Search This Blog

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Be a Marketing Fashionista: Reconsider Direct Mail

Email vs. direct mail vs. print vs. interactive.  There has been a shift of how marketers reach their clients and prospects.  In today’s digital age, your clients and prospects are bombarded with email, web advertisements, mobile ads, texts, TV and radio advertisements all day long. So, how do you stand out in the clutter? 

To me, it all gets down to targeting and an integrated approach to reach those targets.  There is a time and place for “mass” marketing, but with marketing budgets under more tight constrain, targeting your efforts can lead to measurable ROI that can be used more efficiently (rolled out in more mass as the model is validated). 

So, what integrated approach works best?  It really does depend on what you are trying to achieve.  For a long time, direct mail was the only way to consistently reach prospects, so it was used extensively, and customers became turned off by all of the “junk mail." Over the last few years email marketing has taken a more front row to traditional direct mail.  Over the last 18 months interactive, such as web and social media, has been growing in importance.   

As marketers look at their mix, I want them to resurface the importance of direct mail. New studies have found that direct mail is taking a new importance in the marketing campaigns.  People have moved past their initial apathy to direct mail and are tending to respond again to receiving a piece of physical mail. Research by Mail Print1 found that “85% of consumers sort through and read selected pieces of mail every day. 75% of consumers are saying that they are examining their mail more closely in the recent months to search for coupons and discounts. 40% of consumers say that they have tried a new business after receiving direct mail, and 70% have renewed relationships with companies/products that they had previously ceased using.” 

Direct mail is not the end-all, but marketers who use direct mail are capitalizing on a venue that can drive increased brand exposure that can surface warm leads.  Direct mail is changing through the use of unique direct mail formats that include color, oversized formats and the use of interactive efforts such as QR codes and frontflip. Try an oversized envelope that stands out from the standard #10 envelopes that dominate a pile of mail. Try using a QR code that drives to a specific offer or even creating an app that is rewards based.  The new trend is “triggering” marketing – where a response from a marketing effort triggers another specific direct marketing effort.  This could be something like a birthday, where you can send a personalized email and special offer, or a follow up message a certain number of days after a quote has been delivered. Trigger messages are nearly always based on a customer action, whether it’s inquiring about your product or service, or providing a company with demographic information or preferences, so it is far more likely to be opened, read, and acted upon than a general, unsolicited email.

So, as you build your marketing campaigns, think like a fashion designer.  In fashion, layering clothing adds interest, texture, and style. In marketing layering messages adds reach, penetration, engagement, and conversion.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Resonate with Prospects by Staring with Why not What

What messages are you using when you are “selling” your services?

·         We get great results;  you provide your clients/prospects a tally of your results

·         We have the best resources and executives; you provide their bios to demonstrate credentials

·         We are a full-service business law firm – seamless services for all your needs; you provide a firm overview and demonstrate the depth/breadth of services

·         We build relationships that drive results; you highlight your clients via client testimonials
The Golden Circle by Simon Sinek
Are these key messages differentiating?  Not likely.  We all know that if we can better communicate how your executives/associates are superior to the competitors we will have a leg up at winning more business from clients or prospects.

The issue is that the market is cluttered with messages and few standout.  There is a concept called “The Golden Circle,” created by Simon Sinek, that really is golden.  The concept demonstrates that a small change in how you think, act and communicate can make all the difference in how your clients/prospects will perceive you – and it will make an impression that stands out.

The Golden Circle is about the process of differentiation.  It is the difference in approaching your business from the perspective of What/How/Why versus Why/How/What.  Think about it: everyone knows” what” they do and this is the easiest to communicate – thus most of what lawyers use in their key messages (more rational, but hard to differentiate).  Some people know how they do it.  However, very few communicate “why” they do what they do and this is the key to make a connection that more readily leverages trust and loyalty (the part of the brain that controls decision making).
Can you define your "why"?

·         WHY does your organization exist?

·         WHY does it do the things it does?

·         WHY do customers really buy from one company or another?

·         WHY are people loyal to some companies, but not others?
If you don't know why you do what you do, odds are your customers won't either. Any company can compete on price, quality, service and features ... and we see them as commodities.  I encourage you to learn more about how to market using why versus What - video a video:  TheGolden Circle.


Monday, May 14, 2012

What is an Attorneys Most important Marketing Tool?

The age old question is this: What is an attorney’s most valuable marketing tool? 

·         Is it their experience or results they receive for their clients?

·         How about their visibility in the legal community?  Is it their reputation?

·         Or is it their bio or LinkedIn profile?  

·         Could it be as simple as their business card?

·         Or maybe it is the articles they produce and get publish?

