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How Do I Know This Stuff is Working?: Implementing and Monitoring Your Marketing Plan
Part 2

By Patricia Yevics


 - Continued from April Issue

Last month we reported on what to include in a marketing plan and what questions needed to be answered in order to create a written marketing plan specific to your firm. The process was necessary whether you are writing the plan on your own (or with others in your firm) or with a marketing consultant. If you have decided to use a consultant, the person should create the marketing plan and marketing activities based upon the information that you provide.

Writing the plan was the easy part. This month we are going to discuss how to implement the plan and how to determine what is and what is not working. We will give examples of some activities and actions that you and others in your office can take to develop and market the firm.

Although marketing and client development is a "forever process" we need to create some sort of time frame in order to monitor the progress of the plan and activities. It is important to remember that marketing activities do not produce immediate results and so the time frame should be long enough to determine results.

Monitoring Our Progress

Before we can monitor our progress we need to know our goals and this was discussed in detail in the first part of the article. Different goals will create different methods of monitoring.

We will decide that we will monitor progress for 12 months. This will allow us to monitor our time, resources and success. The first thing we must do is to set up a mechanism to record and measure the time that we spend on our marketing and practice development activities. The best way to do this is to add some billing codes for marketing and practice development activities in your time and billing software. You can be as specific as you like with the codes and they should reflect your activities. (If you are not using time and billing software you should be but that is another article. If you want information on software, call me at 800-492-1964, ext 30393039). If you have others in your office make certain that they begin to record any time they spend on marketing. This would even include support staff if they assist with some projects.

The purpose of this exercise is to see how much you spend on these activities and compare it to new business or clients. Please note however that you should be doing many of the activities I am going to suggest just to maintain the current level of practice that you have. If that is your only goal then it will be difficult to use the time information for comparisons. If, however, your goal is to increase your practice, get new clients or develop a new practice area then you need to see if you are spending your very limited time in activities that are getting you results.

Each month you should review where and how you spent your time involved in what you consider marketing activities. In some cases you will be able to easily determine if the activity is resulting in new business. For example, if you join a particular organization or association for the purpose of getting new business or new clients and you ask all new clients why they chose you, you can see if any are a result of your participation in that group. On the other hand, if you are doing public speaking or writing articles, both excellent marketing activities, it may be more difficult to determine if these actions resulted in new business.

Why Marketing is Like Exercise: Doing What You Say You Are Going to Do

Marketing is like exercise. We all know the value of it and we start all programs with great enthusiasm and commitment. Somehow that enthusiasm and commitment disappears when we actually have to incorporate the activity into an already full schedule. We end up not doing all we had planned and we usually feel lousy about it.

Marketing, like exercise, must become something we do naturally. It must be something we enjoy doing and would miss if we did not do it. It cannot be viewed as drudgery or unpleasant. That is why it is so important to make certain that your goals are realistic and that your activities are ones that you are comfortable doing at least in the beginning. You can add new ideas and activities once you are comfortable with the easy ones.

You must also not expect immediate results. Like exercise, marketing takes time before you start to notice any type of results. This is a long term commitment.

And, it is okay to miss a day. If your schedule becomes overwhelmed with a particular matter or case, it is completely okay if you postpone some of your activities. This should not be an excuse to stop your activities completely. If possible you should try to some simple activity, such as calling a client or sending a note to a prospect, but you should never just stop the plan because you had to take some time off from the plan. As soon as time permits, pick up where you left off and get back with the regime.

Even if you only have 10 minutes that day, do some exercise or marketing. It is not the amount of time you spend, it is the habit and discipline you are creating that is important.

Schedule It and Write It Down

Once you have decided on some activities that you will do as a part of your marketing plan, you need to schedule them to make sure they are going to be done. While your schedule may require you to postpone or cancel some of the activities, you should make every effort to stick to your realistic plan.

Some are going to be easy to schedule such as "Each week or every two weeks take a referral source to lunch." You have to eat lunch anyway, so make it profitable. If you belong to a civic or professional association that meets monthly make it a point to talk to someone new at the meeting to start to expand your circle of potential referral sources or clients.

You should use a method that is comfortable for you as a reminder. You can write it in your calendar "Call Jane Smith to schedule a luncheon". You can put the reminder on your Palm Pilot or you can use the tickler feature in Outlook or your Case Management program. Whatever method you use, make certain that you are creating a mechanism to remind you to do your marketing. I use the Task function on Outlook to remind me to write articles, make phone calls, write notes etc. When the day or time comes, it pops up on my screen to remind me. I also write everything down in my Daytimer.

Tips, Tricks and Techniques: Some Ideas to Try

Unfortunately, I have run out of space before I have run out of things to say. Isn't that always the case. Rather than having you wait another month for these pearls of wisdom, you can get these tips and ideas by:

  1. Going to the website at http://www.msba.org/departments/loma/articles/articles.htm
    You can print the article: Tips, Tricks and Techniques to Make the Plan Work
  2. You can e-mail me at pyevics@msba.org and we can fax you the information.
  3. You can call me at 800-492-1964, ext. 243 and leave your name and fax number and we will fax it to you.

If you have any specific questions, never hesitate to give us a call. We have a lot of information available about marketing.

Hope to see you at the Annual Meeting.


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