The problem with living in a complex, rapidly changing world is that many things are not as they seem.
Our brains want to simplify the world. But sometimes that’s dangerous.
Superficiality is not dependable enough, for me at least.
So, I prefer to dig deeper to make sure I understand what’s really going on.
And I’ve discovered, mostly the hard way, that…
The “learned” are not always as learned as they appear. Their seemingly well-intentioned advice is often flawed in ways that aren’t readily apparent.
And, when you follow that seemingly good advice, you often wind up sinking in quicksand.
What seems true and what actually is true are often very different things.
For example, I used to watch big-shot rainmakers show up at networking events, smiling profusely, making small talk, and generally being superficial.
And yet, this approach seemed to work well because they had a lot of business.
I believed that glad-handing superficiality was essential to marketing.
And I hated that. So, I assumed I’d always suck at marketing.
Not What It Seems
But then one day I discovered something by accident.
I started when I created a weblog (in March of 2002).
I wasn’t trying to learn about web marketing. I was just to try to wrap my head around this new thing (that lawyers, of course, were completely oblivious to).
I posted some random observations to the web as part of my experiment. And, guess what happened?
Some people were really interested in reading what I was saying.
People all over the world. People I never met, and never would meet in all likelihood.
They kept reading. And they told their friends.
And so more people came to my humble weblog.
That was completely bizarre to me. But, even more bizarre was…
Some of those people wanted to hire me to be their lawyer.
I mentioned this phenomenon to some learned old-school rainmakers in my firm.
They were skeptical.
”People will never hire a lawyer based on a website,” they scoffed.
I was dejected when heard that. I thought I was on to something.
They assured me I was not.
I accepted their opinion, even though I knew they had no idea how the web worked.
In short, I trusted their superficial assessment more than my own direct experience.
That was twenty years ago. But…
Flash forward twenty years
Those “learned” rainmakers all have websites now.
And now they scoff if they hear some lawyer suggest that web marketing isn’t worth doing.
Some of those old nay-sayers will now ask me for advice on marketing.
It’s weird how the world works, right?
Not What It Seems, Redux
Let’s be clear about something. It’s not easy to market yourself on the web now.
Because so many people are trying to do it now.
Even formerly nay-saying legal dinosaurs.
Of course, there’s a lot of lame web marketing out there, even from people who you’d assume would know better.
What you see now is a lot of lawyers postIng superficial, overly self-promotional pablum.
And they seem to believe this is good marketing.
But it’s not.
Too many people believe that marketing is about just getting people’s attention (i.e. glad-handing) when it’s actually much more than that.
Deep down you know this, right? Remember…
You need to look below the surface when you’re trying to understand something important. And marketing is obviously important.
In today’s complex world there’s a lot to learn. And, because the world is constantly changing, you have to keep on learning.
When it comes to marketing…
Here’s something I know for sure from direct experience.
If you want to market effectively, this is the most important thing.
Here’s something else I know.
Marketing these days is not easy.
But it’s not as hard as it might seem, if you do it the right way.
P.S. If you want a better practice, check out this Ultimate Guide.