Marketing directors of law firms

junio 26th, 2012

(changing all)

By Larry Smith

The definition of real power is always elusive. For a marketing professional, it is particularly elusive in the context of a law firm. First, the environment is flat, and your credibility rating may be A-plus with one owner-operator, and F-minus with another.

Second, most Marketing Directors, including the recently empowered breed of “Chief Marketing Officers,” are not lawyers. No matter how “business-like” law firms become, it will still be a challenge for non-lawyers to effect their own agendas amid debate (read: bureaucracy) among the partners.

Of course, it can be done. Non-lawyers can rise to positions of formidable authority, as the laic business managers at some mighty firms – Earle Yaffa at Skadden is the prototypical example – have proven over the past twenty-five years.

For marketers, the obvious question is how.

Power: Defining It, Getting It

The “how” for the COOs has everything to do with demonstrable value. When partners see what a real business manager delivers at every level of finance and operations, they know it goes right to the bottom line. For those “real businesspersons,” it’s then just a short jump to a first chair at the strategic planning table.

Marketers often have a tougher time, because the fruits of their labor are not immediately tangible or quantifiable. Even when a marketing initiative is palpably successful, it may not be possible to correlate the effort with specific revenue.

So the next obvious question becomes, how can marketing professionals demonstrate their own value? The answer lies in communicating the value of marketing itself. It is by showing that the value of marketing for every partner is defined – not by immediate ROI in dollars – but by what it allows them, as lawyers, to do for their clients.

By redefining the value of marketing in terms of client relations, you redefine your value. You must speak the language of client service, not the language of advertising. If you make yourself a hero on the critical client end, your personal credibility, and the credibility of the marketing program itself, increases exponentially.

Here’s what you tell your partners…

Value: Defining It, Delivering It

Superior marketing and selling occur when the buyer is better off because of the experience, regardless of whether the seller even makes a sale. Often, in these pages, in-house counsel say that the marketing they like best is a good substantive seminar where they get to learn something about the law that they can take back to their offices and put to good use.

Every effort to sell the marketing program internally should begin with just such a specific example of how partners can win clients and influence everybody. Power for the law firm marketer is that he or she then becomes a kind of arbiter of value.

“Yes, let’s pursue this initiative because it delivers real value to our end-users.”

“No, let’s not waste our time on that initiative because all it does is talk about us.”

With this value-based touchstone in mind, let’s take a look at two major events in the recent history of law firm marketing and how they affect the in-house client.

Don’t ‘Just Do It’

The first is branding.

In manufacturing, a brand is integrity-based to the extent that it guarantees the consistent quality of the product, no matter where it’s purchased, and no matter who purchases it. A Sony TV operates the same in Singapore as it does in Duluth. But no major law firm can make that claim nor should it try. There are, perforce, differences in style and quality within the organization. In fact, a law firm’s deliverables ought to vary from lawyer to lawyer because human beings are involved, and human beings behave differently no matter what institutional standards they’ve loyally signed on to.

Quality may be equal, but personal styles still vary because the professional services require individualized approaches to widely different client needs. In a dark moment for the client, a lawyer or consultant will apply his or her own personality and instincts to the situation, not a scripted or formally defined “Brobeck approach” or “KPMG approach” or even “McKinsey approach.”

The critical message for marketing directors to deliver the partnership is that branding does not really bring any value to the buyer except a certain easy identifiability, which doesn’t really tell the buyer much about the firm’s deliverables. Nor, certainly, does branding provide substantive legal help to a client or prospect. In-house buyers benefit more from a seminar on Title VII that costs $5,000 to produce than they possibly can from a $7 million initiative replete with televised bells, whistles, and logos.

Excise the Seller

Another “event” in the development of law firm marketing and sales strategies provides a fundamental contrast. We’re talking about the “sales training” instruction that consultants have provided law firms for the past decade-and-a-half. The approach may vary from sales trainer to sales trainer, but there’s a significant link among the ones who have made tangible contributions to the legal profession.

It is an approach to selling that affords corporate buyers—not just useful legal information in a seminar or newsletter that they can take apply to an existing legal problem—but a whole consultative process designed to help them better define their business problems as well as their legal problems.

Because the dialogue helps crystallize what the buyers need, both for their companies and themselves, the experience is one that prospective clients will want to have. It’s in their own self-interest to participate, not simply a favor to the law firm or whoever might have referred the law firm.

With such selling, the seller ceases to exist, except as a sounding board for the prospective buyer to explore options and solutions. At most, the seller is auditioning for the role of counselor, providing free help in order to win the right to charge money for it in the near future. And, if the lawyer doesn’t “get the part,” the selling process that’s been instigated, and the sensibility that develops on the seller’s end, will inevitably lead to success in other consultations with other buyers.

Such sales training thus feeds into the Marketing Director’s agenda on two fronts.