·         But, what about referral sources?  Is it how they use their current clients to refer them to potential clients?

There are dozens of tools that assist attorneys in their efforts to build business.  Through my experience, I am not convinced that there is just one “tool” that has more weight than others, but I would argue that there are four that top my list.  And, when these are put together, they can be a winning combination.

1.      Your network.  Your clients, prospects, other lawyers, law school classmates, boards, alumni groups, etc. are important groups for you to keep in contact with – all potential future clients.  You never know when your contacts may be in a position to need your services or even refer your services to someone they know.  The keys are ensuring you have a system to keep track of your contacts/network so you can have consistent touches with them (see tool two below), ensuring your profile information is as current as possible for people to validate your credentials (tool three below), and having an engaging story to tell about who you are and what value you provide your clients (tool four below).  Keeping visibility of who you are and what you do will pay dividends over time.

2.      Use of Touch Points.  Keeping clients/prospects in the know on topics you feel would be of benefit to them is golden.  These “touch points” are those little or big interactions you have with clients, potential clients or referral sources in a variety of mediums (phone calls, e-mails, newsletters, meetings, etc.).  It demonstrates that you are thinking of them and trying to add value for their business operations. These are individual touches – not mass marketing.  Frequency of your communications is critically important in building relationships that can lead to long-term value, so use the tools your marketing department produces (i.e. e-mail blasts, newsletters, events, PR, etc.), or create your own (a congratulation note on a client/prospects success or a note about positive press you see about them in the news – easy to get by setting up a Google news alert on the company, share an article you wrote, etc.).

3.      Your bio/CV.  While building relationships is done individually, 1:1, having a well written and updated bio is important to validate your credentials.  When you network and hand out your business cards or reconnect with those who may have a legal need, they will check you out on-line.  Having your firm bio updated is essential for communicating who you are and the value you add.  If you have a LinkedIn profile, it would be in your interest to ensure this is updated as well.  If you’ve spoken at an event, had a decision published, or have a positive result, it is in your best interest to evaluate if you need to add this to your profile(s).  Set a calendar reminder to check your profiles (bio, LinkedIn profile, etc.)  at least quarterly.  Also, if your picture wasn’t taken in this decade, then it’s probably a good idea to replace it with something more current.  Finally, keeping an updated bio helps your firm as well – as many of your peers may refer you without you knowing it – having an updated bio puts your best assets forward.

4.      How you answer the question “What do you do?”  If you say “I am a XYZ lawyer” or “I practice XYZ law” you are missing a great opportunity to market yourself. The important point is that when you tell people what you do as a lawyer, it should be short, succinct, and actually say something meaningful that will invite follow-up questions.  It also has more impact if you use storytelling techniques.  To learn more, read a previous Legal Sonar Blog post by Kohn. 

Keep your business development toolbox full of items that can help you with your efforts.  The four items above are just the tip of the iceberg.  If your firm has a marketing team, get to know them.  They can arm you with a plethora of tools that can help you develop your business.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Another Way to Think About Influencing Buyers

 I recently was featured as a guest blogger on Legal Sonar. Wanted to share with you! Enjoy.

Do you know why your customers are buying from you?

·         Is it your legal “expertise?”

·         Your track record? 

·         The opinions of your referrals? 

·         The price you offer?

·         Your ability to provide them seamless service for all their needs?

·         You understand their business and can speak to them about appropriate ways to help them?

There are many factors that can affect the purchasing decision and understanding the KEY influences impacting buying can put you in a position to better tailor your approach – and have a better opportunity to resonate with clients/targets..

As you think about these influencers, whether psychological, demographic, personal or social, also think about how impacting a customer’s attitudes and behaviors can assist with your marketing and business development efforts. It’s no secret that emotions are powerful factors that move people into action and cause them to make a purchase. To influence your buyers, you must understand and appeal to them emotionally.

·     Impacting Attitudes – How do you get customers to prefer your product/services, believe in your cause, trust/respect you, drop an objective they have about your product/services or recommend/endorse you? Impacting attitudes is about how you communicate and what you communicate (key messages).
·     Impacting Behavior – How do you get customers to respond, attend an event, call you/accept a call, respond to a promotion/targeting campaign, actively consider your product/service or accept a meeting? Impacting behaviors is the result of understanding your target. If you can change a customer’s behavior, you are more apt to convert them to your product/service.
Taking a step back, the only way that understanding influencers matters is if you are properly identifying your targets. Without identifying your targets, you will not be able to accurately position yourself in the market and use influencers to drive marketing efforts. Targeting allows you to understand what venue you need to focus your marketing in that can generate leads that produce customers. The use of targeting, customer influencers and a multi channel strategy is a successful formula for success in marketing.

