There Are No Guarantees in Life — or in Marketing

Life is unpredictable. That’s why our parents likely warned us that there are no guarantees in life. None of us truly know what will happen next; however on several occasions, prospective clients have asked me for guarantees, which is what prompted this blog. These prospects want a guarantee on how many new clients I can bring them, or how many times they will see their name in the media after hiring us. The fact is, just like life, there are no guarantees in marketing either. Trust me, I wish I could give them a number, or tell them what the future holds, but at the end of the day, all I can bring to the table is my experience, expertise and confidence that we will achieve success.

If they still aren’t quite getting it, I put it in their terms. Take a lawyer as an example. When someone hires you as their lawyer, do you guarantee that you’ll win? No. You can feel very confident in the case, but promising a win is unethical, and if you lose, you’re going to have a very upset client on your hands. All you can do is put your experience to bear and do the best job you can. The same goes for PR and marketing.

Marketing is always going to be a little risky because it’s reliant on people’s behavior, which is notoriously difficult to predict. What works for another law firm isn’t necessarily going to work for you, and what works for you today won’t necessarily work for you a year from now. We’ll never be able to guarantee results because finding what works requires experimentation, and, quite simply, some experiments don’t have the outcomes you want.

That said, there are a few things you can control when it comes to your marketing plan:

  • Your expectations. It’s good to have high standards, but you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you think that reporters are going to start calling you nonstop or you’re going to be on the cover of every magazine. Set realistic, timely goals and ask your PR firm for examples of what they’ve achieved with other clients so you can manage your expectations.
  • Your budget. Money doesn’t solve every problem — but it helps. If you’re able to add to your marketing budget, it can open up more possibilities, and give you an edge over the competition. If you’re not getting the results you want, you might need to invest a little more in your marketing plan.
  • Your firm. Again, nothing is certain, but you’re setting yourself up for success if you hire a firm with a long and proven track record. At the very least, you know they have a good relationship with reporters and some tried-and-true techniques under their belt. Hiring an established firm is the closest you can get to a guarantee.

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