First, it is one more “value” message about client relations and client service that, to reinforce their own value, marketing directors must deliver to their partners.

Second, it makes the value concept a reality by actually training those partners to deliver it on a 24/7 basis.

Selling services

junio 26th, 2012

(change 100%)

Why Clients Buy Your Services: It Isn’t Always What You Think

Bruce W. Marcus By Bruce W. Marcus, Contributing Editor

Despite thousands of dollars spent on research about why people choose one professional service firm over another, we still know remarkably little. Professional services are, to a large extent, too amorphous to respond to simple motivation, but there are some reasonable surmises that can be made based on both logic and experience.

Unfortunately, the many home-grown surveys done by law and accounting firms don’t go deeply enough into motivations to fully understand how people or firms choose one professional firm over another. Part of the problem resides in the fact that professional services marketing rarely moves people to act immediately, and so the purchase decision is often too distant from the marketing effort—unlike product marketing.

Also part of the problem is that the reasons buyers need or want legal or accounting services are variable and diverse. To a large degree, many individuals—and many companies—make retaining decisions for irrational reasons, such as personal relationships or word-of-mouth recommendations. In many cases, decisions are made based on reputation or name recognition. Except for larger firms that have either in-house staffs or long-standing relationships with lawyers or accountants, a very large part of the market doesn’t have the least idea about how to qualify the professionals they hire. As discouraging as that may sound, it tells us a great deal about how to formulate the elements of a marketing program.

Surveys, moreover, consistently show that how professionals think their clients view their performance and what clients actually think are usually miles apart.

In other words, experience or not, we know far less than we should know. And so we’re back to surmises and objectives.

In the light of what we do know, and considering the singular nature of marketing professional services (as compared, for example, to product marketing), what works? Or more specifically, what seems to work?

Because a professional services marketing program must do more than accumulate clients, and because it must function in a dynamic world that’s constantly in flux, an effective marketing program can’t be a static list of activities that use a static list of marketing tools. It must have clear objectives that are flexible enough to accommodate the dynamic nature of the market. It must focus on specific aspects of a practice, predicated on the distinctive needs of each aspect of the prospective clientele. For example, a marketing program to attract high-asset individuals is different from one to attract corporations. A program to attract real estate developers is different than one to attract builders.

And while it’s commonly assumed that the idea is to sell the firm, experience shows that marketing professional services works best when it focuses on individual market segments. A program that does that well shows it has a firm capable in all its parts. Obviously, then, a clear understanding of each market served is essential.

In other words, no one size marketing program fits all. How, then, recognizing the foregoing differences, can marketing programs be devised that are focused, effective, and competitive?

The answer resides in formulating objectives for each marketing program based on the distinctive characteristics of each market. It helps immeasurably.

Name recognition. Except for corporations and very large or national companies (whose in-house lawyers make the buying decisions), people tend to buy names they recognize. Establishing name recognition is easy. Simply inundate the market with your firm’s name. An ad campaign that says little more than “Smith & Dale is a law firm. We do good work” and says it over and over again, will give you name recognition, but little more. It helps, but it’s not everything.
Reputation. If your firm has a reputation for resolving accounting or legal problems, or for service, or for not overcharging, or for anything good, it goes to building trust—which is an essential element in professional services and in retaining professionals.
Specialty. If your firm is known for a specialty—estate planning, labor relations, cash flow management, etc. —it’s a major factor in being considered by a prospective client.
Expertise. A significant reason you are asked to propose is that your reputation is founded on demonstrable expertise. This is accomplished by such activities as writing articles, sharing information via social media, speaking at events, participating in seminars, public relations, and other such devices.
Networking. In the old days, networking was done on the golf course or at the country club. Today, it’s done by planned participation in organizations in the fields served by your prospective clients.
Influentials. In both accounting and law, there are always people from other professions or trades who are in a position to recommend you. Not just lawyers who recommend accountants or vice-versa, but bankers, business leaders, relatives, and friends. A client once told me that if he could take a banker to lunch once a week, he’d double his practice in a year. A colleague asked, “But what do I talk about? Our firm?” No, you talk about his business and clients, and you listen. And if you listen carefully, you’re going to hear something to which you can say, “We can help with that. Can you arrange an appointment?” It works.
Client referrals and word of mouth. Clients who are particularly satisfied with your work will enthusiastically recommend you to other prospective clients. Your clients may have to be prompted, but it’s worth the effort. Word of mouth (now called by the peculiar name, viral marketing—more jargon), in which people tell one another about your virtues, is a marvelous concept, but it’s difficult to generate. You have to do something worth talking about (my accountant saved me thousands of dollars, etc. …).
Serendipity. Or luck is more like it. A lawyer for a former client of mine claimed that he brought in clients by hanging out in a bar and conversing with strangers. And he did both. Everybody has a story, and if you’re lucky, and listen, and play it right, you can do it, too. However, while serendipity is great, you can’t build much of a practice on it.
Practice development. At some time in every marketing campaign, the name recognition, reputation, and networking come to a point at which the prospect has to agree to start Monday. The prospect must be sold. A request for a proposal may have to be answered. The prospect may be considering other of your competitors. This goes well beyond the skills of name recognition and reputation building, which is why the specialty of practice development evolved.

