The Phylmar Group, Inc.
Understanding the value of the Internet for businesses selling products has yet to be fully calculated, however for industrial hygiene consultants this new medium of distribution has instantly created another stream of revenue from clients who may have otherwise been unaware of their existence. The Internet has opened up an entire prospect pool for small to medium-sized industrial hygiene consulting firms who were previously bound to traditional methods of marketing and word-of-mouth referrals. Larger competitors in the industry, with many offices and dedicated business development personnel, were better equipped to respond to Requests For Proposals – or to even hear about upcoming projects in the first place.
Online marketing, unlike print advertising, direct mail, or telemarketing, sets up an even playing field from which skill and expertise can be judged fairly. Most consulting practices – regardless of size and capability – have set up their own web sites displaying their project and staff experience and outlining their mission and service policies. Some take on the responsibility of updating their own sites adding project experience and team capabilities as they occur. They register with search engines and hope for traffic by embedding key words linked to their specific project experience.
Others depend on the growing number of online service companies that have popped up during the past 12-24 months. These provide background information and helpful industry insight to companies seeking information on environmental, health, and safety professionals to perform a specific job – or other pertinent information on an issue facing them either from a regulatory or general management perspective. Each web resource varies in scope and offers its own unique value to both company and consultant alike.
Phylmar.com, representing a group of consultants called “affiliates,” has gone one step beyond resource recruitment servicing. Phylmar.com carefully screens its affiliates and provides a third-party introduction allowing the client to review the relevant background and experience resident in its network without having to talk to affiliates directly. This way, the confidentiality of the client is preserved and early research can be taken simply as “research” and not an invitation to bid on specific work. Experience is presented through reading either case studies or articles. These project descriptions demonstrate how each problem was perceived, diagnosed, and then resolved by a Phylmar affiliate. If interested, readers fill out a form and are then contacted by both Phylmar and the affiliate. The affiliates not only get the benefit from each referral but also enjoy the ongoing marketing services Phylmar provides like a monthly newsletter distributed directly via email to Fortune 1000 companies.
The Expert Marketplace which, in cooperation with Dun and Bradstreet, claim to provide access to a pre-qualified network of over 8,000 consultants in over 1,000 consulting firms worldwide. Like Phylmar.com, the Marketplace (also referred to as the PEN Group) provides project descriptions in the form of case studies and articles. They also have a service called, “Ask the Expert” where experts who reside in their massive database answer email inquiries passed along to them through their web site. The PEN Group also posts confidential project listings for companies who are interested in receiving qualification packages from consultants with pertinent job experience without having to be inundated by sales calls and direct inquiries.
For a quick referral source, safetyonline.com provides listings of both “Projects for Bid” and “Projects to Advertise” in its Resource area, which can be found on its home page. They provide a helpful search capability and provide an easy format for entering new project information.
Each of these services extends the reach of conventional marketing in their own unique way. Many more prospective clients are being exposed to the skills and experience of consultants who were otherwise unseen – and, in turn, consultants will be privy to knowledge of upcoming projects without the cost and responsibility of hosting an in-house marketing department.
The Internet, with all of its promise of profits for those trading physical commodities, has already begun to bear fruit for the consulting community who understand the value of this new distribution channel with a virtual audience of millions.