Budget Marketing – Lessons on Kindness and Marketing From My Grandfath…

Budget Marketing – Lessons on Kindness and Marketing From My Grandfath…


Sometimes, the best ideas do not come from business school, social media sights or already this author (hard to believe as that may be). Sometimes looking back to the traditions of the past can teach us a thing or two about marketing and connecting with people.

I bring this up at this time of year because two of the most important marketing ideas, and life lessons, I learned as a kid was from my Grandfather. He was an attorney in Boston during the days when attorneys did not advertise. Zero “have you been in an accident?’ commercials. No “have you taken XYZ medication and ended up with tongue warts?” commercials. Back then, so I have been told, a lawyer would have been shunned by the complete Bar just for placing a yellow pages ad. As an attorney, I understand the constraints that tie the hands of those in the legal profession looking to market himself or herself. already today, it can be a challenge to promote a law firm’s sets and stay in compliance with the Rules of specialized Conduct. It was already more difficult back in the days my Grandfather was practicing. However, he did grow his practice and he did connect with people despite these limitations. The way he marketed himself now seems so easy and so obvious. More importantly, it was so effective.

He knew that the only way he was going to get clients was by information of mouth. He had his reputation and that was all. No PR firms or Image Consultants to help people communicate back then. As a Lawyer, you had your skill and knowledge to help your reputation spread. I was always amazed at how well known my Grandfather was. And here, in this article, I am going to give away the secret he taught me FOR FREE. The secret to his success, never before revealed (except every other St. Patrick’s Day when I write an article like this), was: be nice to people.

He knew that his success was tied to his ability to connect with people and have them remember him. One way he did that was by being genuinely interested in everybody he met throughout his day. Whether a estimate, opposing counsel, the clerks or the doormen, he not only treated them with equal respect, but also was genuinely interested in their lives. He took the time to find out about the doorman’s son’s 8th grade science project in addition as the tough case the estimate just finished. People were people. He gave love and respect and in return, received love and respect.

Take Away: show everyone you come into contact with respect and take an interest in their lives, and people will not only respect you, they will remember you.

My Grandfather’s 15 minutes of fame came every year about this time. St. Patrick’s Day. For those of you living outside of the Boston area, you might not appreciate what a HUGE deal St. Patrick’s Day is here. The City of Boston is literally closed while one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parades winds itself by the (always confusing, frequently one-way) streets of Boston. Well, back in the day before email and Twitter, my Grandfather discovered a fun and effective way to capitalize on the St. Patrick’s Day occurrence. True to form, he did so by giving. However, the gift was rare. Green bagels.

Now, remember that I am talking about the 50’s and 60’s here. Not only were bagels comparatively unknown, green ones were unheard of. In fact, it was such a novelty that every year, the Boston newspapers ran stories of his green gift giving. It was a marketing campaign with great PR value and one that stuck in people’s minds long after the last green morsel was devoured.

Take Away: marketing does not have to be costly or complicate. It just needs to convey the right message to the right people at the right time in a noticable way.

What rare marketing tools have you seen used? Please proportion them. Post a comment here, visit our blog or email me. We would love to hear your stories. After all, no one of us is as smart as all of us!

Lastly, have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. (If you are looking for me, I will be at the Black Rose raising a pint and a green bagel in gratitude to my wise Grandfather.)

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