Monday, March 26, 2012

More than the Eye Can See

Marketing is all about understanding our customers and creating messages that resonate with them.   We know that finding that trigger point and helping potential clients understand how you can help them is a winning recipe.
Marketing is also about visually connecting with your clients.  I was recently sent some logos that help put into perspective the visual identity and the lengths marketers go through to help communicate messages with clients.
Enjoy these "hidden" but powerful messages.
Note:  All logos in this communication are property of the company and used here for educational purposes only

What can be seen in a corporate logo...

Do you see the white arrow between the "E" and "x" ?? I had never noticed this before. 

2nd and 3rd "t's are two people sharing a tortilla over a bowl of salsa

Probably the world's most famous bike race. The "R" in "Tour" is a cyclist - yellow circle front wheel of bicycle. 

Arrow probably means Amazon has everything from A to Z ?? 

There is a sideways chocolate kiss between "K" and "I" 

There is a bear if you look closely at the image of Matterhorn.
Toblerone chocolate bars originated in Berne, Switzerland, whose symbol is the bear. 

Northwest Airlines. Circle is a compass. Guess which direction the arrow in upper left corner (or beginning of "W") is pointing ??? (north west)

See the gorilla and lioness ?? 
See "31" embedded in the " B R" ?? Thirty one-derful flavors !!! 

Used to be the emblem for the Milwaukee Brewers. Baseball glove forms an "M" and a "B".  Logo was designed by a college art student.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Follow-up: An Essential Touch Point to Building Your Business

I recently was featured as a guest blogger on Legal Sonar.  Wanted to share with you!  Enjoy.

One of my favorite words in marketing is “touch point.”  Why?  Touch points are reasons for clients/prospects to learn more about how you can help them meet their objectives, as well as a way to provide value-add information with follow-up.
It is common for professional service marketing and business development efforts to fall flat based on the lack of powerful follow-up (use of touch points).  Lawyers build business based on relationships.  The efforts of your marketing team can drive brand recognition, but the trust and rapport that is built during the “business development” process is what sells.  Having your clients keep you top of mind is essential for success and an easy way to do that is consistent follow-up to keep your name in front of them.  Look at these general statistics (from a study from McGraw Hill):
  • 48% of sales people never follow-up with a prospect
  • 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
  • 12% of sales people only make 3 contacts and stop
  • Only 10% of sales people make more than 3 contacts
  • 2% of sales are made on the first contact
  • 3% of sales are made on the second contact
  • 5% of sales are made on the third contact
  • 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
  • 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact
Now, with that said, follow-up is not just something you do after a meeting.  Follow-up, as defined by is an action or thing that serves to increase the effectiveness of a previous one, as a second or subsequent letter, phone call, or visit. Follow-up is often as important as the initial contact in gaining new clients. Here are a few ways that you can effectively follow-up and add value:

o   After a meeting, send a thank you e-mail with next steps (demonstrates your interest in helping meet their needs). 
o   For positive press (client/prospect), send a congratulation note on the news.
o   Inform clients/prospects about a book, article, industry reports or website that might help to them based on conversations they have had with them.
o   Reach out to see if a client/prospect would like to grab a coffee/lunch to chat about a new trend your firm is seeing in the industry (this is a great opportunity to bring along another lawyer to chat about the trend and introduce them to another area of the firm.
o   Ask clients/prospects if they would like to be added to pertinent e-mail/newsletter lists.
o   At firm events, for your clients or prospects that attended, send them an article that expands their knowledge of the topic of the event.  The key here is to send a piece that’s adds value (not a product slip – an article, checklist, etc.)
o   At firm events, get with your marketing team to see who RSVP but did not show.  Contact key individuals to see if they would like to set a meeting to discuss the topic in more detail.  Send the slide presentation to those that did not attend and see if they would like to set a meeting to discuss key points of the presentation.
o   For those you met during networking portion before or after an event, send a “nice to meet you” or “great seeing you again” e-mail; send pertinent article/information on areas of interest they mentioned to you (to keep the doors open); ask for a lunch/coffee meeting to continue discussions and build relationships.
o    Inform them of an upcoming event/webinar that may be of interest to them.
o    If your firm has news that can be of interest to your clients/prospect, share it with them (press in reputable publications, new hires of the firm they might be interested in meeting (especially if industry focused or have a niche specialty), new location that is in alignment with their footprint, etc.).
o   Reach out to them to refer a prospect to their business.
We know that the sales process can take a considerable amount of time to complete.  It’s important to stay in front of clients/prospects consistently so that when they’re ready to buy you’ll be there.  Another reason to stay top of mind with your prospects and clients is that they may not be ready to purchase today, but they may know someone else who is.