Because a professional services marketing program must do more than accumulate clients, and because it must function in a dynamic world that’s constantly in flux, an effective marketing program can’t be a static list of activities that use a static list of marketing tools. It must have clear objectives that are flexible enough to accommodate the dynamic nature of the market. It must focus on specific aspects of a practice, predicated on the distinctive needs of each aspect of the prospective clientele. For example, a marketing program to attract high-asset individuals is different from one to attract corporations. A program to attract real estate developers is different than one to attract builders.

And while it’s commonly assumed that the idea is to sell the firm, experience shows that marketing professional services works best when it focuses on individual market segments. A program that does that well shows it has a firm capable in all its parts. Obviously, then, a clear understanding of each market served is essential.

In other words, no one size marketing program fits all. How, then, recognizing the foregoing differences, can marketing programs be devised that are focused, effective, and competitive?

The answer resides in formulating objectives for each marketing program based on the distinctive characteristics of each market. It helps immeasurably.

>> Did you find this article helpful? Vote for it in RainToday’s Readers’ Choice Award for May 16.

Bruce W. Marcus is a contributing editor for RainToday.com. Bruce is the author of 15 books, including Professional Services Marketing 3.0, and co-author of Client at the Core: Marketing and Managing Today’s Professional Services Firms. He is editor of The Marcus Letter on Professional Services Marketing and The Marcus Perspective.

Small practices against big ones

junio 16th, 2012

Change 100%, from a blog

ten Things Small Firms Can Do To Compete

Great turbulence in the accounting profession, as well as in the business world itself, make these difficult and unusual times. Public outcry against the misdeeds of a few accounting firms, corporations, investment bankers and others in government and the business community is tarring the innocent as well as the guilty. In the meantime, the loss of Arthur Andersen and the consolidation of the now Big Five can alter the competitive landscape for firms of any size. It’s likely that the major firms will accelerate a long standing practice of reaching into the low end of the market – the very market of the smaller firms. For the smaller firm, competition will come from unaccustomed quarters.

Can the small firm successfully compete? History says yes, if the firm follows at least some of the following points…

· Don’t be sanguine about the health of your firm. You may feel that you’re in good shape today, that you have a substantial share of a specific industry, that your reputation will sustain you from assault by competitors, that you are immune from competition. In a rapidly changing world, this is when you are most vulnerable. Changing economic conditions, new regulations, an undercurrent of skepticism about the profession that, unwarranted as it may be, is still fostered by the Arthur Andersen situation – all these and more require that you be ever alert in your marketplace.

· Save your current clients. Your current client base is your first line of defense in a highly competitive environment, in which your best clients are coveted by larger firms. Examine your work with each client frequently, to assure that you are satisfactorily meeting your client’s current needs. Be sure you understand the client’s industry as well as his or her business. Be sure your person to person relationship is in good shape. And above all, pay strict attention to the quality of your own work.

· Seek new business from existing clients. In the average mid-sized firm, there should be a 20% annual growth in business from existing clients, even in slow economic times. This is accomplished by frequent conversations with the client about his or her business (not yours.) In any in-depth discussion about the client’s business, if you listen carefully you’re likely to hear some new problem about which you can say, “I can help you with that.” Remember, your client’s business may not be static, but instead, changing as the client’s own markets and business change. Without a client relationship that keeps you in touch, you can depend upon two things – that your business for that client will remain static, and that sooner or later somebody will hold that discussion, and you’ll lose the client.

· Organize for productivity. The future, in difficult times, lies with the lean, mean machine. That’s the one with full control of process, expenditures and business practices. Don’t be afraid, though, to invest in technology that works for you, such as extranets that tie your system to your clients’. Be sure your technology is equal in capability to your clients’, and compatible in ways that count. Manage your firm for profit first, and comfort second. If you’re profitable, you’ll be comfortable.

· Focus on business. Know what business you’re in, and carefully consider any changes in your business model or the services you offer. Know what skills you have, and work to sharpen them. In these times of changing regulation and technology, continuing professional education is a necessity, not a luxury. The competitive edge is not necessarily very large, but is rather an incremental edge.

