Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
A good business leader needs to be well versed in most areas of business. A particular skill that marketing puts in a leadership tool belt is the ability to step back and see the big picture. I believe great marketers and great leaders have developed their talent to see all of the parts moving at once, so that if one part is moved, changed or adapted, they have the ability to know its effect on everything else.
If you'd like to further develop your big picture skills, or would like to test the abilities you already have; try playing a computer strategy game like Sim City, or Age of Empires. These 'games' require significant attention to detailed manipulation of parts/people in order to create big picture outcomes.
The 'Be Attitudes' for Plaintiff Attorneys
- Be Real – Plaintiff attorneys are in the business of first impressions. You are measured by opposing counsel, by juries, judges, recorders, reporters, and most importantly, prospective clients. If you try to be something you are not, you will be found out, and that never works for you. You can try to be too slick, too folksy, too intellectual, too connected... whatever. If it’s not you. Don’t do it.
Your marketing materials, the words you use, the advertisements you place, have to match your personality. The first impression that counts is when someone meets you face to face. If your how you represent yourself in print or word doesn’t match who they meet, you lose. Be real. Be yourself
- Be A Story Teller – Every client you represent has a story. It’s probably a good story… and people love to read a good story. When you make connections with the media don’t tell them a story about you; tell them the stories of your clients. Don’t talk about how you’ll bring them justice; talk about how they haven’t had any. To be the most visible, point at someone else and the attention will come back to you.
- Be The Expert – Keep narrowing the type of cases you represent until you become the biggest name in that segment. It is a lot easier to aim your marketing 1% of the market than 50%, or %100.
- Be Visible – Become an advocate. Support causes that will bring reward to the clients you represent. Become a mentor to other attorneys on their way up and you’ll benefit from the referrals. Advertise about the success of your clients, not the success of your practice. Get a PR agency to place you on podiums and get you quoted in news stories. And most of all, be accessible to your clients when they need you. Clients talk about who they see, so it better be you.
- Be Caring – In the heart of every client you represent is at least a little fear. Probably a lot of fear. There is nothing more powerful than the word-of-mouth from someone that is a true believer. To make them a true believer in you, you’ll need to care about what happens to them.
Technorati Tags: Legal Marketing, Professional Services Marketing, Marketing, Business Development
Sunday, March 27, 2005
We process our losses on the inside in much the same way we deal with death or trauma. In no particular order we experience denial, anger, bargaining, depression/sadness, and acceptance.
The first step in learning from your losses is to talk about it with people you trust to be objective. A colleague, a mentor or coach, a professional peer… someone that knows you and has experienced professional losses of their own. We talk so that we can acknowledge our feelings about the loss and feel healthy about moving forward.
The next step is to find out why. And the only place that information can come from is directly from the mouth of decision maker who made the choice no to use you or your firm. Does that sound like a conversation filled with landmines? You bet. But if you want the truth, that’s where it will come from.
If you are too emotionally attached to the decision then ask someone else to have the conversation. If you want the truth, and you want to learn, get to the source.
Over the years I’ve made a lot of post-decision calls for myself and others. The most common understanding I’ve gathered after so many conversations is that their choice WAS PERSONAL. But not in the way you’d think. Most of the time they made their choice for someone else because they had a better relationship with the other person.
That’s it. They didn’t “like you less”. They “liked someone better”.
Beyond the relationship portion of the process you may also gain insight to the materials you used, the words you spoke, your timing, team members, etc.
Failure cannot breed success until you are ready to know what happened. Then learning will begin.
Friday, March 25, 2005
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
In professional services we are paid to think. And like any professional skill, the more we practice our craft the better we may be. The sort of exercise put forward by Michael Pollock sounds like the perfect mental obstacle course. And it may be that you can tune his idea to develop different aspects of your thinking and opinion skills.
- Exercise One: Set aside 10 minutes. Pick any book just as suggested by Michael. Read the sentence, write your opinions. Done.
- Exercise Two: Set aside 10 minutes. Pick any book from among publications about your specific profession. Read the sentence, write your opinion. Done.
- Exercise Three: Set aside 30 minutes (over lunch with a peer or colleague). Repeat the steps from Day One only this time state your opinion out loud (sort of the ultimate in "I wish I had said that" training).
Technorati Tags: Legal Marketing, Marketing, Professional Services Marketing, Thinking, Writing, Learning
Sunday, March 20, 2005
When I started the Catalyst blog in 2002 I figured this whole blogging thing was going to be a slam dunk. My task, as I saw it at the time, would be to visit law firm web sites, read legal news, and then write bitter diatribes about all of the bad marketing wandering about the industry.
For the most part, that never happened; and I’m glad. It’s way too easy to take pot-shots at the efforts of others and hide behind a veil of ‘expertise’. Do I think some things might be done better or differently? Yes. Am I always right? Yah, in my mind! But that don’t make me the bomb.
I worked for a really good coach and mentor at Brobeck, David Geyer. Now I’ve worked with a lot of wonderful people in my career, but David was a true teacher. When he arrived on the scene I was predisposed to not like him because I thought I was doing pretty good by myself. For a time I would talk with other marketers at the firm and point out all of the things that David was, “definitely doing wrong”. I was an instigator though consensus-building.
