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#392: Plan on Always Staying One Step Ahead of Your Client

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Updated: Monday, September 20, 2010
I think being an effective consultant means staying a step ahead of my clients. However, I just can't keep up with all the media that cover my client, their customers and trends that affect their business. I am embarrassed every time someone says, "Did you see the article about XYZ?" and I haven't seen it. Any suggestions?

Companies use what is called a "clipping service" to track all media mentions of a client or issue. The name comes from the day (not that long ago) when the service literally "clipped" out newpaper or magazine articles that mentioned the topic of interest.

Today's clipping services are based on the ability to efficiently scour online media databases and they vary in price from free to substantial. As a clipping service subscriber, you would indicate what keywords or phrases you'd like to monitor and what publications you want to include in the search. The service compiles search hits and reports to you (often by email) usually on a daily or weekly basis. The more expensive services are required to search through scholarly jounals and higher priced subscription publications.

To get familiar with clipping services, I suggest you use Google Alert. You can sign up for a search through websites, news, blogs, or other Google areas. Try this out for:
  • Your own company name
  • Your type of consulting practice
  • Names of your clients or prospects
  • Your client's markets or activities
  • Areas of the consulting business or profession
Tip: Once you get a sense of how Google Alert works, you can decide if a broader set of media to search is worth the cost.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  learning  market research  marketing  practice management  professional development  publicity 

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