On July 15th 2018, David C Baker wrote about using a “Client Orientation Manual” as a marketing tool. I will repeat the advice he gave to open up his article:
“Before you decide that this might not be interesting enough to read, consider passing it along to a key leader and letting them take charge of this project. You’ll be amazed at the impact on your firm.”
I took this excellent advice and have been using my own client orientation manual for just about a year and a half now. You should too, for reasons that David breaks down very well. But my version of the client orientation manual is a little more modern (and a little more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants) for reasons that I want to break down really quickly.
It’s Informal. My manual omits the formal documents and concepts (“typical agreements”, “change orders”, “approval policy”, “quality checks”). Why? Partly I don’t want to focus on what happens if things go wrong. But partly because I think we all should move towards lower-touch, self-service modes of paying and getting paid. Because life is too short. In fact, my manual contains a link to an online ordering page. That said, for more formally structured consulting firms in particular, you might consider a version closer to what David C Baker recommends.
It’s cloud-based (in deck format). Rather than being a formal PDF, let alone a printed artifact as David suggests, I use a Google Slides deck. This makes it incredibly easy to update, easy to share, and easy to access. It also lets me walk through the deck if need be on a call with prospective or new clients, partners, or anyone else who cannot figure out what I do from reading my website. 
It’s frequently micro-updated. On the first page of my deck, I claim it’s the 12th version, though looking at my edit history in Google Slides, I see that I have actually made changes to it on 47 different days (some of them minor). One of the beauties of Google Slides vs a traditional web page (or Powerpoint) is that it encourages frequent and collaborative updates.
Speaking of which, version 13 of my client orientation manual is coming soon, as I narrow my focus in 2020 in three areas:
- Emphasis on creative ideation as the foundation of all marketing, business development, and product design.
- Blending of B2B and B2C approaches, partly to better serve Digital Health entrepreneurs. And partly because our society and its economy seem to blur those lines more and more. 
- Focus on delivering agile advice: more self-service, more iterative, and more productized. I’m done with monolith marketing assessments, plans, and “strategies”. Advice should be dispensed the way software should be built: iteratively.
By the way, I will also continue to focus on what I don’t do – another of the many joys of writing your own client orientation manual.
Want a head start? Copy mine and start hacking away:
http://bit.ly/31ADqSI (Open in Google Slides and save your own copy)
Footnotes & Errata
- Here’s David’s great post: https://www.davidcbaker.com/using-prospective-client-orientation-as-a-marketing-tool
- It was wonderful validation to see another marketing consultant (and a much smarter and more accomplished one than I am) also use Google Slides to publish. Except he takes it about 10x further and puts his entire website on one Google Slide: http://inboxcollective.com
- Here’s an interesting idea for a whitepaper or research project: how do you apply ABM (Account-Based Marketing) to B2C sales and marketing? If you have any ideas, let me know