DO YOU USE TWITTER?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Business Development/Sales Leave a Comment

Recently, a colleague of mine, Larry Bodine of the Law Marketing Portal and Legal Marketing Listserve, wrote to ask me about my use of Twitter.  Here’s what I shared with Larry:

Hi Larry:

Thanks for asking.  I hope you are well. 

I am looking to Twitter to help me communicate what I do, how I think, work, relate and listen….all important to the Myrland Marketing brand.  My main professional focus is helping firms strengthen their relationships with clients so they become more profitable, so I view Twitter as one way to help position myself in the minds of those who choose to “follow” me.  With frequency and time, those who follow me might come to know I am interested in client service via client satisfaction interviews, that I am inquisitive, that I have a passion for learning from others, that I am a serious professional with whom they will enjoy doing business, and that I am a very good listener, all qualities I have built my business and experience on these past 20 years. 

My profile links to my profile on my website, www.myrlandmarketing.com, so those who are at all curious about what I have “tweeted” can click on that link.  The potential strength of that link is that visitors can then read more posts written by me on a variety of topics that have to do with the services I provide my clients.  If someone Tweets about something I have said or done, which Heather Milligan did yesterday when I was “Tweeting” with John Byrne, my website stats showed significant movement.  She, in effect, introduced me to everyone following her Tweets on Twitter.  That meant a lot, so I direct messaged her and said “thank you,” similar to what I would do with any referral or introduction. 

I have also begun following news feeds, as well as some I consider to be thought leaders in business and the profession, such as entrepreneur Guy Kowasaki, Newsweek.com Editor-in-Chief John Byrne, HARO’s Peter Shankman, The Edge Group’s Gerry Riskin, and others.  I choose to do this largely because I like them and want to get to know them better, but also because I want to learn from them, to stay on top of issues I should be aware of so I can be of better service to my clients, and to build relationships with them.  I have replied to Tweets from some of these professionals, and have received responses from them that were directly related to my questions or comments.  It is also my intent to help the people I follow on Twitter if there is ever a way I can, whether it be for personal or professional reasons.  Again, it is all about building relationships with other human beings for a variety of reasons. 

We are in a profession that has everything to do with building relationships.  It is my job to build relationships with people who might be interested in something I have to say about a topic of interest.  Twitter is but one way I can do this.  The lawmarketing listserv is another, posting on my blog is another, attending industry and business events is another, volunteering for civic and business causes is another.  Realizing building relationships can take a while, I feel Twitter can help. 

I don’t know if I answered your question.  If not, please feel free to ask me anything as I will attempt to answer! 

Take care Larry. 

Nancy

ARE MARKETERS SPENDING ENOUGH TIME ON BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND SALES?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Staffing and Recruiting Leave a Comment

Recently, a discussion topic was posted in my LinkedIn group, PM Forum titled:  “Marketers spending insufficient time on the things that matter to their MPs”  

Here is what was posted by Richard Chaplin of PM Forum: “The latest PM Forum Snapshot monthly survey (www.pmforum.co.uk/snapshot) indicated that marketers are not spending nearly as much time as managing partners would like them to spend on the business development and client service activities that both marketers and managing partners see as vital to the commercial success of the firm. Any insights as to why this should be the case?” 

I couldn’t resist adding my perspective to the discussion.  You see, I’ve been on just about every side of the management and marketing professional relationship, and have the ability to empathize with all of those sides.  I thought I might be able to help.   Here’s what I shared.  Let me know what you think. 

“Richard, you pose a very important question. In many cases, marketers are hired to manage a department of people, of projects, and of the needs of attorneys, whose needs are many (as they should be). What then happens is that marketers get bogged down in the day-to-day management function of all of the above, which leaves them unavailable for the amount of time it takes to be as strategic as most of them would love to be.  Some firms hire their marketers as traditional marketers, then expect them to shift to the sales/business development role without taking in to consideration these are very different roles, and take very different skills. Some marketers might not have time, as I suggested above, but some might not be sure where to start. It is imperative that those to whom marketers report take the time to analyze the situation, perhaps with outside help, in order to determine what is needed to get their people from point A to point B. Marketers might need skills training in BD, they might need to staff differently than they are to free up their time, or a host of other reasons they might not be contributing to the BD effort the Management Committee wishes they would. 

