Handbook of Research on Entrepreneurship in Professional Services
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Handbook of Research on Entrepreneurship in Professional Services

Edited by Markus Reihlen and Andreas Werr

The expert contributors discuss entrepreneurship and innovation from a number of different perspectives, including the entrepreneurial professional team, the entrepreneurial firm and the institutional environment. The first part of the book looks at the challenges of entrepreneurship specific to the professional service firm while the second explores the creation and exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities in the professional service team. Part III turns to the organization and Part IV to the management and growth of the entrepreneurial professional service firm. The final part discusses the interplay between professions, firms and the institutional environment.
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Chapter 12: Marketing in professional services firms: turning expertise into customer perceived value

Aino Halinen and Elina Jaakkola


This chapter discusses the key marketing themes relevant to entrepreneurial professional services firms. According to a definition established by the American Marketing Association, “marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large” (AMA, 2007). One of the most famous concepts ever developed in marketing literature, the marketing concept, refers to the philosophy that firms should analyze their customers’ needs, and meet those needs better than competitors. In other words, the fundamental role of marketing in any company is to meet customer needs with offerings that create value for the customer. Professional service providers traditionally have not perceived themselves to be sales or marketing oriented; the use of advertising has been particularly resisted (Morgan, 1991). However, as many professional service sectors have developed into highly competitive businesses where market forces and business goals have become increasingly influential, professional services firms have gravitated towards a more favorable approach to market orientation and marketing (Reid, 2008). Professional services firms (PSFs) are typically founded by people who possess specialist knowledge and expertise that can be used to benefit the client. From the marketing perspective, the success of entrepreneurs depends on their ability to leverage expertise into services and processes that create value for and with their clients. Value perceived by the customer determines the success of any business exchange and should therefore be the primary concern of professional entrepreneurs in managing their business in an increasingly competitive environment (see Howden & Pressey, 2008; Slater & Narver, 1994).

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