David Maister and marketing as a conversation


David Maister, the über-guru of professional services, has embraced blogging and podcasting. In a revamp last week of his website, which has always provided extensive resources, he has launched a blog titled Passion, People and Principles. It is highly interactive, responding in depth to questions and conversations raised by clients and the professional services community. Not long before, he released an article Marketing is a Conversation, in which he advocates creating conversations and “salons” with clients, engaging in joint problem solving, setting up blogs, and replacing capability brochures with interactive spaces.

David has for a long time said that he focuses on the fundamentals of professional services, because that is still where the most difference can be made. He kindly suggests that in contrast my work deals with the “frontier topics”. He has been very supportive of my work, and gave me a nice blurb for the latest edition of my book Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships: “Dawson has pulled off the nigh-impossible: improved on what was already a terrific book. Even more than before, this is essential reading for professional service firms.”

I have immense respect for David’s work, and discussed his immensely successful personal strategic positioning in my book Living Networks. While David has always talked and written about listening to clients and great service, I think that he has shifted his approach in how he now strongly encourages collaboration and shared value creation with clients. In my latest book there is a subheading “Doing Great Work is Not Enough”. It’s far from enough, and true knowledge-based, collaborative relationships require an entirely different attitude. These are truly fundamentals of professional services.

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