Our job and responsibility as managers is to provide the support and the tools necessary for them to be successful on our behalf, rather than wonder what’s wrong with them, being unhappy with their priorities, then forcing them out to make room for the next marketer. Investment in people and the tools they need to be successful is much less expensive than churning through one after another hoping you find the right one.”  My advice to both marketers and managers: 

1)    Marketers-Be assertive about what you need to re-tool, or tool, to perform the BD functions your firms expect today.  If you don’t know where to start, ask for help.  Be honest and let firm management know you are embarking upon a plan to take the firm where it needs to go, and you need their endorsement.  Who can deny your request for help when you have the best strategic interest of the firm at heart?  2)    Managers-Don’t get frustrated before you’ve had the necessary discussions and performed the thoughtful analysis necessary to determine where your marketers are in their careers, where the firm has placed them, what the firm needs to do to help them get to where you want them to be, and to be willing and supportive.     These discussions take time and thought, but they are necessary.  There is a lot brewing in law and other professional services firms regarding sales/business development, so reach out and ask for help if you need to.  Your firm needs these skills, so take the bull by the horns and help perfect them.  Time is of the essence.        

WHAT IS THE NEXT “BIG THING?”

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Client Service and Retention, Marketing Strategy Leave a Comment

I recently had a partner ask me what I thought the next “big thing” is as he wants to make sure his firm stays on the cutting edge.  I shared with him that, although there are many marketing initiatives that need to be paid attention to, ONE of the major developments gaining speed rapidly is Social Media and Networking. 

I recommended to him, and to you, that you add Social Networking to your list of traditional media to consider when implementing your marketing, communication and business plans for 2009 and beyond.  Traditional media have their place, depending on what you are trying to accomplish, and shouldn’t necessarily be thrown out just because Social Media is hot.  It depends on your situation.

I shared with him that I think he should create strategy around how to accomplish firm goals through all media available, and to pay attention to the benefits Social Media can add to the conversation we all attempt to have with our potential/clients. 

One of our goals as marketers and business owners is to find ways to engage and interact with our clients and potential clients in order to build and cement our relationships with them.  Even if we think our target audience isn’t spending time using social media, we might be wrong.  It can’t hurt to be there before they get there, then show them the way.  To be viewed as a resource for the unknown, or the intimidating, is just one more way you can reinforce your brand as a trusted advisor. 

Sure, it can be intimidating.  To get started, you could pick at least one practice, industry group, department, service or studio, and add a Social Networking strategy to your marketing and business plan for 2009, if not sooner.  As you are ready, add it to other areas.  Just don’t put it off because you are afraid of it.  Ask for help. 

Twitter, for example, is one of the fastest growing applications out there.  I invite you to “follow” me on Twitter www.twitter.com/nancymyrland.  If you don’t know about Twitter yet, go to www.twitter.com and set up your account in a few seconds.  You not only have the opportunity to create connections with your target audience and friends, but you will also find multiple ways to expand your knowledge by following thought leaders around the globe. 

Twitter, as well as LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook and other applications, creates the perfect opportunity to update clients at a moment’s notice if they care about a subject with which you are connected.  Thus, reporting on legislative issues, new laws, changes in policy, events, personalities, etc., often throughout the day would be one way to engage potential/clients. 

Social media itself is nothing without sound strategy behind it, the same as video, radio, direct mail, podcasting and other marketing media are nothing without good content and execution behind them.  They are all simply means of sending a message to our intended audiences.  The difference with social media is the ability to interact instantly with those we care about, and who have chosen to care about us, and for them to provide feedback if they so chose.  This makes for a pretty powerful connection.

IT’S BEEN AN INTERESTING SUMMER….

Nancy Myrland All Posts Leave a Comment

In case you noticed, I haven’t posted in quite some time.  I’ll explain….

