Carnival of Marketing -- Day Two

Nedra_weinreich Today's Carnival of Marketing focuses on a blog post by Nedra Weinrich.  From West Hills, California, she works with nonprofits and government agencies to bring about health and social change using social marketing. She is the founder and president of Heinrich Communications, and wrote a book called "Hands-On Social Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide." 

Her blog Spare Change has a great post "Olympic Heart of Gold" on what the nonprofit Right to Play did correctly to inspire Olympic speed skater Joey Cheek to donate all of his $40,000 in medal winnings to the organization and bring public attention to its mission? See for the marketing answer.  It includes having the right role model, picking the right venue for your target audience and providing compelling programs.

Jack_yoest The second item comes from Jack Yoest, in which he extracted 10 Tips for Your Big Show Biz Break, by examining the appearance of his wife, Charmaine Yoest, on ABC World News Tonight.  She is a prominent an expert on domestic social policy.  Her tips include having your talking points memorized, having your peeps with you -- your entourage (Andrew Dice Clay would show up with his wife, two kids, publicist, agent and assorted strap hangers), and allowing enough time to do the gig. 

Jack Yoest is a management consultant in the high technology and biotechnology sectors, drawing on his expertise in operations and sales and marketing, and senior management development. Jack has managed entrepreneurial, start-up ventures, which included medical device companies, high technology, software manufacturers, and business consulting companies.


The Carnival of Marketing is HERE

Carnival I've been selected to be the host of the Carnival of Marketing this week. The catch is the person hosting the carnival will only post their favorite 7 from the week. No more, no less since carnivals are getting out of control with over 30 links.

Today's selection is the gethuman Web database that a technologist set up to get past the corporate voicemail maze by using the secret codes to reach a live human being.  It's set out just below with post.

How does it work?
Once a week, a different site will host a bunch of links from other sites that are talking about marketing. The topics can be case studies, interesting ideas, cool examples, things not to do, exposure for a product, etc... People can send in any new articles for the week from their blogs and Web sites to me at

Why should I host or submit to the carnival?
Submitting articles is a great way to get exposure to people interested in marketing. As well, hosting will draw lots of traffic to your site. Plus it is fun and you get to be a part of an online marketing community.

Additional Hosting Rules:

1. Don't submit an old post. The post needs to be from at least the past couple of weeks, and preference will be given to posts from the past week.

2. Submit posts that are actionable. Tips that people can actually apply will almost always win out over abstract stuff. "How" beats "Why".

3. Submit posts that are complete. As a corollary to the above, posts that refer out to articles or other sites for more information, or that have anything to the effect of "Watch this space for more information" are going to be among the first to be cut.

4. Don't submit posts that are nothing more than a pitch. It's possible to sell subtlety within a good, actionable post. But a couple of the submissions were basically an ad for the company's product. An occasional post like that may work in the context of your blog, but if you think it's a good idea to submit that for a carnival, you've definitely got a thing or two to learn about marketing via blogs.


Time to Dump the Detested Voicemail Maze

Voicemail Everyone I know just hates it when the call a company and get a voicemail maze. What customers really want is a live human. The New York Times sums things up nicely with an article on p. 3 of the Business Section entitled, "Your Call Should Be Important to Us, but It's Not."

"It would be funny if it weren't so depressing -- and such bad business. Countless chief executives pledge to improve their company's products and services by listening to the "voice of the customer." Memo to the corner office: Answer the phone! How can companies listen to their customers if those customers have such a hard time reaching a human being when they call?" writes William C. Taylor in his article.

"You create more value through a dialog with a live agent," said Richard Shapiro is president of the Center for Client Retention in Springfield, N.J. "A call is an opportunity to build a relationship, to encourage customers to stay with the brand. There can be a real return on this investment."

It's a point that too many cost-conscious companies seem willing to overlook. In an era of fierce competition, when customers have more choices than ever, the toughest business challenge isn't to keep expenses down. It's to keep loyalty high. Anything that a company does to make its products and services a little more engaging, a little less ordinary, can pay big dividends. Anything like, say, answering the phone.

