The Better Alternative to a Marketing Plan

Are you about Action, or just talking?
Are you about Action, or just talking?

So I recently explained my general disdain for the marketing plan.  While doing so I promised that I would explain my thoughts on the preferred alternative – so here it is.

The starting point is that I am quite stupid.  It takes a lot to admit that, but I find it helps to say it out aloud – perhaps, wherever you are, you can try it now and see how you feel?  Don’t worry about the other people on the bus, they should be minding their own business anyway…

As a result of my restricted intellect I am forced to come up with strategies which require little complex thought on my part.  Today I thought I’d share it with you.  Three parts, of course, because lists are awesome.

First – Decide What Marketing Activity to Do Next

As I have lamented on a number of occasions, lawyers are a little prone to perfectionism.  A consequence is that we end up planning things to within an inch of their lives, but rarely do we actually accomplish anything once we have set up the gigantic task ahead of us.

As a result, my recommendation is that rather than map out a year long strategy of coffees, lunches, seminars, networking functions and other tasks – just decide what to do next.

The immediate benefit here is that you need only remember one thing.  In fact, you probably don’t even need to destroy a small proportion of a tree and write it down – you can almost certainly remember it.

So decide what to do next.  There are lots of things you can be doing – building networks, writing articles, meeting people for coffee.  Don’t get paralysed by deciding on the ideal things to do – just pick one.

There is an obvious exception here – if you need money, or you need to convince someone to include it in the firm’s budget – a slightly longer term approach is needed otherwise you’ll find the firm credit card might not be available.

For most young lawyers though – just decide what’s next.

Second – Do the Marketing Activity you Decided to Do

Complex, isn’t it?

In step one you decided on a thing to do.

Step 2 is doing it.

So do it.  Do it now.  If now is unavailable, arrange to do it tomorrow, but definitely within 1 week of deciding what it should be.  Anything longer than a week and you’re doing that thing where planning stuff takes the place of doing stuff.

If you need to pivot then do it – person X isn’t available?  Then call person Y instead.

Third – If the Thing you Did was a good Thing – do it again

So let’s say you arranged a coffee with someone.  And it went really well.

You feel like you have now mastered the art of coffee, and want to do it again.

You have two options:

1) Have coffee with the same person again.  This is fine, but don’t overload unless there’s merit in continuing to share caffeine with this particular person.  You can cross from “friendly neighbourhood lawyer” to “irritating person who always asks me for coffee” pretty easily – try not to.

2) Do the same thing with a different person.  Then, after you’ve been through a few people, circle back to person one.

Four (yes I know it’s a three step plan) – Layer Up

This is where the magic happens.

You see, as you get in the habit of doing one thing at a time, what you’re really doing is making that thing easier to do.  As a result, arranging a coffee and having it will take little to no effort on your part, and you can start to add new strategies in, without stopping the first one.

Over time, you’ll become a networking and marketing machine, and everyone will you at you and go “wow that person is so awesome – however do they do it?” – you will turn and say with a wry smile – Tips for Lawyers!

Happy Lawyering!

  • I couldn’t agree more that the biggest thing holding attorneys back is their inability to “just do it.”

    I deal with attorneys all the time that know what they need to do and yet, while they claim they have few clients, they also don’t accomplish any of the things they need to do. Some of this is because they spend so much time sitting around planning/thinking about what needs to be done that nothing actually gets accomplished. I’m the first to admit that I’m unhappy with virtually every post we put on our blog – we don’t put the posts up because they’re “done” or “ready.” We put them up because we post at 8am and when that time hits it’s going up as is. Lawyers who grasp that concept will be light years ahead of their competition.

    Also, I’ve dealt with several attorneys who have been debating which web/seo company to use for 6-9 months. Pick one, make a decision, and just go with it.

    Thanks for another great post Chris.

  • Very intrigued by your site. We presented a CLE program on Lawyer stress, practice management, and ethics for the law societies in 6 Australisn states in March. Would be interested to know more about what you are doing and see if there are ways we can partner up, towards our mutual goals and for our mutual benefit.

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