Article - How to Fix Your Marketing Predicament!

 

How to fix your marketing predicament!

By Kevin W. Brown, M.B.A.

We see it virtually every week — a law firm, accounting firm or other professional services firm comes to Kevin Brown Marketing & Consultingwith one or problems that they created.  Typically, the firm was “too busy to market,” trying to “save money” by doing it themselves, or didn’t want to invest in marketing until their situation became dire.  Fortunately, we can usually help the firm to not only turn their situation around but be well-positioned for future success.

Here is a list of some of the most common mistakes that cause marketing predicaments, along with recommendations for how to correct the error: 

1.       Failure to recognize that marketing is your “lifeline.”  Is your approach “We can’t afford to do any marketing right now”?  Really?  Without marketing, you don’t have revenue.  Make the time to do it regularly.  Cut costs in other areas that aren’t as critical to the future of your firm.  I’ve often said that my firm encounters two types of clients: those who say they “can’t afford to market” and those who say they “can’t afford NOT to market.”  We tend to work with the latter group, who realize that if they don’t market their firms, they may very well shrink or dissolve.  Make a commitment to market your firm and you will be in a much better position to grow and prosper.

2.      Home-made marketing plans.  Having the drive to do things yourself is admirable — but in marketing it can be extremely costly.  Think of all the money that is wasted by following an ill-conceived  marketing plan – advertising in publications that don’t make sense, internet marketing that brings no results or unwanted inquiries, etc.  On the other hand, a professionally-prepared Strategic Marketing Plan is a relatively cheap investment.  For example, it can cost only the price of one or two advertisements! 

3.      Start-and-stop marketing.  Marketing pro­grams should be consistent, year-round efforts because “start and stop” marketing always bring mixed results.  It is crucial to have consistent implementation, since this will maximize your efficiency and effectiveness.  It is also easier to rate the productiveness of an activity if it is carried through to completion.   However, many firms don’t have the internal resources to manage and implement their marketing efforts, which is why we offer our Part-Time Director of Marketing service.

4.      Lack of a well-rounded marketing program.  Many firms lack a unified, cohesive, well-planned effort.  For example, your firm may be relying solely on referral sources or your website to generate the majority of new business. An effective program encompasses many aspects of marketing.  The entire marketing process should be considered with a marketing professional before determining the appropriate combination of methods to utilize.  Then, those marketing components that are selected needed to be effectively managed on a consistent basis.

5.      Poor branding and differentiation.  You work in a crowded marketplace of competitors offering similar services.  As such, it is important to figure out how to make your firm distinctive.  Don’t make the mistake of “me, too” marketing.  Instead, Kevin Brown Marketing & Consulting can develop a campaign to effectively communicate your “unique selling points” to your targeted markets.

6.   An ineffective internet presence.  Many firms aren’t happy with their website or other internet marketing efforts but they really don’t know how to fix it.  Are you embarrassed to tell your contacts to visit your website?  Even if it looks and reads well, is your website integrated with other internet marketing tools to maximize your response rate?  Kevin Brown Marketing & Consulting can perform a “Website & Internet Marketing Audit” to help identify your issues, and then we can work with you to get your internet marketing performing optimally!

7.      Lack of training and ongoing coaching in Business Development.  Most professionals are great in doing their job (e.g., providing legal services as an attorney) but few know how to effectively and consistently bring in new business.  That isn’t unexpected, since most don’t have a background in sales.  These professionals are very smart, so they just need the tools to help them be successful in business development.  It is also amazing how many great sales opportunities are wasted by a lack of training and coaching in business development.   We’ve found that such training can dramatically increase BD opportunities and improve the closure rate. 

8.      Hiring a PR firm or advertising agency – and expecting them to do more.  Simply put, public relations and advertising are subsets of marketing, so they are just a small part of what a full-service marketing firm can offer.  So, hiring a PR firm or ad agency, by its nature, limits your firm’s ability to market itself.   Further confusing matters, these firms are now saying that they can do more than their capabilities allow, since their traditional services are not as in high demand.  Learn why.

9.      Working with consultants that don’t understand how to market your firm effectively.  Does it make any sense to hire a PR or advertising agency with zero or limited experience in marketing a law or CPA firm?  Marketing a profession is far different than a product or other services business.  Don’t waste money by hiring someone who has to learn on your investment.  Learn why.

10.    Relying on non-marketing personnel.   It’s great that you have a fantastic administrator or secretary that can practically conquer the world.  But don’t make the mistake of having him/her handle your marketing; unfortunately, this happens all too often!  Furthermore, we’ve found that most administrators do NOT want to handle marketing at all; they just do it because they have to as part of the many “hats they wear.”  Ask yourself: Would you have the same person draft your will?  Prepare and file your taxes?  Manage your investments?  If not, then why have a non-marketing person handle what is the most crucial aspect of your practice, outside of client service and finance?  Instead, hire a firm headed by an M.B.A. in Marketing with decades of experience.   Seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?  The good news for you is that some of your competitors are having the administrator do their marketing, so you’ll be in much better shape in no time when you start doing it the right way!

If you need assistance in solving your firm’s marketing problems, contact us for further information.

About the author:
Kevin W. Brown, M.B.A. has worked with professional services firms for over 25 years.His firm, Kevin Brown Marketing & Consulting, is a full-service marketing and management consulting firm thatspecializes in serving lawyers, CPAs and other professional services firms. The firm is also a qualified advertising agency and public relations firm. Phone: (714) 965-1556. Website: www.KevinBrownMarketing.com .

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