Archive for March, 2011
This is the second post in this series. The previous post can be found here.
If you’ve got plenty of time on your hands to develop and implement your marketing strategy, this information doesn’t apply to you. But, in my experience most company executives and entrepreneurs suffer from a common malady…there’s only 24 hours in a day.
How does this limitation negatively impact your DIY marketing?
1. You’re not leveraging your resources
Building and managing a successful business is about leveraging resources. Many executives make the mistake of thinking that their college Marketing 101 course qualifies them to do the strategic analysis necessary to properly position their offerings. Or worse, they hire a low-cost recent graduate with no real-world or legal specific experience.
Marketing can become a revolving door. Executives hire a marketing person, expecting them to know their product and service offerings and ‘hit the ground running’. Most often the honeymoon period ends early and the company is back to square one. Marketing to the legal vertical is different. Using a legal marketing specialist to validate strategies and positioning and help create a logical plan is a wise investment in your business.
2. You can only handle so many #1 priorities
Most executives I meet are flooded with multiple priorities. They’re wearing lots of hats, filling several roles, and let’s face it; they haven’t got the time to dedicate to developing, implementing, and analyzing a successful strategy and plan.
Marketing planning is an intensive discipline. I personally recommend to my clients that they ‘start at the end’. By determining upfront what they want to accomplish over a given period, we are able to develop strategies and plans to reach their goals. Having specific goals allows us and them to monitor progress.
3. Your marketing becomes reactive rather than strategic
It’s easy to get sidetracked with marketing:
• Sales are off and you need to do something to fix it now
• A call comes in to sponsor a new event
• Your competitor is speaking on a panel or exhibiting at a conference
and you need to be there too
Now you’re reacting. Instead of developing a strategy, creating a plan, implementing the plan, and measuring the results, you’re all over the place. You need help filtering the noise and figuring out what actually fits into your overall strategy.
To be successful at DIY marketing you need to make it a priority, find the time to dedicate to marketing, and have the expertise and discipline to create and follow a strategic plan. If you can’t make these commitments, you’ll be hard-pressed to succeed in fulfilling your goals.
If you’re using email as part of your marketing strategy, you need to be aware that Canada has enacted a significant new Anti-Spam Law. The legislation, now known as Canada’s Online Protection Legislation (CLOP) is significant in that:
- It contains an express affirmative opt-in condition. If you’ve got a form with an opt-out, it needs to be changed to a specific opt-in if you’re marketing in Canada.
- Large fines may be imposed (up to $1 million per violation).
- The legislation applies not only to email, but also to a number of other communication methods, including SMS, IM, and social media.
Enforcement is scheduled to commence this fall. Marketers would be wise, at a minimum, to start scrubbing lists to eliminate addresses that have not expressly opted in, and review their marketing forms. In addition, privacy policies may require review…your legal and/or compliance teams will be able to assist.
A good high-level review of the the new law and a link to the full text of the legislation appears on ClickZ.
This post is the first in a series.
For nearly 10 years I’ve worked with companies that sell products and services to lawyers. In that time, I’ve spoken with many executives that decided they either couldn’t afford outside marketing/business development assistance or they knew enough to continue tackling their marketing challenges internally.
Early in our conversations, when discussing their goals, they most often cited a desire to build their revenues to a size that would allow them to attract acquisition partners, or they wanted to increase profitability. And yet today, most of those DIY companies continue to struggle to grow or survive. They do so without a plan, and often market by the ‘seat of their pants’.
So, here are 3 reasons why DIY doesn’t work in the legal industry:
1. You lack objectivity
Let’s face it. For many legal entrepreneurs, your product or service isn’t just your business, it’s your baby. You’ve developed it because of a void you identified in the market…and if it works for you, it must be good for others. But successfully marketing and building a business takes more than good ideas and passion. It requires the ability to evaluate market forces with neutrality
2. You’ve become your own focus group
You’re the expert; nobody knows your product/service as well as you. Time and again, I’ve encountered companies that are so convinced of the benefits of their product/service that they fail to listen to their market. Plus, in an ever-changing communications landscape you may not be connecting with your prospects using the channels they prefer. Successful companies find a way to involve their customers and their prospects in both their product development and their communications.
3. Your personal preferences
An early mentor taught me that the only personal preferences that ever matter are those of your customers and prospects, not your personal preferences. Everything from messaging, to marketing channels, to imagery, to the use of color and type style must be geared to your buyer persona(s). Take yourself out of the equation and put yourself into the shoes of your prospects. Will your marketing appeal to them?
To summarize, DIY marketing won’t work if you’re too close to your business. You’re the expert at what you do, but can you honestly stay abreast of all the changes to the marketing mix? And can you afford to take your own advice?
In the last month Charlie Sheen has been grabbing headlines and airspace at a dizzying speed, and not necessarily for the best of reasons. Yet, his stock has likely never been higher. Consider that Mr. Sheen logged a Guinness World Record for amassing more than one million followers on Twitter in less than 24 hours. No less than a week after starting to post, @charliesheen already has exceeded two million followers.
It’s no matter whether you agree/sympathize with him or not, he is yet another example of how our society continues to become more and more social. In fact, I doubt he cares one bit whether his followers agree or disagree with his outlook or life style.
What Does This Mean for Legal Vendors?
Communications and marketing as we’ve known them for decades (including the evolution of email) is changing faster than we may want to accept. Mr. Sheen’s motivation/strategy for joining the Twittersphere isn’t important, but you can be certain that his future/former employers are absolutely taking notice of his following. I for one won’t be surprised to see his sitcom return to production.
The message here…if we don’t get onboard, we’ll be left behind. While it may feel comfortable to doubt the validity of social communication, particularly in the legal community, the world has changed and lawyers and the companies that provide products and services to them need to change with it.
If you haven’t yet embraced social communication, you need to join the new world order. But do so with a strategy…you can bet Charlie Sheen has one.