Voicemail answering systems have gotten so bad that technologist Paul M. English set up  The most popular part of the gethuman website is its database of secret phone numbers and codes to get to a human when calling a company for customer service.

" is a consumer movement created to change the face of customer service. This free website is powered by over one million consumers, and the site is run by volunteers who demand high quality customer service," says the site.

For example, dialing 800-211-2445 will get your directly to a human at Cingular. To get through at Dell, dial 800-624-9897 and press 0 six or more times. For the US Postal Service, dial 800-275-8777; After the first service prompt, press 5. Then press 4, then 2, then 2 after each subsequent prompt.

I urge all my readers to bookmark Power to the people!


I've been Tagged for Self-Revalation

I've been tagged by technology goddess Monica Bay of The Common Scold to respond to a a semi-chain letter thing where you list 4 responses to various questions.  Please pardon this exercise in self-aggrandizement, but if Ernie the Attorney and Monica have completed it, I will wince and do it too.

Four Jobs I've had:
1. Reporter for the New York Daily News
2. Door-to-door salesman for Encyclopedia Americana.
3. Lawyer practicing in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin.
4. Newspaper delivery boy for the Des Moines Register for 6 years.

Four movies I can watch over and over:
The Transporter, 1 and 2
The early Steve Segal movies, before he got fat
Ong-Bak, Thai Warrior

Four TV shows I love to watch:
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
Nova on PBS
Modern Marvels on the History channel

Four places I've been on vacation:
Salida, Colorado, going tourmaline-hunting
Munich, many times
Costa Rica, this July

Four tunes that play through my head:
Jimmy Hendrix's Voodoo Chile (slight return)
Roll over Beethoven, the Beatles version
Jumpin Jack Flash by the Rolling Stones
Anything by ZZ Top

Four favorite dishes:
Ice cream, alone or in combo with brownies, fudge, pralines, caramel and a cherry on top
Mexican Sopapillas
Bread pudding drowning in caramel
Those fancy little petit fours you get at the dessert table at fancy functions

Four websites I visit daily:, my home base

Four books I really love:
The World is Flat
Theodore Rex (about Teddy Roosevelt)
Dilbert cartoon collections
Frommer's Guide to anywhere exotic

Four places I'd rather be:
Tucson, Arizona, just where I am now, viewing at the mountains, cactuses and blue sky
Riding my bike on the Prairie Path in Glen Ellyn, Illinois
A Starbucks where they don't play the music too loud
Watching an action movie where guns are blazing and everything is blowing up

Four bloggers I'm tagging:
Kevin O'Keefe
Mark Beese
Will Hornsby
Thom Singer


Write a Book and You Can Charge Higher Fees

Writeabook I just got a copy of RainToday's most recent study, "The Business Impact of Writing a Book: Data, Analysis, and Lessons from Professional Service Providers Who Have Done It." It covers how publishing a business book affected 200 authors' ability to generate new leads, close deals, charge higher fees, differentiate themselves from competitors, improve their brand, and more.

RainToday found that writing a business book is an incredibly effective way of growing a business. They surveyed the authors of more than 590 business books and published the results in the report. Some interesting results we found include:

  • 96% of authors reported at least some lead generation improvement influenced by publishing a book.
  • 76% indicated publishing a book had at least some influence on their ability to close deals.
  • 83% reported at least some improvement on business with current clients as a result of publishing a book.

The 71-page PDF book sells for $149 in the LawMarketing Store. It includes similar data on the effects on generating speaking engagements, brand improvement, and growing a business. There is also data on how many books these authors sold, whether it was worthwhile to use an agent or PR agency, and more about how publishing a book can impact your business.

For more info on the research, click here.


Porno Peddler puts Google's Image Search service in Jeopardy

Google_image_search_1 This just in from

A Los Angeles federal judge ruled Feb. 16 that the Internet search engine's image search feature, which displays thumbnail versions of images found on other Web sites, probably infringed a Web pornographer's copyrights.

