Your potential clients want to make a decision. They must know why your firm is a better choice compared to other options for their needs, their situation, and their resources. Highlighting how you're "different" from other firms rather than focusing on why you are a better choice is marketing to yourself. It feels good, but it doesn't work very well.
Does your marketing confuse being different or "unique" with being better?
Many hard-charging professional services firms go directly to tactics such as "fixing" their website, developing content and creating email campaigns. Tactics-without-strategy easily become oppressive masters rather than servants. You need marketing that delivers the Revenue, Profits, and higher quality Clients to drive your business to the next level.
If the market is getting more competitive, why do you expect your marketing to become less hands-on?
At its core, professional services marketing aids potential clients in deciding to work with your firm. Where focus is vital, less is usually more, and knowing the right path saves valuable time and effort. Do you know enough to choose the best path? Is marketing technology your servant, or your master?
Are you focused on why clients select your firm above other, excellent options?
Getting to the core of why clients select your firm requires setting aside your own biases. That's hard. You need to learn why your best clients select your firm. Not why you would select your firm. Not why they ought to select your firm. Not all the valuable things you can do for them after they select your firm. Why your best clients select your firm over other options.
The answer is revealing, and often freeing. Think of it as your firm's "Secret Sauce."
Your secret sauce is what truly sets you above other providers in the eyes of your best clients.
Your secret sauce is often obscured by marketing groupthink. It's easier to focus on what you want your secret sauce to be rather than finding out what it really is.
Even firms at the top of their game cling to the belief that technical expertise at a reasonable price trumps everything else. As a fellow professional, for years I wanted to believe this was true. Your best clients select you over and over again for reasons that are more subtle.
Under-utilizing your secret sauce puts a drag on Revenue, Profits, and winning more of your Best Clients.
Coming face-to-face with the reasons your best clients select your firm is like putting on new glasses. Whether you implement with internal staff or a marketing agency, your new perspective will be invaluable for generating the results you expect. (Agencies will tell you they do all this, but that's because they don't know what they've been missing. They get pretty excited when they see the synthesized data they get to leverage.)
Unless you see The Why through your clients' eyes, best practices are merely disconnected actions you ought to do. Working from The Why removes the guesswork between what you do and what happens.