On June 29th, my husband had a stroke caused by a blood clot in a vein in the left side of his brain.  This was completely unexpected as he had none of the lifestyle or health markers that can lead to stroke.  It remains a mystery to doctors and to us as all tests were negative.

I was, as you would expect, with him night and day in the hospital for most of June, then in outpatient rehab most of July.  I am happy to say he is making a remarkable recovery.  He initially had significant damage to his right side.  If you saw him today, you would never know he had a stroke.  We have been Blessed beyond belief because we know this could have been much worse.  We saw many in the hospital whose lives will never be the same because of head trauma.  John has a few minor issues left with his right hand, but we are hopeful those will heal also.  We have been overwhelmed with an enormous amount of love and prayer from family, friends, and friends of friends who we don’t even know.

For the majority of the past month, I have been 3 hours north of Indianapolis in South Bend, Indiana with my Mom, who had heart surgery about three weeks ago.  Out of respect for her privacy, I will just tell you she is definitely improving.  She has miles to go, but we remain hopeful and thankful for her and her progress.

There you have the reasons I have been away from my website/blog these past few months.  Being self-employed, I need to begin focusing on work issues again very soon, so I plan on jumping back in during the next few weeks.  I appreciate the support we have been given from many of you during this time, and certainly treasure the grace my clients have shown as well.  Without all of you, we wouldn’t have such a positive story to tell.

I’m here if you need me, or if you have any questions at all.

Nancy

HAVING TROUBLE WITH YOUR MARKETING PLAN?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Business Development/Sales, Marketing Strategy Leave a Comment

You know you need one.  One what?  A marketing plan, of course!

As I’ve said many times…Random Acts of Kindness are wonderful; Random Acts of Marketing are not.  A carefully crafted marketing plan will help you avoid the aimless expenditure of valuable marketing dollars, and will provide the focus you need to grow and accomplish the goals you have in mind.

I was reminded of this again today when a question was posed from a marketer who was in a firm where no one was interested in, nor had time to, write a marketing plan.  She asked for advice.

Here is what I would do if you need help, or if you need a jump start to get that marketing plan written:

The people in your firm/company are such busy people, and many aren’t interested in, or excited about, marketing.  Some will be, and those will become your marketing champions who will help you usher in a new era of marketing and business development.  When you find them, keep them very, very close.

Create a list of strategic marketing questions that will help you write the marketing plan.  Schedule one-hour (if you can get it) meetings with each person in your firm.  If there are too many, then make sure you visit firm management, group or brand leaders, and representatives from every level of the firm.  This is not only helpful for gathering intelligence for the marketing plan, but it will also help you gain respect and firm footing as you learn as much as possible about their individual practices or responsibilities, their needs, goals, how they think the firm has marketed in the past, what they think worked, didn’t work, what they think should be done, who their target clients are, etc.

Then take this information, which will be overwhelming for you so get help transcribing your notes (or type them during the interview so your work is minimized), and summarize answers to each question.

Then create your Marketing Strike Force who will help you from this point on to create the firm’s marketing plan.  If you can only get them to meet for short amounts of time, schedule Marketing Action Sessions where you present the findings to each question, one-by-one, to this group who, by the way, you and your leadership have agreed will be a good marketing team.  If you do it with this team, with their support, vs. writing it all yourself, your chances for success will be much greater.  It becomes the firm’s plan, not just yours.  It creates a sense of ownership.

If you don’t have representatives from all areas of the firm at every level on your Strike Force, then recruit a few to round out your team, and to make sure all perspectives are represented.  Again, you are doing whatever you can now to make sure this process succeeds, as well as creating brand advocates who will help you execute the plan.

Let all in the firm know this group is the group that is going to be serving them by working on the firm’s marketing plan together, and if they are interested in joining you, you would love to have them.

Meet with this group and start to discuss and reach agreement on what the firm’s answers to each question need to be.  These will be healthy discussions.  Schedule these marketing action sessions until you have hammered out all components of your marketing plan.  Help your group feel good about the progress you and they are making.  Reward them along the way by doing things that help them to feel like a leadership team, which they are!   If you need help outside the firm, ask for it.  If you don’t, that’s great.

