I Am Curious Yellow

First, if you understand the headline of this blog post, I know how old you are. Or what a pervert you are. Or both.

But I digress, and I haven't even started yet. I have written in the past about the Yellow Pages as an incredibly expensive and inefficient advertising vehicle for attorneys, and an outmoded communication vehicle, not to mention an environmental faux pas

IMG_0232  And yet, within the past week or so, we have taken delivery in my office of three Yellow Books, two Verizon phone directories, six from Embarq, and one slightly smaller one from Ogden Publications (EZtoUseBlueBook.com) complete with a magnet stuck to the cover and a little logo with a green leaf and the text "Eco-Friendly Size."

If you're still with me, that's 12 directories for one office. My building has a dozen or so offices in it. Many of them are closed for the holidays, and so I can see, outside each door in the hallway, a stack of telephone directories.

I talked to one of my clients about it. He has ads in the yellow pages of two different phone directories, and hates it. Says he doesn't get anything like his money's worth from the ads, and that he's much rather use that money on other marketing methods. So why doesn't he? "I'm not sure," he says. "I guess I'm afraid not to be in there, when all the other lawyers are. One day soon the phone directories will die and I, for one, will be happy not to have to pay them any longer." 

Weight Loss, Marketing, And The Magic Pill

There is, apparently, no big secret to losing weight successfully. (And believe me, I'm no expert. I struggle with it, the same as most of America.) It seems that if you consume fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight —guaranteed. With the exception of people who have illnesses, this is a universally effective strategy. It's usually translated into plain English as "eat less (or smarter) and move more."

The best way to execute this strategy and achieve the results you want is also well-known. What you have to do is to implement certain behaviors consistently over time. Make these changes and then do them for three months, or six months, or a year — and you will achieve your goal. After you have done so, you implement a modified version of these same behaviors and you will stay where you want to be. 

But most of us don't want to hear this truth. Instead, we want a magic pill. The one that will lose us 30 pounds in 30 days without diet or exercise — without making any changes, and without having to perform them consistently. We are suckers for the latest diet book, the latest fad, the latest weight-loss guru, the latest TV show, the latest exercise DVD, the latest supplement. Some of the advice in these books and programs is incontrovertible. Some of us follow this advice and get results. Some of us even achieve our goals. Few of us, apparently, stay there. 

Welcome to the world of marketing. 

I long-ago noticed that most successful marketers were those who are most consistent. They seemed to accept that marketing was a normal and ordinary part of their business model, just like book-keeping, or customer service — not something to be done occasionally or sporadically. I tell my clients, "If your marketing is a little here and a little there, expect your results to be a little here and a little there."

As with the diet industry, the field of marketing is full of gurus, experts, and inspirational figures. I have nothing negative to say about most of these folks. It could be argued that I am one. The problem is that good advice, even good education, is only part of the battle. The real key is implementation. Few of us (and very few attorneys) are true do-it-yourself-ers. (I always imagine handing blueprints for a house to someone, pointing them at Home Depot, and saying "Go for it.")

Unfortunately, not all of the gurus and experts are created equal. Some give advice or coaching. Some give a self-interested strategy. (For example, if I own a newsletter company, then the answer to every marketing problem is "You need a newsletter.") And some are selling the magic pill ("Buy our software and double your income in a month!" or "Join our SEO program and be on page one of Google next week!"). Not to mention all the people promising to reveal "secrets" while giving away "free gift number one" and trying to get you to sign up for their platinum inner-sanctum illuminati program. 

If Einstein supposedly (I can find no real attribution) said "Time is money" then in marketing, the truism is "time or money." You can accept the good advice offered by the many knowledgeable marketing experts out there and spend the time and effort that are required to implement that advice — or you can hire someone to help you implement. 

Either way, just like with losing weight, it's going to require your commitment and consistent implementation. If you find that discouraging, you shouldn't. Remember, if you do the right things, you can't miss. If that's not exciting enough, I have a magic pill to sell you. 

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

I'm not sure where this originated or by whom it was written. I came by it via Jennifer McCoy on the Solosez listserve:

The Night Before Christmas….Lawyer Version

    Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter "the House") a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to, a mouse.

    A variety of foot apparel, e.g. stockings, socks, etc., had been affixed by and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick a/k/a St. Nicholas a/k/a Santa Claus (hereinafter "Claus") would arrive at sometime thereafter.

    The minor residents, i.e. the children, of the aforementioned House were located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations, i.e. dreams, wherein visions of confectionary treats including, but not limited to, candies nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams. Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as "I"), being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the party of the second part (hereinafter "Mama"), and said Mama had retired for a sustained period of sleep. (At such time, the parties were clad in various forms of headgear, e.g. kerchief and cap.) 

    Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, i.e. the lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstances. The party of the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance. At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter "the Vehicle") being pulled

and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be, and in fact was, the previously referenced Claus. Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen (hereinafter "the Deer"). (Upon information and belief, it is further asserted that an additional

co-conspirator named "Rudolph" may have been involved.)

    The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the chimney. Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack

containing a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys and other unknown items. He was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations. Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stockings of the minor children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts.  (Said items did not, however, constitute "gifts" to said minors pursuant to the applicable provisions of the U.S. Tax Code.) Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as "lookouts". Claus immediately departed for an unknown destination. However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said House, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim: "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night." Or words to that effect.