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Lessons from a Mouse and Hamster – Marketing Is All About Context

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I’m not squeamish about rodents.  As a youngster, I raised several dozen pet mice and even now, as an adult I find my daughter’s Chinese dwarf hamster, Puck completely irresistable  Yet this morning, while out walking the dog, I screamed with fright when a tiny little field mouse scurried across my path.

Why does a loose wild mouse terrify me whereas I don’t mind cuddling a mouse-like hamster?  In larg part, I think it’s the context:  the mouse appeared unexpectedly and caught me off guard.  And seeing the mouse in the wild evoked visions of wild rats, which have creeped me out ever since I read The_Plague back in college.  By contrast, the hamster lives in a cute Habi-trail cage, he smells of the sweet sawdust where he makes his nest and he scurries happily on a little orange wheel.  Nothing scary about him.

When it comes to marketing, context matters.  The pitch that may work for a consumer client may fall flat when we approach a business.  A technique that stands out in one particular niche and distinguishes us may be so over-used in another area that it just gets lost in the noise.  As someone who practices in multiple pratice areas – I serve consumer clients, mom and pop businesses corporate clients and municipalities and law firms – I’ve been giving some thought to what type of approach fits best for a given context.  At the same time, I find that some of the marketing materials that I read don’t take context into account, but instead, assume, a one size fits all approach.

Do you think that there’s a “killer app” when it comes to marketing a law practice, a single technique that can guarantee success?  Or are the types of tools that work in some fields versus others as different as mice and men? I’m happy to hear your comments below.

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