I appreciate this may not sit well with some but when it comes to marketing lawyers and accountants, it really is easy to let perfection prevent progress.
What do I mean?
All too often a combination of a lawyer/accountants’ natural eye for detail (understandable as after all, that’s what your clients rely on not to mention pay for) and the number of pairs of eyes a marketing piece must be checked by before it’s signed off can prevent progress within the required timeline.
It can lead to rewrite after rewrite, forensic amendments that make almost no difference to the content or impact of the finished item but certainly prevent progress.
What do I absolutely not mean?
I am definitely not talking about making sure pieces are both factually and grammatically correct. You can’t afford to put anything out that isn’t absolutely correct in every way.
I am also not talking about rushing things through that you’re not happy with. You know what you like, and you know the tone of voice your clients react best to. If your immediate thought is “this isn’t quite right”, it isn’t quite right.
However, there does need to be some sort of reality check to get you to the point you can get your marketing piece out there. Prolonged arguments over exact phrasing, changing images because of personal preferences (or – dare I say – personal interests!), moving punctuation points, abbreviating then unabbreviating and right clicking to replace a word with a synonym just so you feel involved really isn’t helpful.
So as there is a balance that needs to be struck between being correct and brand/market congruent and hitting deadlines and keeping things moving, here are four rules we use to make sure perfection doesn’t prevent progress when we’re marketing lawyers and accountants:
1. Be realistic
The truth is people flick through brochures, scroll through LinkedIn, often only read the first paragraph of a blog or email and quickly forget what they’ve read anyway. They only remember whether it was useful to them, easy to use and needs follow up.
Again, this means everything needs to be factually/grammatically correct and everything needs to look impressively professional and brand congruent. Agonising over the minutiae of a sentence’s construction in committee doesn’t aid progress!
The other thing, from a more practical perspective, is as things are now more often produced online or in PDF rather than in hard copy, you can easily update and adapt your materials at the market and/or legislation changes and as your experience and understanding develops.
2. Work in small groups
The more pairs of hands/eyes that are involved, the more prolonged the review and sign off process will be. If you work in ones and twos, progress is immediately easier to achieve.
I know sometimes this makes people nervous. Surely there needs to be oversight? Surely the most senior people need to double check something before it goes out?
My response would be if you choose the right people, the people who know that subject area best, there shouldn’t be nervousness. This means the author’s won’t be trainees; they’ll be people who do the relevant work regularly for clients. But on the flip side, they also won’t be the most senior people either. The more senior people are the more they have on and that causes even more costly delays.
3. Employ a third (unconnected) pair of eyes
Readability may not be a word (!) but it’s definitely a non-negotiable. Jargon and technical detail can switch your audience off, not just from reading the piece in question but also from opening your future marketing pieces if you get a name for over complicated messages.
If you get a colleague from another department to read something before it goes, you’ll get an accurate steer on whether the key messaging comes through for someone who doesn’t have the depth of technical knowledge you have.
4. Measure results
It’s OK me sharing some generalisations but there is no more accurate steer on whether you’ve got it right than data.
Measure your opening rates for emails and invitations. Measure your engagement levels for social media posts. Measure the enquiries and client wins your brochures, white papers and blogs have generated. Measure the tenders that won a pitch and the pitches that converted.
The ones with most opens/engagements/enquiries are your blueprint. That’s when you’ve got it right so that is the approach you should be looking to develop.