The important thing is that you get started soon so you can contribute to the strategic success of the firm sooner than later.

Good luck!

STAFFING A MARKETING DEPARTMENT

Nancy Myrland Staffing and Recruiting Leave a Comment

On a marketing listserve of which I am an active member www.lawmarketing.com, a question was posted today that asked how an administrator in a firm should go about staffing a marketing function.

Here’s where to start:

I advise firms that they should interview, or survey, professionals in the firm who will be affected by the addition of marketing personnel, either in-house or outsourced.  That pretty much means everyone!  If the firm is too large to interview everyone, they can opt to outsource that function to an independent marketing advisor.  If that effort is still too large, then they should interview those in management, the practice or industry group leaders, and anyone else who will be considered the “internal client” of this marketing person, or persons.

You need to know now what their expectations are, what they expect will happen as a result of having dedicated marketing assistance, what it will look like a year or two from now if this hire is successful, and what they would like to see them handle on a daily basis.  This is the first thing I would do if I was advising a firm on structuring a marketing effort.

This is imperative because there are many different needs for marketing assistance within a firm.  If the administrator knows up front what the expectations are, the discussion can then take place that will help narrow and define what realistic expectations are before the search begins, how the job description is crafted, what needs to be discussed during interviews, and how this person will be monitored and reviewed.

The administrator is doing him/herself a favor, not to mention the professionals and the marketer if all of this is completed up front.  If not, they are asking for many days and years of frustration, misunderstanding and endless searches to replace the marketer when it is deemed a bad fit and/or a bad hire on the administrator’s part.

REFERRAL RECOGNITION PROGRAM

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Client Service and Retention, Marketing Strategy, Referral Recognition 2 Comments

Good Monday Morning!

Let’s talk about referrals.  Few things in business are more satisfying than receiving a referral from a current or past client, a friend or a colleague.  How do we make sure we keep referrals coming?

There are many ways, but I will tackle a couple here today:

First, make sure you are doing great work.  Be someone who is easy to refer.  Ask yourself if you would want to refer you if you were the recipient of your work.

Second, let your contacts know your business relies on referrals, and that if they find it appropriate to mention you to others in need, you would be most appreciative.  People like to help people they like.  It makes them feel good to contribute to your success.

Third, the very day you find out you’ve been referred, call or email the generous person who did so and let them know how appreciative you are, and that you will let them know what happens.

Fourth, within two days, send whatever your Level One Referral Recognition gift is to that person with a personal note.  It could be a small box of fabulous cookies, a $10 Starbucks card (I’ve been the recipient of both and loved the surprise!), something you make, anything that is genuine and heartfelt.

Fifth, when you schedule a meeting with this person, call or email the referrer and let them know you are planning on talking to this person at such-and-such time, and that you will continue to keep them updated.  Thank them again.

Sixth, if this referral turns in to business, send your Level Two Referral Recognition gift to the referrer.  This should definitely be larger and more valuable than Level One so the message is clear.  Write a gracious note that lets that person know exactly what happened.  Don’t get in to price and confidential details that are between you and the new client, but let them know the general nature of the business you will be conducting.

Seventh, once or twice a year, create a card (have your designer, printer, www.48hourprint.com or www.vistaprint.com design and print them) that is specifically worded to your referral sources and how thankful you are for them, how much your business thrives because of them, etc., and send to all your referral sources EVEN if you haven’t received one from a particular source in a long time.  Keep your name and need in front of them, and help them remember why they sent business to you in the first place.

Again, there are many ways we can build a Referral Recognition Program, but these seven should put you well on your way to building and nurturing referrals for years to come.

On a personal note, it’s Mother’s Day week.  I know the day isn’t until this Sunday, but why don’t you join me and let your Mom, or a Mom of your choice, know how much you care about them every day between now and Sunday?!  You know they deserve it, and they will be delighted and touched to hear from you.  Send flowers, make a phone call, send an email, a card, a Starbucks card, cookies, deliver a box of candy, a candle, anything!  Just do it while you have the chance, and make sure you let them know how you feel.

