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Your Future As A BP-01

Event report, London Group

On the 16th April the London Group heard from Mac (Alistair) MacPherson of Trinity Consulting Group, who assembled a startling set of facts which give business psychology practitioners a clear overview of what is truly happening in the market place. Many will not be happy with how their future looks, however a strong, sharply defined, digital strategy can make a significant difference in gaining and retaining great clients.

The facts

Perhaps the biggest issue facing Business Psychologists is that they are competing in massively overcrowded and saturated market, and this throws up some harsh realities facing the market for Business Psychology.  A simple LinkedIn search for the term ‘business psychologist’ turns out an impressive 3,153 individuals within the UK. Then, there are the 1,761 charted Occupational Psychologists not to mention the 11,246 executive coaches, trainers and facilitators.

Naturally, the recession has also played its part. Indeed the growing number of unemployed senior executives and managers has seen a flood in the number of ‘Consultants’ now competing for the same prize. This has resulted in the number of coaches on the market almost doubling from 27,000 to 47,500 in a mere two years, and is projected to increase to 68,000 by 2015.  With the current number of UK consultants standing at such dizzying amounts it’s no wonder that business psychologists are really feeling the pinch. The result is that 66% of working consultants have a negative impression about their economic future.

Taking closer look at the average incomes within the sector it’s easy to understand the reason for this pessimism. The vast amount of income is distributed across a small number of major consultancies and market leaders. This means that 90% of Consultants are actually only earning a paltry 20% of the fees. Simply put, the majority are effectively battling for the remaining scraps. Sadly, this is reflected in relatively low incomes of coaches in comparison to other professionals. Average earnings for Marketing, Finance and Legal careers are £83,000, £75,000 and £71,000 respectively.  The figure is only £34,000 for coaches.

The way forward for Business Psychologists

Luckily there is a way forward for Business Psychologists. The answer lies in developing an intelligent digital strategy and developing your market.

This means creating and effectively utilising web assets as an essential component of your business strategy. So this just means getting a website and writing a few blogs right?  No, it’s not that simple. As Mac points out it is not enough to just have an online presence.

The first thing that should be done is the definition of business goals and the using a digital strategy to assist. Remember that a digital presence does not equal digital strategy. A strategy has to be linked to business outcomes required.  A value proposition can be linked to desired outcomes if it is achieved through the appropriate digital platforms, be they WordPress, Twitter or LinekdIn.

The next key step is harnessing those web platforms to greatly increase the online traffic leading people to you. Here Mac offered some really useful approaches. One of the greatest value of blogs is that they drive people to your site by increasing the number of inbound links by 97%, thereby hugely increasing the chances of being found.

Then there are the search engines themselves. The key is to maximise the potential of certain search terms landing people on your site. Mac highlighted just how many opportunities are lost when certain search terms do not connect, as they should, to you. For example, the term ‘employee engagement’ is searched in the UK on average 2,900 times per month. When you consider the proportion of those who are potential clients, you can really see how the missed opportunities add up. The trick is to carefully select a good number of relevant keywords then optimise your web assets for them. A few may not be enough; indeed, Clued often optimise for up to 150 keywords to achieve high level search engine results.

Google analytics is also a critical source of information, as it allows you to see the statistics of your own sites such as where your viewers come from and what are they searching. The best thing about it is its totally free. Twitter and online videos are, of course, key platforms. However the most important thing is to be judicious with the content focused on key terms. Flimsy content will only drive your followers away. Indeed, a simple way to evaluate your twitter strategy is to see the ratio of tweets to followers, as well as the numbers of followers defecting. The key thing is to be patient. A digital strategy is not a linear process. Rather it is a circular process where clients’ prospect browse online, notice the consultant, consumes some materials, evaluates content across different web assets, ponders contact several times, and some, finally, engage.


On the evening Mac certainly provided some serious areas for consideration and everyone who attended took away something valuable that they can apply right away. When it comes to digital strategy, it seems that it could be the ‘saving grace’ for many Business Psychologists.

Mac’s presentation slides can be accessed on a private blog page and you can follow him on Twitter, via @clued_co for bite sized digital strategy advice.

Member offer

As a special offer to the Association of Business Psychologists, Mac has agreed that members of the ABP can have their site/web assets reviewed by Clued at a significantly reduced price. Simply email tell him you are a member of the ABP and enquire about the offer.


About the speaker

Alistair Mac Pherson“Mac” MacPherson is the founder and leader of Clued digital business. As a classically trained corporate strategist, and as Managing Partner of Trinity Consulting Group, he has spent the last 18 years advising some of the world’s leading companies including GlaxoSmithkline, JP Morgan, Eurostar Group.

He is also a non-executive director, having sat for 6 years on the board of a large health organisation.

For the last 7 years he has expended considerable time and effort on digital business strategies and operations, forming Clued inside of Trinity. Alistair was educated in Glasgow, London and Oxford, undertaking studies in Philosophy and an MBA.

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