Lessons Learned in 2019 That Will Help Tech Consulting Firms Thrive in 2020

David C. Smith
3 min readJan 18, 2020


2019 offered many lessons for tech consulting firms. Some lessons are very basic (marketing needs management to succeed) and some lessons are more aspirational (leave customers better). Leveraging these lessons into 2020 actions will be the hallmark of successful firms.

1. Top Firms Make Competition Irrelevant

The tech consulting market is filled with experts, all claiming to understand the better mousetrap. These better-mouse trap firms proclaim their technical knowledge is superior to all others, their quality is unmatched, and their speed to implementation is fast. To be sure, some of these firms have had some customer and project success. They wouldn’t be in business otherwise.

But the lesson learned in 2019 from successful tech consulting firms is success goes beyond technical knowledge, quality work, and speed. Customers want more than these obvious elements; they want to achieve trust and collaboration with firms.

Firms that concentrate on both their technical abilities and impactful culture will build relationships that make the competition irrelevant.

2. Future Impact Wins

Successful firms have a vision for their customer’s future. These firms concentrate on both the project at hand and also on how their customer benefit after their work is complete.

The impact plays out in many areas. Project structure and management roles and responsibilities are defined and instituted for future benefit. Teamwork and transparency are characteristics of a robust and productive development environment. Technical artifacts and processes transitioned from successful firms to their customers have lasting value and position customers for future success.

The 2019 lesson learned is recognition and concentration on both projects (tangibles), and future impact (intangibles) elements gain successful tech consulting firms with a reputation of being extraordinary.

3. Marketing Management is Magic

The marketing system has to have a management component to optimize success.

The management role translates strategy into plans, schedules, and budgets. The management role analyzes and reports performance, determines appropriate execution adjustments, and refines strategy based on updated knowledge and experience.

Without marketing management, tech consulting firm leaders must shoulder these responsibilities. Most leaders can handle this responsibility (they have done so in the past), but they can’t do marketing management well and grow and scale their firm at the same time.

The lesson learned in 2019 is don’t ignore the role of marketing management.

4. Brand Strengthens Strategy

The “Brand” element of strategy is often downplayed or overlooked. Many firms leaders remain in the mindset that a brand is “just a logo.” These leaders are missing out on one of the most powerful elements of the overall marketing strategy.

A well-defined brand communicates your marketing message and provides your market with an instantly recognizable signal of what your firm is about.

The lesson from 2019 is focusing on the brand element of your marketing strategy will increase your firms’ marketing results.

5. Content Production is a KPI

Content production success is difficult if, like most firms, there has not been any process in the past. For most firms, content production feels unnatural or overwhelming.

There is a desire to produce content that’s deep in technical detail, measures up against their peers, and is technically useful and accurate. This outlook causes unneeded stress and delays in the production schedule.

Technical consulting firms that incorporate a content production KPI into their monthly organization goals demonstrate commitment and recognition of the importance of content in their marketing system.

Firms that leverage these powerful lessons increase their chances of substantial growth and success in 2020.



David C. Smith

I help tech consulting firms get new customers using marketing strategy, management, and execution.