Marketing, Branding and Sales

Something interesting happened recently.  Jeff Carr, Nicole Auerbach and I consulted with a client about how to improve the law department’s performance and save money.  Shortly afterwards, Nicole and I consulted with a law firm about moving to alternative fee arrangements.  The interesting thing was that we found ourselves enjoying being consultants.  We found,

Nice story from the Chicago Lawyer on law firms developing apps for smartphones, iPads and similar products (and we especially like the way the story features Valorem!).  Here’s the key takeaway:

"More cell phones are being sold than computers," [uber Marketing ConsultantLarry] Bodine said. "Everywhere I go people are texting or going online and

 

Every two weeks, I receive an email from a legal staffing vendor.  Each time I receive it, I deleted it.  Each time I went through that short process, I was annoyed.  Today, I finally unsubscribed.  It is highly unlikely I will ever choose to do business with this company, and the annoying blast emails, which send me information I don’t want at a time I don’t want it, will be one of the principal reasons why.  I have to believe that the company did not intend to trigger this reaction: to the contrary, they probably view these emails as an important part of their marketing.  But I also have to believe that my reaction is not unique.  But I am not writing to tell this story–instead I am wondering what lessons  I should learn about my own marketing efforts.

Here are my top lessons:

1.    As enamored as I am with our story, the prospective client doesn’t care about our story. He or she cares about his or her issues.

2.    Talking about "us" is not useful–it is counterproductive.

3.    Selling solutions is much better than selling pieces with the idea that the client will assemble a solution.

4.   If my goal is to get on someone’s radar screen, my outreach has to be either useful or funny.  Serious and sales-y, not so much.

Now, to put those lessons to work.


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Marketing, to be effective, needs to (1) have a point and (2) not insult the listener or viewer.  These things seem to be Marketing 101.  So here I am this morning, driving along listening to NPR.  The announcer reads the piece that programming is brought to you by "[insert name of large national accounting firm] where we are dedicated to providing our clients with thoughtful answers." 

Now I am not a marketing expert, but doesn’t it seem like a client should be able to assume that it’s highly paid national accounting firm will provide thoughtful answers?  Or is there some large cadre of accounting firms that provides thoughtless answers? 

I was going to say that my conclusion is that marketing statements that are obvious insights into the obvious are a colossal waste of money, but that would make me guilty of that which I criticize (although at least this is free!).  So let me leave with this:   there needs to be a quality control element to everything a firm does to present itself to the public, if only to avoid certain ridicule for things like "thoughtful answers." 

 


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Duane Morris laid off 18% of its marketing and business development staff yesterday.  Ed Schecter, the head of marketing, apparently said cost-cutting was "secondary" and the real intent was to build a more experienced, leaner team.  Of course, this is reported the day after Citibank’s Dan DiPietro is quoted as saying the profits of Amlaw