Communications and the reality of marketing in professional service firms

Neil A Morgan


Following the relaxation of regulations concerning the use of many forms of marketing communications activity in a large number of professions beginning in the USA in 1977 and reaching the UK in 1984, there has been a growing interest in the area of professional services marketing. However, the main focus of academic research has been in the area of advertising and the professions. This article describes the results of a survey study of the internal role and function of marketing in the accounting and legal professions in the UK. The results suggest that in reality the problems faced by professional services' marketers are internal, in terms of developing a marketing orientation and reducing barriers to the implementation of marketing strategies and plans, rather than external in terms of communicating marketing messages to the external market-place. This suggests a radically different agenda to be addressed by marketing academics interested in professional services marketing that may have a greater impact upon the development of marketing within the professions than the present focus of communications.