms Elizabeth studied, only 26% are highly profitable.

High Growth firms are more likely to be highly profitabble

The takeaway here is that high growth firms are much more likely than no growth firms to achieve high profitability. 

What Works With These Shifts?

Given the shifting marketplace, how can you aim to become a profitable, high growth firm? Elizabeth explores four crucial elements that businesses need to achieve high growth.

1. Constantly Striving for Relevance

In addition to having a great reputation, your product or service has to be relevant. You need to prove that you have what it takes to solve your audience's problem. The below graph shows that customers are caring more about relevancy every year.

Relevancy of professional services in surging

One way you can help your business stay relevant is by conducting frequent research. Invest in understanding your customers better—including how they grow and change over time. This is important because the more relevant your business is, the more your customers are motivated to be loyal and willing to recommend you.

Relevance imacts client loyalty

2. Using Research as Content

Doing original research and then using what you found as content will help build credibility and lead your business to high growth. Anyone can write a blog or do a quick Google search and sum up what they find there. By publishing original research, you are essentially putting your expertise on display. There’s no better way to be respected as an authority in your field.

The Secret is getting out


3. Leveraging the Power of Automation

Elizabeth found that high growth firms had spent years cultivating mature automation processes with regard to their core business functions. Automation helps businesses be more customizable with how they get future leads and customers. Furthermore, by automating what they can, companies are able to better use their employees on innovative, creative tasks that drive growth.

4. Focusing on High Impact Techniques

Elizabeth found that the technique giving the highest return of impact was providing free consultations and assessments to clients. Even making the offer speaks to authority, since it’s clear that the company doing so believes in the value they can provide. And it’s beneficial for the potential client since it doesn’t cost them anything to see what you have to say. A free assessment will show clients a glimpse of your expertise and specialization.

Below is a list of other high impact techniques. Elizabeth does make the point that the other techniques on this list aren’t unimportant—you need to have a mix, and it takes certain techniques to even get prospects to the point where you can offer them a free assessment.

High Impact Marketing Techniques

By the way, the above chart tracks back to the earlier poll that we rand during the broadcast. Our audience was right on the money when they voted for Providing Free Consultations.


High growth firms approach marketing differently than no growth firms. You must be different if you want different results; there is no one-size-fits-all technique. It is important to build a marketing system with a repeatable list of strategies that will keep you in front of your audience. By keeping your digital footprint strong, you’ll be at the front of your customers’ minds when they’re ready to make a purchase.

We loved having Elizabeth join us on the show. Her research-based insights are backed up by experience and data, and she made a number of excellent points.

The Utah Digital Marketing Collective is thrilled to share this recap from Elizabeth Harr's presentation, and we are happy we were able to introduce her to our audience. Reminder: To understand the full context of this recap post, be sure to watch the entire replay below, which goes into much more detail than this recap post provides.

Q&A + Replay 

If you couldn’t make this event live, you can see the replay below. Toward the end of the presentation, there was a great Q&A session where Elizabeth answered viewer-submitted questions including:

  • What are some of the biggest mistakes companies make when deciding on which techniques to adopt and implement?
  • Can you go a little more deeply on researching your target audience?
  • What are some ways to conduct research on a budget?
  • How do you find blogs that will allow you to guest post?
  • What are some good marketing type publications?
Lastly, don’t forget to connect with Elizabeth Harr on LinkedIn, by following her on Twitter, and through the Hinge Marketing website.

What Attendees Had To Say About This Presentation

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Great presentation today! Loved getting up to date findings from Elizabeth's research and so many valuable techniques to help my companies be of the highest relevancy.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Great information! Thank you. I liked the focus on the top ways to market and which to work on first when we don't have a lot of time or money. I like the advice about thought leadership, writing and researching.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Great topic and speaker. Very insightful and relevant. Love the B2B stuff.

Explore our blog for more event recaps, and be sure to check out our DMC Online Events page to see all of our past and future digital marketing online events.

Do you have something you'd like to present to the ever-growing DMC community? If so, we'd love to speak with you. Head on over to this page, and tell us more about you and your expertise.

Ready To Watch This Full Event On-Demand?

Topics: Event Recaps marketing strategy digital marketing