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,
"Don’t tell me how good you make it. Tell me how good it makes me feel when I use it."
"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.
As a small firm, we are frequently told that people will buy "The Brand" (read, big firm) for harder matters because The Brand protects the buyer in case something goes wrong. We generally respond to this by pointing to our own big firm pedigrees, talking about actual trial experience, which most big firm lawyers lack …
I strongly endorsed a new book by Jeff Jarvis, What Would Google Do? If you want to see Googley thinking in action, check out Michelle Golden’s post, Think Your Clients Use Your Firm’s Website? Here’s the advice:
Firms also talk about putting valuable content and tools behind this client-only wall. This is
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."
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 …
I had an opportunity to participate in a panel led by Gerry Riskin at Hildebrandt’s 2008 Marketing Partner Forum. As always, it was an outstanding event, perhaps the best in many years. Congratulations to Tom Billington and his Hildebrandt colleagues for putting together such an outstanding and thought-provoking program.
I have had several…