This is one of those posts that you should bookmark - 16 Google Tools to Improve Marketing Effectiveness - from HubSpot. While the post is addressed to marketers, fee earners in professional service firms will benefit from it as well.
Most readers will likely know a few of the tools listed but certainly not all. Take a look here.
Company Pages are a company’s profile of record on LinkedIn and a powerful way to speak to millions of professionals through word-of-mouth recommendations and trusted testimonials. It’s like a LinkedIn profile for a company.
For LinkedIn members, Company Pages are a great way to research companies you’re interested in, follow them to stay updated, see what kind of people work there, and even review the products and services you use.
For companies, Company Pages present an opportunity to reveal the human side of your company. Provide a peek at the individuals behind your brand and highlight how members use your products. Your Company Page offers tools to bring your brand to life.
Why is using the Company Page benefit important? Company Pages are a great way to brand your company, highlight specific service lines, highlight your professionals, and can be a powerful recruiting tool.
Company Pages contains four tabs:
The Overview tab is basically a "dashboard" of summary information about your company, key employees, and company metrics (you can also add a Twitter feed if your company tweets). You can post job openings in the Career tab. The Products & Services tab allows you to hightlight service lines (10 of which show up on the first page) and further allows you spotlight any of those service lines such that the spotlighted item appears at the top of the page. The Analytics tab tells you how many people have visited your Company Page and compares it to other firms in your industry.
People can also "follow" Company Pages. I follow all our competitors (of whom only a few have taken advantage of the Company Page benefit) as well as some key client companies and referral sources. When updates are made to their Company Page, I get notified.
People can also recommend your company through these Company Pages, just as they would recommend you as an individual.
Updating your Company Page is easy. Just log in and follow the directions. Take a look at Mercer Capital's Company Page for an example (be sure to log into the site to get the full effect).
If you haven't used this tool yet, you should.
As a generally happy person, I was happy to read this: Are Happy People Dumb? by Shawn Anchor.
The real story of happiness is that every person has a range of potential — in terms of intelligence, athletic ability, musicality, creativity, and productivity — and we are more likely to achieve the upper bounds of our brain's potential when we're feeling positive, rather than negative or neutral. ...
In fact, happiness is the single greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy. Only 25% of your job successes are predicted based upon intelligence and technical skills, though we spend most of our education and most companies hire based upon this category. The "silent 75%" of long-term job success is based upon your ability to positively adapt to the world: optimism, social support creation, and viewing stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.
As the song goes ... Don't worry. Be Happy.
Linda Julian, who offers strategic practice development counsel to lawyers and other professionals throughout Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, wrote a smart and very applicable article entitled "Zombie Marketing - How Dead Marketing Ideas Still Walk Among Us" for LawMarketing.com.
This is an article that every professional service firm marketer (and rainmaker) should read. Chances are, you'll recognize your firm and your partners somewhere among her points (and you might even recognize yourself!).
Linda details a few "dead ideas and mindless marketing rituals [that] circulate freely among legal and other professional service firms." If you are a marketer, chances are you have had a partner or two come into your office or cube and share their latest and greatest business development idea - many of which Linda deems to be zombie marketing.
Her points are dead on. One of the things that struck me was her use of the term"random acts of lunch," when talking about the time-honored business development ritual of taking a prospect to lunch. Linda identifies this zombie marketing technique as:
“We really need to take [that client or prospective client] to lunch.” Lunch and other informal, semi-social settings can be great opportunities to build relationships and chew the business fat. Many qualify as zombie marketing because they’re “random acts of lunch” which amount to time squandered by the ill-prepared with the wrong people.
Rules of engagement around lunch vary enormously between sectors, corporations, and according to personnel level within organizations. Frequently, the busy and influential with plenty of spending power either don’t have time for lunch, or don’t want to be courted by prospective professional service suppliers for the price of a nice plate of food. They’d rather do their business, maybe including a quick coffee, and then spend their time with professionals and other folk they’ve come to respect and like as they talk over the deals and matters they’ve worked on and even celebrate successes together. (emphasis mine)
Her point is a good one and one that I've been pondering. Fifteen years ago, even ten years ago, it was pretty easy in my profession to gain an appointment with a prospect or take them to lunch. Over the years, it's gotten much more difficult - for a variety of reasons.
One reason is we have much more competition in our industry today than we had fifteen years ago so there are more of us knocking on their door.
A second, and much more important, reason is people today can't or won't take the time to meet with you unless there is immediate value to them. A recent post by Ian Brodie ("What's Your Step #2?") spoke to this clearly:
A young pastor of a small christian church in Florida found something peculiar about his first parish. The small wooden church could seat about 150 people with two sections divided by a middle aisle.
The new pastor observed that on Sunday mornings, every church member and/or visitor would sit on the right side of the church. If anyone ventured into the pews on the left side, they would be called over to sit on the right side. For Sunday evening services, it was the opposite. Every member and/or visitor would sit in the pews on the left side of the aisle. No exceptions.
This was the first appointment for the young pastor so he didn’t question it immediately. However, after a few weeks, the young man gathered the courage to ask one of the elders about the unusual seating arrangement.
The elder explained that before the church was air-conditioned, everyone would sit on the right side of the church because that allowed them to escape the sun that would stream into the left side of the church in the mornings. In the evening, they moved to the left side to, again, escape the sun.
“When was the church air-conditioned?” asked the pastor. “Oh, I would guess about twenty years ago,” replied the elder.
This story likely resonates with most of us because 1) it’s ridiculous and 2) it’s true and 3) we might be able to recognize a bit of ourselves in those parishioners.
How long have you done what you've always done even if the reason for doing it doesn’t apply anymore? Are you willing to change? Remember Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.
Take a moment now to think about your firm’s systems, your marketing strategy and tactics, and your personal life and ask yourself “is it time to move to the other side of the church?”
Beth Harte from The Harte of Marketing blog has a must-read post for all marketers and professionals: Rethinking the Marketing Mix from the Customer's Perspective.
Her premise is simple: The old model of the Four P's (Product, Place, Price, and Promotion) should be superceded by a customer-centric model known as the Four C's (Customer, Convenience, Cost, and Communications).
Why? Beth sums it up nicely:
"We are all familiar with the marketing mix: Product, Place (i.e. Distribution), Price and Promotion. It is drilled into our heads in college and it is reinforced with corporate structure. The problem with the marketing mix is that it does not consider the customer, it only considers the product. ... With the advent of the computer, Internet and now social media, it is almost impossible to keep one’s marketing head buried in the proverbial sand. Times have changed, customers have gained control and they aren’t going to give it back." (emphasis mine)
Per Beth, the Four C's function as such:
For profesional service firm marketers and the professionals in these firms, think about what this model means for your firm and/or for your practice. You can use these Four C's as a foundational framework to build about your marketing strategy upon.
If you like good photography, clever staging, and a whimsical style (along with two of the cutest kids ever), then you'll like Sisters (Kristen and Kayla - a photo journal of 2 sisters).
Jason Lee, a professional photographer, has been taking clever shots of his two girls for years. Here is a sampling of his whimsical work.
If you like it and are interested in how he does what he does, follow him on Facebook for his "behind the scenes stuff (lighting, setup, before/after shots)."