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Interview with Lee Frederiksen, Managing Partner at Hinge

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Lee W. Frederiksen
, Ph.D., is Managing Partner at Hinge, a marketing firm that specializes in branding and marketing for professional services. Hinge is a leader in rebranding firms to help them grow faster and maximize value. 


NDD: What is the number one thing businesses are doing wrong in content marketing?

Lee: Many firms are not investing adequately to make content marketing successful. That’s illustrated through not allocating sufficient resources to produce enough content, not understanding the audience enough to produce the right content and not understanding the whole process enough to have all the pieces covered. It’s a little bit like having a car with just three wheels on it.

NDD: What should marketers be focusing on in content marketing in 2018?

Lee: The one word that captures the focus would be quality. There is a rise of something we think of as “junk content,�? where people are trying to practice content marketing, but what they put out is a lot of content that’s not well thought out or all that useful to the reader. Instead, it just clogs things up. You’re much better off having fewer, high quality pieces, which will help you with SEO by attracting the right kind of traffic. Think quality over quantity.

NDD: What should marketers be focusing on in social media in 2018?

Lee: They should be focused on results. There is so much tracking that’s available now that it’s fairly easy to do. It’s time to move beyond just trying it out because it’s new or because you can, and instead focus on how social media actually fits into a marketing program to make sure it produces the right results. Focus specifically on using the media to produce desired marketing results and tracking those results carefully. We’ve moved out of the experimental stage and into the production stage.

NDD: How useful is LinkedIn as a marketing tool?

Lee: For most professional services firms and for most of their clients, it is the preferred marketing tool. A study we recently did showed that about 70% of the people who use some type of social media to check you out use LinkedIn. It’s more than all of the rest of the social networks combined. The only exception would be if you’re trying to reach non-profits, you might be better off on Facebook. However, for most B2B audiences, LinkedIn is the best choice. It’s useful for developing new clients as well as attracting new employees.

NDD: How do you select blog topics?

Lee: It starts, first and foremost, by understanding what is the service or services that you’re going to be trying to sell using your blog post. In other words, where is your focus? From there, the question is who would be the ideal clients for that service and what are the issues that are on their minds? How can your service be relevant to solving that issue? Which sort of keywords are frequently searched by the client or used when the client is talking about that problem?

NDD: How important is brand reputation?

Lee: Your brand is your reputation combined with your visibility of that reputation, so it is tremendously important. Your reputation is the only thing that is more important than the relationships you have. Everyone thinks that their client relationships are the most important thing—and they certainly are important for keeping clients. However, for getting new clients, your reputation and what your firm is known for is more important. It is arguably the most important thing from a marketing point of view.

NDD: How do you work out your differentiators?

Lee: There are two ways to identify your differentiators. The first is by doing research in your marketplace, as well as on your clients, prospects and influencers in that marketplace. That way, you can get from their perspective what is special about your firm and what they value.
However, you can’t substitute sitting around the conference room and thinking about what the differentiators might be. It’s hard to be objective about what the real value is of your firm. You have to actually ask the marketplace.
Now, what you can do is develop a totally new business model or a product configuration that doesn’t currently exist in the marketplace. In other words, you can invent a differentiator – as long as that differentiator is important to your client. You can either invent a differentiator or you can discover one. What you can’t do is find what sets your firm apart by sitting around and talking about it. You can’t make up a new differentiator if it isn’t true, but you can create one if you want to change your business model.

Lee can be reached at LFrederiksen@hingemarketing.com or 703-391-8870.
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