Starbucks Sells More than Coffee-Redux

Almost a decade ago, I drafted a blog post entitled Starbucks Sells More than Coffee.  For a number of reasons, this has been one of the most popular posts on my blog.  For starters it doesn’t hurt to use a strong brand name like Starbucks in your marketing.  But clearly, something I wrote in that post has resonated and stood the test of time.

Almost 10 years has passed, and the world has only gotten more complicated. We have so many more channels available for communicating with the public and with our networks.  It is harder than ever to get people’s attention and cut through the “noise” of social media. It is with this in mind that I am referring back to this post and adding some additional commentary.

As I’ve mentioned in several posts, I recently joined a terrific business networking group called ProVisors . I’ve learned so much from the group and I’ve also met some great people. One of the great pieces of wisdom that I have gotten from ProVisors is the importance of choosing your lane. There are many service providers (lawyers and otherwise) who provide similar services.  It is therefore very important to define yourself in a way that differentiates you from the competition.

One of my new ProVisors friends is Michael Katz, Chief Penguin at Blue Penguin Development . Michael provides a host of marketing services to small professional services businesses. But when he shows up at Provisors, he identifies himself as someone who does newsletters. By choosing this lane, he has made himself more memorable. Clearly, he does lots of other things but he delivers a focused message at our meetings.

I’ve also gotten great advice on this from another ProVisors member Beth Masterman, a lawyer who does executive coaching.  She has helped me to understand that my own version of coaching really combines coaching and consulting.

In this vein, I define myself as a recruiter and coach who provides counsel to counsel. It is the name of my blog, my podcast and it is the URL for my website. It defines me. It differentiates me from other recruiters. I am a candidate-focused recruiter who provides career and marketing counseling/coaching to lawyers.  I work with a lot of mid-sized and large law firms as well as life sciences and technology companies.  My coaching clients are senior associates and partners at major firms.

In truth, I also work with small law firms, financial services companies and just about any company that is looking to hire an in-house attorney.  I also coach lawyers who are more junior and attorneys in corporate law departments.  But I leave this out when I am introducing myself.

So in your marketing, think long and hard about how you want to be known. Perhaps you are a litigator who handles commercial disputes, real estate disputes, personal injury and a host of other things that may come in the door. But if you don’t choose your lane, will you really be remembered?  You don’t have to limit yourself to one type of work for one kind of client.  But if you list 5 types of work for 6 types of clients (because you don’t want to miss out on anything), paradoxically, you will muddle your message.

Less is more in marketing.  You can’t be known for everything.  Come up with a message that clearly defines your lane at networking functions, one-on-one conversations or when you produce content about your practice area.  You can always take a case that falls outside of your lane.  This is how you will stand out from the pack.

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