In a 48-page preliminary ruling, U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz reluctantly sided with Perfect 10, a Beverly Hills, Calif., adult entertainment publisher, in its copyright claim against the Internet search giant. The judge acknowledged that Google's image search engine provides "enormous public benefit," but because Perfect 10 also sells downloadable thumbnail versions of its nude photos, Google is unlikely to prevail in its fair use claim.

In its complaint filed last year, Perfect 10 claims Google directly infringed its copyright by displaying the thumbnail photos on its Web sites and aided other infringers by directing its users to infringing Web sites.

In court, Google admitted it did violate Perfect 10's copyright by displaying the thumbnail versions of its nude photos, but argued that its use is considered fair use under copyright law.

"Google's use of thumbnails to simplify and expedite access to information is transformative of P10's [Perfect 10's] use of reduced-size images to entertain," Matz wrote. But, he added, "Google's use of thumbnails likely does harm the potential market for the downloading of P10's reduced-size images onto cell phones."

Matz threw out Perfect 10's claim that Google aided others in violating its copyright.

The ruling came as a surprise to some copyright attorneys watching the case, who say the judge had ventured out a bit further than the established ruling on the image search engine.

"I thought there was already solid precedent on the fair use issue on thumbnails," said Laurence Pulgram, a partner at Fenwick & West in San Francisco. "This just shows us how difficult it is to predict what a court may or may not find fair use."

The prevailing case law on the image search engine, Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation, 336 F.3d 811, 820, held that thumbnail images of copyrighted works constituted fair use under the copyright law.

But in making a distinction between a fair use and unfair use of thumbnail images, the court only makes the issue more confusing, Pulgram said.


How can you really get the people you meet to refer business?

Blogger Thom Singer says this question comes up a lot. "I know first hand that people will refer business. In fact, I just got a referral the other day that looks like a real opportunity. But I think there are two things you need to ask yourself before you decide that networking won't work for you," Thom states on his blog "Some Assembly Required."

1. Have you given it enough time?

"It takes years of active networking (which means going to three or more networking events a week and following up with key people that you meet). Very often people will "network" and expect results within a few months. Also, just meeting someone in your business community does not make them a referral source, you need to build a true relationship. To build a relationship it means you must go to lunch, coffee, golf, etc... If you are not spending time creating and cultivating your network, then you are not really networking."

2. Have you given referrals?

Coffree "You have to give more than you get. If you assume others will become your virtual sales force you are mistaken. People will help you if you help them. I know a person who is an active networker, yet he always complains that those who know him do not give him enough referrals. Yet I almost never see this man help others. He is a taker not a giver. And giving is not just referrals for business, it can be connecting them to other interesting people in your network. A successful networker knows that anyone could be a referral source, so they are thrilled to meet exciting people."

"Don't just assume networking does not work unless you have done the above. People will do business with people they know and like. If you are not visible in your business community consistently (for YEARS), then they wont get the chance to know you."

"On a side note I got a great tip from a woman named Meredith. She says that she schedules breakfast or coffee everyday on her way to work with people in her network. That way she personally sees five "referral sources" every week, while keeping her lunchtime free for clients and prospects. (It is because of people like Meredith that Starbucks stock does so well!!!)"


Marketing DNA

Do these scenarios sound familiar at your firm when it comes to marketing?

  • Passive-Aggressive ("everyone agrees, smiles, and nods, but nothing changes"): entrenched underground resistance makes getting anything done like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.
  • Fits-and-Starts ("let 1,000 flowers bloom"): filled with people pulling in different directions.
  • Outgrown ("the good old days meet a brave new world"): reacts slowly to market developments, since it's too hard to run new ideas up the flagpole.
  • Just-in-Time ("succeeding, but by the skin of our teeth"): can turn on a dime and create real breakthroughs but also tends to burn out its best and brightest.

According to Suzanne Lowe, it may mean that your professionals lack marketing DNA.  "Over the past year, I've been struck by the amount of marketing-oriented dysfunction that I continue to see in professional service firms, regardless of professional sector:  poor internal marketing communication; diplomatic and political ineptitude regarding garnering leaders' endorsement of marketing strategies; counterproductive and sometimes truly baffling marketing reporting relationships; not implementing client-endorsed differentiation strategies; under-resourced marketing teams; inexperienced marketing partner leadership; and more "ready-fire-aim" marketplace programs than you'd believe," she says.