Through it all David remained steady and neutral. When I screwed up, instead of telling me all of the things I should’ve done differently, he only focused on what I did that was right, and then offered suggestions for how I could get it even more right. He was steady, mature, and a good marketer to learn from.
So what does that story have to do with blogging? Everything! What I’ve noticed in too many blogs is the sort of shaming and blaming that I had initially thought would be fun and instructive. Well, it’s not. It’s actually rather irritating to have so many people charging about finding ways to point their finger at everyone else. I’ve discovered that I don’t want to be a part of that. I’d like to more like David Geyer.
People and industries grow because there is learning going on. Learning never happens when the lessons we’re given only tell us what’s wrong. We learn because we’re shown new ways of seeing things.
This rant was born of a weekend reading news feeds full of criticism and finger-pointing. I hope that when my posts take on that aura, my readers will quickly put me back on course.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
A lot of folks have reported on the Eyetrack III research released by The Poynter Institute, the Estlow Center for Journalism & New Media, and Eyetools. As a graphic designer of business collateral I've always preached the more basic "Z" matrix to prioritize how information is laid out for a reader, and this study confirms that basic principle. And now that Eyetrack is getting so much exposure a lot of firms will be looking anew at their materials. If you so inclined I caution you to use the eye wisely.
As you determine what information needs to be on a page, make two lists. One list is the items that you want the reader to know about you or your firm. The second list is those things that the reader has come to find. The second list is the more important list.
A visitor to your firm website enters with questions that need answers. If they have to dig past your chest thumping... they won't. They'll move on. They don't necessarily need to know who you are or what your firm philosophies are. First they need to know how they can deal with the situation they are in (the reason they are looking in the first place). Give them enough of what they want and pretty soon they're asking the questions you hoped for.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
I am not sure what information caused the dealership to make the neon statement, but I do know that the order of words they chose to express their joy was totally misguided.
It happens way too often. Never let your excitement make your marketing decisions!
Friday, March 11, 2005
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
And I also feel that the shortfall of this book is its foundation on consumer marketing practices. The trio is quick to point out that marketing professional services is not consumer marketing, and then use the "P's" matrix formula born in consumer marketing to chart a parallel path for professional services.
In light of their book release I thought this would be a good day to republish my marketing matrix developed specifically for professional services and founded on knowledge gained in the trenchs.
Re-Introducing the "Four R's" of Professional Services Marketing:
- Resource: What is the professional knowledge you/your firm has that you can leverage on behalf of a client? The "product" of a law or accounting firm is it's people. They hold in their head the knowledge that becomes a resource to the client. In market planning you need to identify what resources your target market needs and which your firm can fulfill.
- Relationship: What are the connections you have/need externally and internally to benefit your firm, clients and shareholders? The key to successful firms is the ability to create and sustain relationships inside the firm (partners, professionals, committees, client teams, support, etc.) and outside the firm (individual executives at clients and prospects, referral resources, shareholders, influencers, etc.). In your marketing plan the process and plan for developing these people interactions needs to be outlined to enhance the delivery of resources.
- Rate: What is the correct rate structure for providing your resources to clients? How much will you charge? What are the payment terms, conditions? Is geography or client base a consideration? What compensation structures will be driven by rates?
- Resonate: How will you resonate your message into the marketplace to benefit the reputation and sustainability of your practice/firm? The product life cycle in a professional service firm is the life span of the individual partners. Impulse buying is not a factor. Creating the vehicles and messages to bring about market awareness must consider the length of time that your resources will remain viable in the marketplace.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Monday, March 07, 2005
Sunday, March 06, 2005
There are few mistakes that can't be undone, especially in marketing, but to have done nothing at all is a mistake that has no fix.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
The billable hour IS a marketing problem because it is a constant ding on trust. We have all experienced knowing we could do something so much faster than someone else. That feeling is so much a part of us we cannot escape it. And, we also know how we've used time, or misused it.
A perfect example: Send a child to clean his/her room and the time it takes is exactly proportionate to how much time before the child's next "big thing" is on the horizon (a TV show, meeting with friends, going skating, etc.).
As marketers we constantly have to be aware of this little ding in trust that lurks in the one-to-one relationship between a partner and the client.
I think Richard is right. There must be a better way, and it cannot come by adjusting or tinkering with what is already in place. I think it will take an entirely new partnership, formed and modeled around a new way of pricing for services. The answer is out there. I'm looking for it. What about you?
Technorati Tags: legal marketing, marketing, business networking, public relations
We all know there is a decided difference between marketing strategy and marketing tactics. Pretty important stuff if you hope to have an impact. It is equally important to know the difference between the things we do or use to create business relationship opportunities and what we do to maintain the relationships we actually have.
Over at CommunityGuy.com, Jake writes an interesting parallel column on building “community”. His point rather simple. Bringing a lot of people together in the same space does not a community make. Community can only happen once people are interacting, sharing, and relating to the other people around themselves.
The same hold true in business relationships. You can shake a lot hands, swap cards, laugh over cocktails, or play golf until your arms can swing no more. Real relationships develop over time with consistent attention and effort. As you read Jake’s column just put the words, “relationship network” in place of, “community”.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
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