Here’s to taking time to execute touch points and build your business. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Skate Where the Puck Will Be

Hockey great Wayne Gretsky was once quoted as saying "I don't skate to where the puck is; I skate to where the puck will be." It's become a bit of a cliche, but talks about what marketing is all about - understanding your customer and where their needs are taking them.

As marketers continue to look at where customer needs are trending, keep these trends in mind:

  • Social Media:  In 2011 companies began to take social media marketing seriously and it exploded as a marketing tool. Now companies are heavily integrating social media into their overall marketing plans, creating more leverage for a company's brand.  Social media will be used to collect customer data and enable better target marketing of products and services that those customer are interested.
  • Mobile Web Strategy. Nearly half of all U.S. mobile phone subscribers own a Smartphone. By 2015, more people will access the Web via a mobile device than through traditional desktop Internet access. You must optimize your website for viewing on an iPhone or other mobile device or risk brand irrelevancy.
  • Video. Video communication connects with viewers from a multi-sensory perspective - sound and sight - while speaking to all our senses.  More than any other medium, video alters our paradigms, and changes the way we see things. YouTube generates more than 2 billion views a day; that’s double the prime-time audience of all three major U.S. networks combined. Gather video testimonials from your customers; feature your team conducting online educational demonstrations; and use video to bring your product or service to life.
  • Referral Generation Program. We are in a referral economy where consumers are increasingly relying more heavily on third-party reviews – from friends or online review sites – to make decisions about brand selection. This is a terrific low-cost solution for driving new business.
Thinking about ways to connect with your clients in new ways is important for keeping top-of-mind.  Here's to keeping up with the trends in marketing and technology that can add more value to our cusomters.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Right + Left Brain Marketing

We've all taken the psychology class in college, so understand that there are differences in how people think.  We know right brain personalities are more creative (interprets information intuitively, visually and emotionally), where left brainers are more analytical (logical, rational, sequential, verbal and textual).  Why is this important in marketing?  How a marketer thinks will impact the type of campaign he/she develops.

The emotional part of the brain and the rational part of the brain work together, and it is this commingling of emotions and reasons that marketers need to understand in order to position their brands and build messages for greater success.  For a marketer to succeed, both sides the brain needs to be "exercised" to be effective.

Marketo recently posted an interesting infographic on the differences in how marketers think.  I enjoyed this and wanted to share with you.

Click Right Brain/Left Brain Marketers to see the full graphic.

To read more visit :

Monday, January 16, 2012

Changing the Marketing Mix

2012 is finally here and marketers are using a combination of innovative efforts to impact their target base.  We know that when crafting and executing marketing strategies, we need to keep in mind the changing PR, media and market landscapes and their relationship to human behavior.  With this in mind, new and time-tested marketing initiatives are taking the forefront in this years marketing mix:
Photo from luigi diamanti

Direct mail is making a comeback. We have seen a steady decline in direct efforts in the realty and credit card areas over the last 12 to 18 months. However, effective direct mail (for the right products) will once again take an active place in the marketing mix.  Consumers are being inundated with electronic communications so marketers are trending to use direct mail in strategic ways to increase visibility.

Digital takes new front role in the marketing mix. While direct mail may be making a comeback for targeted efforts, marketers are seeing a big shift happening – a shift that will most likely continue throughout next year. Companies and organizations are now, finally, giving digital marketing channels precedence over traditional, analog media. Of course an integrated marketing approach remains key, but digital comes first, both in strategy and in budget.  Social media will continue to increase in importance, and the use of items such as QR codes will continue to be explored as venues to target digital.

Bundling will increase as marketers get smarter about pre-packaging products and services based on customer needs and problem-solving opportunities.

Video usage among B2B companies will increase, with far more value-added content and fewer boring demos. Cisco predicts that 80% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2015.   If you’re not learning about how to use video to grow your business online, it’s time to get started.  Consider video presentations about your business and services.  Go for quality and differentiate yourself from your competition early in the game.  Video brochures, video newsletters, and regular video communications on your web site will identify your business as progressive and “in touch.”  

 Mobile continues to impact how people interact with companies.  Over the past year, mobile devices have led both technological and marketing innovation. Google states that 79% of smartphone owners use their mobiles to aid in shopping and 74% make a purchase as a result. Smartphones have revolutionised how we interact with content on-the-go and in 2012 the mobile device will continue to play a significant role. In particular, mobile devices could reinvent the remote control for connected TVs.

Inforgraphics is becoming more important in strategy formation.  Infographics is the way we consume information.  Analysis of consumer segments is becoming forefront in creating marketing strategies that are more efficient.

Here's to pushing our efforts forward and becoming more valuable to our organizations.

Other Resources