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More cheese. Less whiskers.

By December 16, 2019March 11th, 2024Marketing for Lawyers

Marketing is a cat-and-mouse game (metaphorically speaking).

This metaphor was created by someone I call the Yoda of marketing, which is to say his physical appearance might be unusual, but he’s very wise and incredibly successful.

His name is Dean Jackson.

He’s well known among people who do online marketing, or anyone who is a serious student of marketing in general.

He’s fabulously wealthy, but you’d never know it because he doesn’t seem to care much about flaunting wealth.

Mostly, he seems to like helping small business owners crack the code of how to market effectively.

One of his podcasts is called More Cheese, Less Whiskers. I highly recommend it.

So why does he use the cheese and the whiskers metaphor?

Well, to make people realize a harsh reality, namely how difficult it is to get people to warm up to you when they first learn about you.

It’s incredibly hard when you’re “trying to start a relationship with somebody who doesn’t yet know you, like you and trust you.”

Yoda, Dean continues:

“There’s always this uncertainty when people are getting started. So, I’ve been really thinking about how that dynamic comes into play, especially when you’re trying to get somebody to start something for the first time.

I’ve read a lot of articles about psychology and the human interaction dynamics, and one of the things that I read and found very interesting is the reason that mice are used as test subjects in scientific experiments is that their brains are very similar to our brains. They’re much smaller, of course, but as far as it comes to their automatic reactions to things, their biology, they’re very similar to the way humans interact.

I started thinking about that. You’ve heard other people talk about how people are afraid and you’ve got to kind of visualize your prospects as mice that are afraid of you . It really struck me that the two prime directives of a mouse, that they come preprogrammed with, are two things: 1) to get cheese, and 2) to avoid cats.

If you boil it right down, that’s the two prime directives of a mouse. They go about their whole lives just looking for the cheese and being hyper-vigilant and avoiding the cat. That’s how they live the longest possible life .”

In other words, if you want to market effectively you have to deal with the brutal reality that your prospective clients are like skittish mice who don’t want to be pitched to.

I wrote about this in a blog post about Blair Warren’s Rule #1:

People resist unwelcome attempts to persuade.

And these days people are bombarded with unwelcome attempts to persuade (i.e. marketing and advertising).

What they’re NOT used to is people having a genuine interest in helping them first, and foremost. Which is what Dean Jackson advocates, and exemplifies.

Hopefully my “marketing” is in line with Dean Jackson’s approach.

It seems to be, at least from the feedback I get from people who follow me.

For example, after my post about persuasion, I got a nice email from an attorney in Towson, Maryland who wrote as follows:

“First off I wanted to sincerely say I appreciate everything you do. I’ve copied my friend xxxxx to this email (small firm lawyer) because he told me about you, we talk about your trainings and emails all of the time. We have learned so much from your teachings and guidance.

You’ve teach about building trust. I want to honestly say that I trust what you do very much because you give so much knowledge, information and resources away generously. You constantly provide people with other resources (Lee Rosen, Magnetic Marketing, Building a Story Brand, etc.). This gives me the impression that you really care about people and helping them.

You are not trying to corner the market and convince people you have all of the information they need to turn their practice around: so they should just use you. You generously give so much away it builds trust.”


This is what Dean Jackson preaches.

Start all conversations by giving people helpful advice for free, and showing them that you genuinely care.

Of course, I can’t teach you how to genuinely care for people.


If you DO genuinely care to help people, then I can help you in the same way that Dean Jackson helped me.

First, I can help you understand why the messaging (i.e. marketing) that most lawyers do is inauthentic and therefore ineffective.

In short, too many whiskers and not enough cheese.

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