· Modify your culture. For generations, the accounting profession has always relied on a concept of professionalism that was rooted in the fact that, as professionals, the clients needed the profession more than the other way around. After all, nobody wakes up in the morning and says, “What I really need today is a good audit.” Business comes to accountants because it has to. The accountant keeps the books in an orderly manner. The accountant audits the company because the government or a lender or the company’s investors demand it. But is your firm always the one that business comes to for these professional services? Or does it go to your competitors? Today, the demand is for more competitive services, and for services that not only attest, but help. This means that to compete, the culture of the accounting firm must shift from an abstract professionalism to an aggressive market-centered orientation. Once, before the Bates decision that eliminated the strictures on professional firm marketing, firms could rely on their professionalism alone to attract clients. Not today. With competition being served by sophisticated marketers and marketing methods, the option to market is gone. To survive, compete. To compete, change the firm culture to serve the demands of competition.

· Market. Your survival in this new environment depends upon your understanding and using the skills of professional services marketing. Marketing is itself a profession, and marketing an accounting firm is very different from marketing a product. But while the professional marketer has skills and experience that are not necessarily within the realm the accountant’s own experience and skills, there is still a great deal you can learn to do. Certainly, you should know enough to allow you to deal comfortably with a professional marketer. You should know how to define the market for your services. You should know how to look at your firm and services in terms of the needs of that market. You should understand the tools and vehicles of marketing that are needed to project your services and capabilities to your market. You should know how to manage the effort, even if it’s done by professional marketers. And should you believe that the need for you to market is precluded by your current success or your reputation, realize that you’ve lost the option to market or not, simply because your competitors are doing it …..and they are after your clients and prospective clients.

· Challenge yourself. Today’s business world is more dynamic than ever before. More innovation, more competition, globalization that touches even the smallest firm – all demand more of the accountant. The successful accountant today is the one who constantly searches for new ways to meet the new challenges. The successful accountant, in today’s environment, is the one who demands more of him or herself. Ask the question – as frequently as possible – “This is the way I did it yesterday. Is there a better way, or a good reason, to do it differently today? This is a sure fire way to keep from getting stale, and to keep your clients from going to someone else who isn’t.

· Learn. Continuing education programs are important and necessary to keep up with changes in the skills of accounting and the new regulations and laws that affect the profession. But the world of the professional accountant is no longer limited by just the skills of the profession. Today’s successful accountant understands more about business, about government, about globalization, about technology, about relationships, than was necessary in the past. Today’s successful accountant is an individual well aware of the larger world in which he or she functions, and is constantly learning about context, as well as skills.

· Think increments. A secret of success in business is to understand that to succeed, you don’t have to be substantially better than your competitor. It takes only the smallest increment to be the best. A slightly better understanding of your market. An article or two more in your client’s industry publications. A touch more visibility in your market place. A little bit more active in your networking organizations. It’s amazing how little difference there is between firm number one and firm number two. If you think about that small difference you can make in your own practice, then you’ll be number one in your area and market.

There may have been a time, once, when good enough was good enough for any accountant or lawyer. There may have been a time when just doing it as well today as you did it yesterday was enough. But in today’s competitive world – a world of profound changes – that time is past. You have to be a better professional today to succeed in a highly competitive market.

Social Content

mayo 26th, 2012

With the new Pinguin in Google, is important to make your content social: Create your content in such a manner that it gains some popularity on social media and social networking websites. This way you don’t have to depend solely on Google for all your traffic. Create compelling and meaningful headlines. Provide content that is bang on target. Develop an original style and focus on quality rather than quantity.

Blogging today

mayo 26th, 2012

(change)

For a business starting out today (and let’s assume they have fantastic writers with interesting things to say), does blogging still have the same potential it did in 2002?

There’s a Blog about anything and everything out there, right now. It’s hard for someone considering a Blog to come up with a new and/or different angle. The topic can be as obscure as your brain can fathom, and odds are that a Blog covering that exact topic already exists. Pushing that further, it’s somewhat hard to even define what, exactly, a Blog is in this day and age. Afterall, you can Blog on your Facebook page, you can micro-Blog with Twitter or video Blog on YouTube. You can even Blog using tumblr.

The challenge is most businesses publish stuff that’s so terrible and narcissistic — about their updates and upgrades. That’s not value.

The majority of people who read my blog are not my clients. But when clients come to us to potentially work with our agency, the blog is social proof. They look at a blog post and think, “There are 60 comments on a single post. They’ve got to be good.”

Don’t be scared of analytics. Most Blog platforms offer some kind of analytics. You should also be running Google Analytics as well. If the thought of web analytics scares you, please go and check out the work of Avinash Kaushik (his Blog, Occam’s Razor, is treasure trove of great insights – as are his two books, Web Analytics – An Hour A Day and Web Analytics 2.0). You should be measuring everything from readership and referral traffic to keywords. I particularly like keyword analysis, because this can give you some immediate insights into the type of words people use to find your content. Write more with those keywords in mind.

