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Marketing 101: Keep Something Simple

May 14th, 2013 / - filed under Law Firm Management

I was having a conversation recently with a business exec about his company’s unsuccessful search for a new CMO. While there’s no shortage of top talent on the street, he’s struggling to find a marketer with expertise in the digital universe “and, you know, experience in demand generation and all that.” Numerous exciting nouns followed, some of which I wrote down, until I stopped.  Because my hand was growing tired and, frankly, I was annoyed.

Why do organizations struggle to find (and keep) hot talent?  Maybe we’re getting a little too fancy.  Maybe euphemisms are the problem. Demand generation? Come on.  Sounds like a setting on an air conditioning unit.  Wouldn’t it be easier to just keep it simple and talk about client needs? Demand generation is just a highfalutin way to think about getting clients to need your products or services.  It’s a fundamental marketing objective that you respond to with various activities: You need brand awareness.  You need to be discoverable.  You need to push. You need to validate the buying decision with credibility.  And then you rinse, wash and repeat.

Does marketing strategy vary by industry? Absolutely not.  It is a pure and purely transferrable function.  In a law firm, a CMO doesn’t need to understand the nuances of mezzanine financing in order to position the firm’s lawyers as global experts in mezz deals.  A basic understanding is important – enough to be dangerous – any more and the cost of your CMO just went through the roof.  Neither does a CMO for Google need to understand the complex algorithms that drive its machine.  Does industry knowledge matter? Sure.  But that’s infinitely – and, for a hungry marketer, easily – acquired.  What an organization can’t monetize because it is so incomprehensibly critical and so very worthy is that good marketing rests on a basic understanding of what drives relationships.  I have something.  It can help you.  My something is better than my competitors’ somethings.  And I want to tell you about it.  Call that demand generation, if you like.  Throw in a dose of strategies, tactics, SEM, SEO, adaptive planning, SWOT analyses and yada, yada, yada… At the end of the day, you’re still left with your something.  A good marketer will keep your something simple and make it shine.