Article of the Month

 

How to Keep Your “Marketing” New Year’s Resolutions

By Kevin W. Brown, M.B.A.
Copyright 2012

As with many other good intentions, marketing is often at the top of the list for partners as they start the New Year, yet all too often those goals aren’t met.    

What are some specific steps to help your firm achieve marketing success in 2012? What are practical steps to keep your resolutions for the entire year ahead? 

Get the right people to do it. 
Firms that fail in their marketing typically allocate insufficient resources to support it.  They also fail to use marketing professionals but instead often rely upon staff who only dabble in marketing.  Lawyers, CPAs and other professionals should seek the advice of professionals who are educated and trained specifically in marketing.  At Kevin Brown Marketing & Consulting, we assist clients through our unique “Part-Time Director of Marketing”TM program.

Make it a priority!
Make a commitment to market your firm and you will be in a much better position to “weather the storm” of economic challenges.  I’ve often said that my firm encounters two types of clients in a recession: 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.

Have a plan.
Without strategy and planning it is highly unlikely that your practice will achieve your goals.  This is true whether your goals involve a full-fledged, multi-faceted marketing program or a project such as over-hauling your website.  Establishing a plan gives you the foundation that is needed to guide your decisions.  It provides a “big picture” perspective of how all the individual activities are coordinated to achieve the desired result.  Combined with your drive, desire and core competencies, you will now be in a much stronger position for success.

There is an old adage of “How will you know if your ship is off course unless you first charted a course and then tracked its progress?”  The same concept applies to marketing.  Many firms lack clear objectives, resulting in frustration and failure.  Your firm needs well-defined objectives that are realistic and achievable.  A qualified marketing consultant will be able to help you develop these objectives.

Be held accountable.
As mentioned above, a Director of Marketing or consultant on retainer can be a very successful tool to help with firm-wide marketing efforts.  This professional can keep tabs on all activities and guide the firm to marketing success.  If the marketing goals are solely business development oriented, a personal BD coach can help individuals to improve their success in obtaining new business.

Make a financial commitment.
Firms that waver in their marketing success often lack specific allocations in their budgets for various marketing programs (i.e., marketing budgets may be considered as “discretionary” items, available for reduction when financial difficulties arise).  This “on again, off again” approach is devastating to the effectiveness of any marketing program.  Instead, establish an appropriate marketing budget and stick with it.

Be consistent.
Busy professionals who don’t have marketing firms on retainer (or full-time marketing staff) often find themselves being very inconsistent in marketing, only doing it when they have time and think about it.  Marketing programs shouldn’t be initiated only when you need a sales boost or have extra funds.  Instead, your firm should market year-round, even when sales are adequate. 

Track results.
With a unified, cohesive, well-planned effort, you are in a much better position to establish measures to track your progress and results.  This will help you to make adjustments along the way and to be more successful over the long-term.  You’ll be able to see where your efforts really paid off and where you need to make adjustments.  Since it is often hard to exactly pinpoint how new business opportunities arose, tracking the results of different efforts will help your marketing management personnel to tie together the different “links in the chain” to see how a new client was obtained.

How We Make a Difference.
At Kevin Brown Marketing & Consulting, we actively help clients through each of the above steps.  If you need assistance in targeting markets, selecting the right marketing methods, and developing productive strategies, call us for further information on our services.

About the author: Kevin W. Brown, M.B.A. has worked with professional services firms for over 20 years.  His firm, Kevin Brown Marketing & Consulting, is a full-service marketing and management consulting firm that  specializes 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 .