"Some of my past research findings, and the painful marketing struggles that I've witnessed recently, suggest that for most professional service firms a true Marketing DNA is not a given, and that too little is being done to improve effectiveness in achieving substantive marketplace gains," she says.

I agree with Lowe: "It's clear that many professional firms simply don't have a market-driven DNA; they are undoubtedly driving their CMOs and senior marketing leaders crazy as a result."

What to do?  Here's what:

  • Management must issue an edict: we now have a marketing strategy and we expect everyone to play a role in carrying it out.
  • Each lawyer must compose a personal business development plan and file it with the marketing director and firm management.
  • Create a carrot and stick.  Every partner should have a certain amount of points at risk in their performance review for completing or failing to complete their personal marketing plan.  At least $50,000 in points should be at risk.
  • If the partner fails to complete a marketing plan two years in a row, they should have their pay cut by $100,000, and asked to leave.  There's no room for "library lawyers," grinders and minders who expect to inherit clients.
  • Change your recruiting criteria and don't hire lawyers who are non-rainmakers.  Give them a personality test to check out their nascent marketing skills.  If they have none, don't hire them.

Demonstrating Expertise, Not Selling

I just picked this up from Patrick Lamb's Blog:

The February 2006 issue of The American Lawyer contains a terrific article by Charles Green --"Selling by Doing." Green is the author of Trust-Based Selling and the article comes from his book. Green recounts the story told by a General Counsel of a Fortune 50 company:

We needed to hire outside counsel; we looked at a dozen firms, narrowed it to three, and invited them for 90 minute presentations.

The first two were very good; they had solid expertise and industry knowledge and they had done their homework.

Then came firm three. They said, 'We have 90 minutes with you . We can either do a standard capabilities presentation--which we're very happy to do--or we can try something different. We suggest that we get started on the job, right now--as if you had already given us the contract--and begin the job, right here, right now. After 85 minutes, we'll stop and you'll have firsthand experience of exactly how it feels to work with us.'

What's your reaction to this approach? Here's what the GC thought:

Well, we did their little exercise. It was quickly clear they were competent. But as we worked with them, we also got to know them better; instead of giving answers to questions, we had a dialogue. And for our part, instead of giving stock responses, we began to open up too. We felt what it was like to work with them. They came to listen and to work, and to show their smarts in real time, on our issues, not to report on theirs. You just felt you could trust them.

Here's how Green characterized it: "A common mistake of the salesperson is to continue behaving as if they are in the screening process when it comes time to work the selection process. They keep marketing the firm when they should be selling the salesman."


What Your Clients Really Want

From Rick Telberg's blog:

Clients are not interested in tax returns, financial statements, audits, bank reconciliations, etc. They expect you to take care of those things but they don't want to talk about them. What they want to talk about with you is how to make their businesses successful.

If you are managing your own practice, many of your management initiatives are also applicable to their businesses. Here are some discussion subjects relevant to your practice and your clients' businesses.

  • Partner with other businesses. Promote their products or services in your reception room and your publications. Ask them to do the same for you.
  • Small, frequent ads are better than large, infrequent ads. Before anyone remembers your ad, it will need to appear six times.
  • Did you know that Google Local is taking the place of yellow pages?
  • Increase prices--but also upgrade the service. Creating a package of services at a fixed price can offer convenience and value.
  • Reduce prices--maybe a package of services at a lower price makes sense.
  • Small businesses can't create brand identities the way big businesses do it. You need to configure your promotions to create quick responses. Use special offers with special value that have expiration dates.
  • Use your customers and suppliers in marketing. Give them reasons to refer you. Just a thank you note may be enough. If you aren't sending thank you notes every day, you should.

For the complete article, click on the following link:


Know what you're getting for $145K

>>Sullivan & Cromwell has increased associate base salaries by $20,000 across the board, with first-years now due to receive $145,000 a year before bonus. The New York firm's move tops a recent round of salary increases led by Los Angeles firms, where first-year base salaries rose to $135,000.<<

Let me express my incredulity at this news from These breathtaking salaries are going to 24-year olds who are being hired for the wrong reasons. The law firms could just as well take the $145K to Las Vegas and put it all on black at the roulette table.