Write. Write. Write. If you want a successful Blog, you have to write. You have to write a lot and you have to post frequently. You have to do this, not to cram content into a Blog, but because only through the frequency and habit of writing will you get good. Only through the frequency and habit of writing will you begin to find a voice. Only through the frequency and habit of writing will you begin to build an audience. Here’s a truth: you won’t find your voice over time. I simply don’t believe that a writer arrives at this strange destination called “their voice.” I think a strong voice simply evolves over time. But none of that happens without writing. You’re not writing for writing’s sake. You’re writing to exercise your critical thinking skills. When you do that often enough, great writing will start to flow.

Content marketing for lawyers

mayo 26th, 2012

 

Is content marketing required for professional services companies?

“Technology is shifting the power away from the editors, the publishers, the establishment, the media elite. Now it’s the people who are in control.” –Rupert Murdoch

In the past, there were barriers to entry for any non-media company, let alone paid consultants or professional services companies, to get traction from its content marketing. These were:

  1. Death of the intermediary: Although media placement and coverage can still be incredibly effective, it is no longer necessary. We can now communicate directly with our customers and prospects, if we have compelling and relevant information to share with them (can you say opt-in?).
  2. Access to talent: In the very recent past, it was challenging for professional services companies to attract the kind of journalistic talent necessary to create and distribute truly remarkable content marketing. That is no longer the case. More and more journalists are making the leap over to the dark side (non-media side) where, frankly put, more resources and opportunities present themselves for great content creators.
  3. Viable technology: You, me, and the sign post can all create a blog in five seconds or less. Social media channels abound for publishing purposes. Marketing automation services are available to all. There are no more excuses.

The recognition that we are media companies

Professional services companies need to realize that they are in competition with not only other consultants in your space, but also media companies in your industry, Google, and the billboard down the street. That means we need to develop and distribute content that is as good or better than anything else in our industry to attract and retain customers.

So, we are indeed all publishers today.

There is only one thing that separates the content developed by a media company and content developed by brands like Intel, John Deere, or LEGOHow the money comes in.

For a media company, content is created in order to make money directly off the creation of content through paid content sales (direct purchase of content) or advertising sales (someone sponsors the content that is created, like we see in newspapers and magazines).

For a non-media company, content is created not to profit directly from the content, but, rather, indirectly by attracting and retaining customers.

In all other respects, the content creation activities in both types of companies are generally the same. Both needs to be authentic and credible. This is important to realize, in that non-media brands are competing with traditional media for attention and retention, just like you compete with the other businesses in your field.

The three-legged success stool

In order to be found in search engines, to drive inbound leads for your organization, and to be successful with your social media strategy, you need remarkable storytelling. Simply put, your content marketing strategy must come before your social media strategy.

You would think since more professional services companies are realizing this, and that the barriers to entry are gone, that content marketing success stories for professional services companies would abound. Unfortunately (or fortunately), most paid consultants and services companies now realize that content marketing is really hard.

Recent Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs research shows us that the biggest content marketing challenge for B2B marketers is developing content that truly engages customers and prospects.

Content Marketing Challenges

For this strategy to work, it takes patience, commitment, and excellence at the craft. Professional services companies need to shift their thinking and realize that, in order to be the leading experts in their industry and get online referrals, they need to be creating consistent, valuable, and compelling content.

The Content Marketing Institute story

Although we do offer some paid sponsorship opportunities as part of the Institute and our premier event, Content Marketing World, the majority of our online leads come in for our consulting practice, headed by Robert Rose.

In our session, Jay called this strategy a “Trojan Horse Effect”, where we look and feel like a media company, all to generate interest around the consulting practice. Jay may indeed be right.

Since launching CMI in May of 2010, we now average nearly 100,000 unique visitors a month on our sites. We have over 70 active content contributors to CMI, producing two posts per day around “how-to” content marketing as well as content marketing news. Over the past three months, we’ve received dozens of qualified inbound leads into our consulting division, six of which are Fortune 500 companies.

CMI AnalyticsPartial Google Analytics Chart with Referrals Showing for Content Marketing Institute

The best part is that these companies come to us ready to buy, and our sales cycle has dropped, in some cases, to just a few days.

6 concerns/myths about consultant’s content marketing

But while our belief is that giving away your knowledge (as much as possible) leads to substantially more opportunities, how far should a professional services company or paid consultant open the Kimono? Let’s discuss.

