Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Lawyer Marketing Guy's 17 Failsafe Marketing Rules

Kerry Randall, author of the best book on Yellow Pages advertising, has 17 marketing rules posted on his new, mucho-cool web site.

Here they are, but check out his web site for tons more information.

The Lawyer Marketing Guy's Seventeen Failsafe Marketing Rules

#1 Understand Who Buys Your Stuff

* Understand who buys your stuff. Business people? Other lawyers? Consumers?

* Define your audience from every possible perspective: socio-economic, geographic, image-sensitivity, age, risk-sensitivity, etc.

* If your firm provides services to more than one group, design unique marketing strategies (messages and delivery vehicles) for each group.

#2 Define and Target Your Audience

* Before you design any marketing communication know who wants or needs your services; know your potential customers intimately.

* Design your communications to meet the needs and desires of your potential customers.

* Speak to only one customer at a time.

* Buy media that reaches your target audience, not media that reaches the largest number of people.

#3 Understand the Difference Between What you Offer and What People Buy

* You offer services; people buy solutions to their problems. (Proctor and Gamble sells shampoo to people who want clean hair.)

* Go deeper. (People want clean hair because...)

* People buy perception, not reality.

* Express your services in terms of what people buy (security, confidence, experience, value, likelihood of success, understanding, tax-savings, etc.).

#4 Define Your Unique Market Position

* Why should somebody hire you rather than your competition? Be realistic.

* Brand your unique market position ("the insider," "always here," "the lawyers' lawyer").

* Find ways to communicate your unique market position in an irresistible fashion.

#5 Know Your Resources

* How much money do you have to invest in marketing? How much time do you have? Allocate your resources to achieve the maximum return on investment for your marketing programs.

* If you have more money than time, hire a consultant with a track record of success and give her a budget. Step out of the way and monitor results.

* If you have more time than money, pursue marketing programs that are time-heavy and money-light. (Direct contact, seminars and workshops, networking, volunteering, public relations, practice brochures, publishing, trade services, etc.)

#6 Lead Your Marketing with the Highest ROI Vehicle

* Of the hundreds of marketing vehicles, which one offers possibility for the highest return on your marketing investment? Invest in the highest-ROI vehicle first. Only after you have saturated your highest-ROI vehicle should you move along to your second-highest-ROI vehicle.

* Monitor and modify frequently. Any time your ROI slips, adjust (your message or delivery mechanism). After adjusting, if you don't see a return to high ROI, withdraw your funding and invest in the next highest ROI vehicle. Review frequently.

#7 Design Your Marketing Around Problems and Solutions

* People hire lawyers to solve problems, or to prevent a problem from occurring. Design your marketing so that it is clear . . . you solve problems.

* In print advertising, use the headline to present a problem. In the subhead, provide the solution.

#8 Be Faithful to Your Unique Voice

* Once you have created your unique place in the market, stick with it: actively and intentionally grow your brand. Remember, people buy things (including services) because of their uniqueness, not because they are like other things.

* When you stand apart, you get noticed. (Don't follow others.)

#9 Make Yourself Easily Accessible

* Create an image of warmth and availability. (Too many law firms create images that focus on prestige and tradition. Granite walls may create the image that you've "made it," but if those walls get between you and your potential clients, your marketing will have to work a lot harder to generate new clients.)

* Create marketing-only telephone lines for your office. Publish a unique number in all of your advertising so when that line rings, everybody knows it's a prospective client calling.

* Create a welcoming, we-are-here-to-please-you message both in your office and in all your marketing.

#10 Know Your Competition

* Your firm is not the only firm actively pursuing new customers. To win the lion's share of the pie, you must know what your competition is doing. You must be more aggressive. You must be smarter. To edge out the competition, you must know what they are doing, and you must play the marketing game better than they play the marketing game. When it comes to generating new clients, the second choice never gets the telephone call.

#11 Keep Egos and Marketing Separate from Each Other

* Your marketing is not about you; it is about what you can do for potential clients better than anybody else.

* If you create a marketing message that makes you look good, throw it away. Even Charlie knows people don't want tuna with good tastes.

#12 Don't Design Marketing Communications to which You Think You Might Respond

* You are not your potential client. Your potential clients don't think like you think. They don't even like the same food you like! Don't get caught in the trap of thinking that if you like a marketing message, potential clients will like it too.

* Don't design an ad layout or direct mail piece so you will like it. Too many truly great marketing pieces have been left on graphic artists' tables in favor of less powerful pieces because the client liked the lesser piece, and did not see or understand the value of the powerful piece.

* Don't look at your marketing messages through your eyes. Take your marketing messages out to others for their opinions. (If you take your marketing messages to your staff or to your spouse for "more objective" opinions, you will get more and varied opinions, none of which will be much more valuable than your own. The only person whose opinion counts is the potential clients'. Don't ask your wife what flavor of ice cream the kid standing on the street corner likes the most. You may love your wife and your staff, but they don't know what flavor of ice cream that kid likes any more than you know. Ask the kid.)

#13 Don't Buy Statistics

* Most people who sell advertising have compelling statistics that demonstrate that buying their advertising vehicle is a prudent choice. Ignore these statistics; they mislead. If you need to rely on statistics, get them from an unbiased source.

* Statistics are not clients. (Nobody has 1.9 children.)

#14 Tell the Truth

* Always.

#15 Adopt a Winning Attitude

* The return you get on your marketing investment is influenced by your attitude. Create and maintain a great outlook every time you participate in building content, designing marketing material, or buying media. If you discover you have a bad outlook on a day you have scheduled yourself to work on marketing, reschedule.

* Go all out, as though you are designing your future You are.

* Plan to win. Big.

#16 Never Advertise From Fear of Loss

* Advertising decisions that are motivated by fear ("some other firm will get these clients if I don't advertise here") will almost definitely result in poor returns.

* Advertising decisions that are motivated by possible gain tend to produce gain.

#17 Sell Only the Best

* If you decided to sell vacuum cleaners door-to-door, wouldn't you research to find the best-value, best-performing vacuum cleaner on the market, and then get a job with that firm? Your advertising will always reflect your beliefs about your firm. If you don't believe you can offer the best value and performance, your advertising will reflect that.

* If you can't offer value and performance, change.

If you abide by these seventeen time-tested marketing principles, your marketing cannot stray too far from success.


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