The firms hire based on graduate's school, grades, publications, clerkships, personal pedigree and chemistry with the hiring partner. But that's not enough information. The truth is that most of the firm's money will be wasted, because many of the Gen-X associates aren't interested in becoming partners. If they are interested, most of them will be let go within five years, after the firms have lost money on these pricey new hires for years.

Here's my radical suggestion: why not hire associates based on their potential to bring in new business? Give them a personality test to see if they have what it takes to become a rainmaker. Have the marketing director or marketing partner interview them to probe their inclination to develop business relationships and open new files.

Being a lawyer today means (a) being able to do great work + (b) ability to bring in new work. If a firm pays $145K for a library lawyer, it's money wasted. If a firm is going to shell out a king's ransom for green recruit, they should at least determine if they can build a practice around themselves.


Marketing with ... Bugs

All the interesting marketing ideas are coming out of accounting firms lately. Take for example SS&G Financial Services, Inc. in Cleveland, which launched a new print advertising campaign with elements usually seen only from exterminating companies -- bugs.

Instead of using "feel good" graphics, the firm is using National Geographic-like photos of mosquitos, scorpions and beetles to catch the eye of readers. The hook line is "What's been bugging you?"

"Most people switch professional services firms because something is bugging them," said Managing Partner Gary Shamis. "We want the call-to-action in our ads to make these people call us, so we can help eliminate annoying problems that can impact the success of their business."

Shamis's firm was profiled in the article "Winning Large Proposals: a Study in Building a Competitive Edge" found online at It's the 54th largest accounting firm in the Country with 325 employees.

"Tax planning go you in a pinch?" asks an ad with a stag beetle crawling across the page. Kudos to design agency Zarney Creative and Marketing Director Ilana Isakov.

Edgy blog launch Accounting Firm?!

Pkfblog300_1At first I couldn't believe accounting firm using a hip, trendy campaign to launch a blog!  But it ia true -- Pannell Kerr Forster (PKF) of Houston, Texas, was kicking off fr0m gre3g's h3ad with an edgy direct mail campaign that you would expect from dot-com company.

Written by Greg Price, CPA, CITP, CISA, CFE (what do all those letters mean?) director of the Consulting Solutions Group of PKF, the blog covers the intersection of accounting and technology.  PKF describes itself as forward-thinking entrepreneurs dedicated to middle market companies.

The blog offers sections like Navision (software for e-commerce, supply chain, manufacturing and project accounting), Tecknowledgy and Week in Geek

What makes this so stunning is that accounting firms have been so woefully behind in the blogosphere.  In January I checked, which stated that in the prior 30 days there were only 182 posts about accounting on blogs relating to business -- on the entire Web.

Lawyers far outpaced the number of posts and blogs.  But after seeing fro0m gre3g's h3ad, law firms can take a page from this forward-thinking accounting firm.


Professional Services Marketing Seer now Online

There's a new blog online by my colleague and marketing muse Suzanne Lowe, called The Expertise Marketplace, perspectives on marketing in the professional services sector.

This is not another blog on marketing tactics. (There are already plenty of those.) Suzanne covers

  • Analyses of marketing strategy and its direction, and
  • Provocative discussions on the state of the professional services marketplace.

    Suzanne is a recognized expert in the marketing and management of professional service firms. She is the president of Expertise Marketing and author of Marketplace Masters: How Professional Service Firms Compete to Win. She has written or been quoted in nearly 100 articles on the topic of professional services marketing strategy. Her work has appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Business, CMO Magazine, and Harvard Management Update. She is a contributor to the second edition of the book Marketing Professional Services, by Kotler, Hayes and Bloom.

    Suzanne and I are currently in the thick of interpreting the results from our Increasing Marketing Effectiveness survey. We got more than 350 responses from marketers in law, accounting, management consulting and many other fields. The results should be out in late February.

    If you want to share her view from 30,000 feet up, visit her new blog.

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