  1. My clients don’t consume online content: We hear this all the time. A paid consultant will say that they target CEOs, who don’t use search engines or social media. Recent Google research tells us that the average consumer engages in over 10 sources of information before making a buying decision. Also, according to research from Doremus and the Financial Times, over 60 percent of senior executives read blogs, watch online video, view webcasts, and use professional networking sites like LinkedIn.
  2. Jay Informational AnnuityWe don’t have time to create content: Online content marketing is the ultimate informational annuity. For example, Jay shared his statistics on just one post on social media strategy he created almost three years ago. The post still attracts an average of 300 people per day (to just that one post) and has led to multiple pieces of business for Jay.
  3. We can just do social media, we don’t need content: Jay’s Content Marketing Necessity Scale says it all. If people are already talking about you online in the right places, you don’t need as much original content as those that aren’t yet invited to the party. Frankly, if you want to be shared and talked about in social media, you need some amazing content to make your social media go. As Jay says, “Content is fire. Social media is gasoline.
  4. We can just do a blog: Today, a blog is just a ticket to the ball game. Sixty-five percent of B2B companies have blogs today (according to CMI and MarketingProfs research). In order to be the leading expert for your industry, you need to take story ideas and adapt them to channels, like blowing a dandelion in the wind. For example, with the Content Marketing Playbook, although the eBook was the main content product, we produced a SlideShare version, multiple podcasts, multiple blog posts, a news release, an enewsletter version, snippets in our print magazine, Chief Content Officer, guest blogs, promotions on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and more.
  5. We’ll give away all our secret sauce: Contrary to what some people believe, a prospect doesn’t read one blog post and buys on the spot. Through our content, we develop attention, then interest, then action. So you’ve got to work it by solving the pain points of your customers. Yes, you may give away your secrets, but having a grocery list doesn’t make you a chef. Those customers that want to take your advice and do it themselves?… fine. Those are not the kind of customers you want. What you need to do is show your expertise and insight, and have smart executives recognize your talent.
  6. We shouldn’t talk about price in our content: Jay and I call this the Marcus Sheridan effect. Marcus is owner of River Pools and Spas and is now a prominent marketing speaker and consultant. Marcus was able to sell more fiberglass swimming pools than anyone in the country by sharing everything, including specifics on price. Just type in anything around pricing and fiberglass pools into Google… Marcus always comes up and dominates the search rankings. This same philosophy has also worked in his marketing practice. If you can’t talk specific pricing, at least talk about the dynamics that go into pricing. This is your competitive advantage waiting to happen.

4 things to know before you dive into content marketing

  1. Know your niche: Where can you be the leading expert in the world for your specific buyers? It’s better to go smaller and broaden out once you dominate your niche. Think as if you were a trade magazine. Vertical is in, horizontal is out.
  2. Know your audience: Jay’s practice targets the social media practitioner, and has truly focused on this with this Social Pros podcast series. He doesn’t want all people interested in social media, just practitioners. It’s an important distinction. The same goes for OpenView Venture Partners [disclaimer: I am an advisor], who is targeting successful technology entrepreneurs looking for capital to grow, not just any entrepreneur.
  3. Know your budget: Just read this budget and content marketing investment post for agencies from Jay. Enough said.
  4. Know your metrics: Here are the four key metrics for agencies, as well as a content marketing ROI analysis considering the three kinds of measurement indicators for your business.

El Escritor Salvador Trinxet nos habla de como gestionar el tiempo para mejorar nuestra calidad de vida

diciembre 21st, 2011

Gestionar el tiempo para mejorar nuestra calidad de vida

 

¿Cómo un empresario puede manejar su tiempo sin sacrificar su vida personal?

 

Salvador Trinxet Llorca – Blog Sage Experience.  Saber organizar el tiempo no es otra cosa que establecer prioridades sobre las tareas que se tienen pendientes, atacando las improrrogables y dejando para mejor momento las que pueden esperar. Por tanto, nada mejor que llevar una agenda bien ordenada con las prioridades identificadas y los objetivos perfectamente detallados. Todo esto exige planificarse bien, y para ello lo primero es obtener toda la información sobre lo que hay que hacer, lo que está pendiente, cuántas reuniones hay que preparar y con qué objetivo, etc. Lo esencial es diferenciar lo importante de lo urgente con una visión global, de tal manera que las grandes tareas sean a las que haya que dedicar más esfuerzo procurando delegar el resto si se cuenta con un equipo de confianza.

 

¿Cuál es el riesgo de no ser emprendedor?

 

Salvador Trinxet – El riesgo de dejar de ser emprendedor es convertirnos en esclavos de la rutina; es como renunciar voluntariamente a crecer; desertar oportunidades y desistir ante el hecho de crear una empresa a través de nuestras ideas y nuestro ingenio por llevarlas a cabo.

 

¿Qué es calidad de vida y que ámbitos se desenvuelven en ella?

 

Salvador Trinxet – Santiago Guerrero, certificado como Coach Ontológico Profesional nos dice que la calidad de vida es  un juicio positivo que la persona hace de la experiencia, a partir del bienestar, felicidad y satisfacción que ésta percibe y “siente”. Trabajo, pareja, amigos, formación, familia, recreación, deporte, formación y espiritualidad deben estar en equilibrio para lograr internamente la satisfacción de hacer lo que deseamos sin restarnos placidez y tranquilidad por ignorar otros elementos. Como dice Stephen Covey en su libro “los 7 hábitos de la gente altamente efectiva”, será entonces importante “afilar el hacha” para poder sostener nuestra efectividad en los diversos ámbitos en los que estoy involucrado y comprometido.