I love my Mom dearly, and don’t know what I would do without her.  I can’t wait to see her this weekend when I go “home,” which is anywhere she happens to be.  Her name is Ginny Leyes, and she owns a huge piece of my heart.

Good luck with your referrals!

Nancy

http://twitter.com/nancymyrland

HOW TO MARKET IN A STRAINED ECONOMY

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Business Development/Sales, Client Service and Retention, Marketing Strategy, Training in Client Service and Business Development/Sal Leave a Comment

This morning, marketing and business development consultant Jim Hassett asked “When the economy goes down, should marketing spending go up?”

Here are my thoughts:

It depends on how much firms are currently spending on marketing.

If they have undertaken a careful marketing planning process that is focused on the clients they have, the clients they want, what messages are appropriate to tell each of these groups, if they have determined what needs these two groups have, what their competitors’ strengths and weaknesses are, where and how they should reach them, etc., and have built a budget and a plan around all of these factors, then they need to stay the course, but make sure follow-up and accountability to the components of this plan are being paid attention to…with laser-like focus.

If firms are committing what I would call “random acts of marketing,” and feel like they are faltering with no apparent results, then they might need to visit all of the above, as well as their marketing budget, and ramp it up immediately.

A down economy, as well as a good one, is a perfect time to focus on marketing, as well as what services you offer your clients.  Their needs might be changing too.  The difference with a down economy is that everyone at the firm might not be working as much as they could or should, so this might be the perfect time to get their attention, and to coach and lead everyone in to an active marketing and business development mindset.

If you like the results you are achieving, then stay the course, but with more passion and diligence than ever before.  If you don’t, then something needs to change.  It might be your marketing budget, it might be your marketing tactics, it might be your marketing and business development behavior, or any of a number of other changes.

One thing I would definitely change would be to help your clients understand that you understand exactly what they are going through in this economy.  If you don’t know what they are going through, or exactly how it has impacted their business, then this is the perfect time to ask, or have someone else go out and ask, them what they are going through.  Client service can shine during this time, so take advantage of it, and become the best trusted and caring advisors possible.

Nancy

TAKE FIVE!

Nancy Myrland Client Service and Retention Leave a Comment

One of the most effective ways to build and retain client loyalty, not to mention the BEST way to stay in touch with what is on your clients’ minds, is to get out of the office and go visit them. 

If you do nothing else in your marketing action plan, commit to doing this:  Call 5 clients TODAY AND TOMORROW and invite them to breakfast, to lunch, to come over to their office, to dinner, to your suite, whatever you have at your disposal, but make it perfectly clear that all you want to do is to get together and catch up with what is going on in their office, in their world, and in their company or firm.  Make sure they know this is about them, not about you, and that you won’t charge them for this time.   When you get together, do not ask for business, do not pitch your services, just ask questions and listen.  When you are finished, thank them for the opportunity, and even take a few minutes to write them a thank you note for sharing their busy time with you. 

If you do this already, please reply and share your stories with us.  If you start doing this today, reply and let us know how it goes!

Nancy

PERSISTENCE

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Training in Client Service and Business Development/Sal 1 Comment

Hello Everyone:

I heard a great message this morning about persistence, about pressing on, or as Lewis & Clark wrote in their journals, “proceeding on” in their journey to discover new lands, people and ways of life and living.

Whether you are a marketer faced with helping your firm create brilliant strategy, a lawyer, architect, developer, financial consultant or anyone who is faced with helping clients solve problems, or a service provider, consultant or partner who helps the above do what they do best, I thought the following might be nice for you to keep in mind this week as you do your best to Press On.

From the 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, who was admitted to the bar in 1897, the following:

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. —-Calvin Coolidge

As you go about your business this week, rely on your talent, your intellect and your genius, but when you find yourself challenged, frustrated or tired for whatever reason, just remember that Determination and Persistence, and Pressing On, will help you find success when the rest is in short supply.

Have a good week everyone.

My best to each of you.

Nancy