 

¿Cómo lograr nivelar trabajo y familia?

 

Salvador Trinxet – Los horarios exhaustivos de trabajo, la tensión continua por ganar más éxito y dinero, la competencia feroz, ir a la vanguardia ante las tendencias, no delegar y si se delega estar consistentemente en revisión de las asignaciones son muchas de las tensiones por las que pasa el empresario; es necesario optar por una mejor calidad de vida que les permita recuperar el tiempo dedicado a su familia, a actividades creativas, o al simple disfrute de la naturaleza, aunque ello conlleve reducir el ritmo profesional. Claro es posible equilibrar las obligaciones profesionales con la familia dando a cada decisión de tiempo su valor. Necesitamos ser responsables con la organización a la que servimos, es imperante no dormirnos en el camino ignorando posibles oportunidades de negocio, menguando la calidad ofrecida y depreciándonos en el mercado; he allí la importancia de elegir un equipo de trabajo capacitado donde se den las instrucciones parciales, algunos consejos, y habilidad para tomar decisiones inteligentes. Delegar y disfrutar de esos márgenes de tiempo es la clave.

 

 

 

 

 

¿Algunas estrategias para balancear la familia y el trabajo?

 

Salvador Trinxet – Programar citas cerca de la oficina para almorzar con tu familia, tomar quizás más horas al día y dejar el viernes libre para cualquier actividad en casa que involucre a todos los miembros (cocinar un plato, ver una película o simplemente conversar), organizar programas agradables los fines de semana, sin incluir en estos días reuniones con socios, colaboradores, etc.; asumir que son los días para compartir y acompañarte de la familia, comparta tiempo de alta calidad, comuníquese con su familia durante la cena, mantenga contacto físico, sea lo más eficiente que pueda durante las horas en el trabajo y evite llevar “asuntos pendientes” o trabajo no concluido a la casa.

REGULACIÓN DE SERVICIOS DE ASESORAMIENTO FINANCIERO EN NUEVA ZELANDA

abril 21st, 2011

La Ley requiere que todos los proveedores de servicios financieros, incluyendo los asesores financieros, que operan en Nueva Zelanda sean inscritos en el Registro público de Proveedores de Servicios Financieros (FSPR).En Nueva Zelanda la regulación de los proveedores de servicios financieros y los asesores financieros tiene el doble enfoque: existe el sistema de inscripción y el sistema de autorización. Asimismo, requiere que los asesores pertenezcan al “esquema aprobado de resolución de conflictos” o al “esquema reservado” (un esquema designado por recomendación del Ministro para realizar las funciones del esquema por defecto). Esto garantizará que los consumidores tengan acceso a un proceso independiente de resolución de conflictos. La Ley sobre Asesores Financieros cubre a los particulares y las entidades que prestan servicios de asesoramiento financiero a clientes. Los servicios de asesoramiento financiero incluidos en la Ley son los siguientes: 1) Prestación de consejos financieros. 2) Prestación de servicios de planificación de inversiones. 3) Prestación de servicios de administración discrecional de inversiones. La empresa de Nueva Zelanda, o el asesor, tendrá que ser un Asesor Financiero Autorizado (AFA) si se prevé la prestación de alguno de estos servicios al público: 1) Dar consejos financieros personalizados en la categoría 1 de productos, incluyendo: valores, productos de inversión inmobiliaria, contratos de futuros y contratos de seguros relacionados con inversiones. Consejo financiero cubre cualquier recomendación u opinión acerca de compra o venta (o abstención de compra o venta) de un producto financiero. 2) Prestar servicios de administración discrecional de inversiones en relación con la categoría 1 de productos, por ejemplo si el asesor decide cuales productos financieros comprar o vender en nombre de un cliente, es decir si el asesor está autorizado de administrar el portafolio de inversiones de un cliente. 3) Prestar servicios de planificación de inversiones. Los requisitos para obtener la autorización y su proceso son muy estrictos e incluyen: 1) Inscripción con la ETITO (organización encargada de asegurar el cumplimiento con los requisitos de educación) y en su caso, asesoramiento y exámenes de competencia. 2) Pruebas de la institución educativa o sectorial relevante que demuestren una calificación alternativa aceptada y designaciones de prueba de competencia. 3) Provisión de testigos. 4) Pruebas de buen carácter. 5) Preparación de un Plan de Negocios de Asesor (ABS). 6) Solicitud de autorización en el (FSPR).

Las tasas públicas de inscripción, autorización y asesoramiento en la ETITO se detallan en una hoja adjunta.

Rsources to solve legal matters

abril 15th, 2011

According to the survey, Forty-nine percent of respondents were very likely or somewhat likely to turn to websites where viewers can ask lawyers for legal information if they needed a lawyer for a personal legal matter.

Here is the question the ABA survey asked: “If you needed a lawyer for a personal legal matter, how likely would you be to use the following resources to find one?” Among the resources listed were webistes, directories, social networking sites and blogs.

Sometimes sites offer answers exclusively on legal matters, while other sites include legal matters among a variety of topics such as accounting, plumbing and health issues. The interest people have in using Q & A sites to help find a lawyer for a personal legal matter seems consistent with the notions that people want fast and free information on the Internet, be it legal information or otherwise. It is unclear from this research whether people anticipate using Q & A sites to simply solve their legal matters or whether they think about using it to identify a lawyer who is knowledgeable about their particular issues, who they then anticipate subsequently hiring.

Forty-seven percent of respondents were very likely or somewhat likely to turn towebsites where lawyers are rated. This type of third-party credentialing is not unlike the verification a person gets when they turn to a trusted source such as a friend or family member. Obviously, the distinction is that the viewer is unfamiliar with those who provide the ratings. Nevertheless, customer rating sites have becoming popular in a variety of matters, including hotel and travel resources, doctors and teachers.

The second tier includes directories and online matching services. Thirty-nine percent of respondents reported they were very or somewhat likely to turn to online directories as a source to find a lawyer for a personal legal matter. Online directories were an early resource for legal services when the Internet emerged as a commercial vehicle.

Directories typically enabled viewers to identify an area of practice, such as domestic relations or bankruptcy and cross tab that with a geographic location, often a state or major city. The refinement of a few dominant search engines may have disintermediated and reduced the value of online directories. Now a viewer can now merely search for a divorce lawyer in Peoria through a search engine rather than first finding a directory and then using that to ultimately find the lawyer. Search engines are facilitating local searches for lawyers in a field of practice in a particular location and enhancing the search through mapping features that help viewers find the lawyer’s office. Nevertheless, the likelihood of using online directories was in the middle of the pack in this poll.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents reported that they were very or somewhat likely to use a website where people posted their problems and lawyers interested in representing them would then follow up and contact the potential client. This question was intended to ask about matching services. However, it may have been awkwardly presented in a way that led respondents to the belief that their personal information was posted online for all to see. This possibility is supported by the fact that 50% of respondents reported they were very unlikely to use such a model, a percentage substantially higher than the other first and second tier models.

Respondents reported they would be far less likely to use interactive tools that commonly fall under the banner of Web 2.0 compared to the other models included in the research.

Less than one of out five of the respondents were very or somewhat likely to use social network sites such as Facebook as a source when they needed a lawyer for a personal legal matter. Fifteen percent were very or somewhat likely to use blogs.

Just fifteen percent said they were very or somewhat likely to use blogs. It follows, therefore, that blogs are ineffective as tools for client development, right?

Of course not. The question makes no sense. A blog is not a selection tool. It is not a directory. It is not somewhere anyone would go to “find” something.

Rather than looking at blogs and social media as something new, we think people look at blogs and social media as accelerators of relationships and your word of mouth reputation.”

The lead conclusion of the ABA survey is that the first place people turn when looking for a lawyer is to a trusted source.

The goal of all legal networking, we believe, can be summed up in those two words: trusted relationships. Just as consumers buy brand names over generics, legal consumers hire the lawyer their cousin recommended and corporate counsel retain firms based on colleagues’ referrals. In each case, what sways the decision is trust.

A blog is a reputation accelerator. Not every blog is. It has to be well done. It has to have thoughtful posts. It has to offer insight. I’m not talking about the blogs that are nothing more than SEO engines.

It is rare that a potential client will call a lawyer and say, “I’m calling you because you have a blog.” It is far more common, however, for a potential client to call a lawyer who blogs and say, “I’m calling you because I researched lawyers online who handle this kind of law and found frequent references to you.”

Trust is an amorphous and highly subjective concept. A blog is certainly no magic bullet. A blog can, however, provide substantiation for why you should be trusted.

Online networking is no different than traditional networking – if you overlook the fact that it is plugged in, supercharged and global in reach. When done right and to full effect, social media tools add rocket fuel to all of the ways lawyers traditionally get new business. They support client referrals and recommendations, they support peer referrals and recommendations, they take in-person networking beyond physical limits, they strengthen alumni relationships, they simulate conferences and publishing by enabling you to highlight your knowledge and expertise, they even allow you to respond to RFPs.

Social media are a set of tools for broadening and strengthening your network of trusted relationships. Used properly and effectively, social media will enhance your reputation, strengthen confidence in your “brand,” and broaden your professional and personal networks. All of these combine to give others a reason to trust you – and you them.

Blogging is a powerful tool for building a lawyer´s reputation. You need to have a foundation to build on. Blogging won’t make you a great lawyer or even let you pretend to be one. But if you are a thoughtful lawyer with knowledge and insight to share, blogging lets you do that on a level far beyond that of any other publishing platform.

 

¡Hola, mundo!

diciembre 21st, 2009

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