In Your Marketing, Watch the Hole, Not the Donut by Michael DeLon | Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association

Editor’s Note: This blog post was part of the Summer 2015 edition of the Insiders’ Journal, one of the benefits given to our PILMMA members. If you’re interested in getting your own PILMMA membership for access to content like this and much more, visit us here.

One of my favorite things to do are have my “Daddy-Daughter Donut Dates” with my daughter, Elliana. At least once a month, she and I head out to the local donut shop for a yummy sugar-filled treat and some one-on-one time together.

These are wonderful times to build memories as we block out the rest of the world and focus entirely on each other. Over time, we learn more about each other, build strong connections and come to know what the other likes. These dates are great for our relationship, but they are also instructive to the marketing of your law firm.

Look for the hole and find a way to fill it.

With all the varieties of donut available, some people find it difficult to choose which donut they’d like. But for Elliana and me, the decision is made very quickly.

She likes the cake donut with strawberry icing and sprinkles. I prefer the yeast donut with maple icing. Even though our donuts are different in many ways, there’s at least one thing they have in common They both have a hole in the middle, and therein lies one of the secrets to marketing.

As you seek to attract new clients, don’t be lured into the trap of being “bigger” or “better” or having “more experience” than others. These clichés mean little to your prospect. The only thing they relate to is what is new or different. To forge your position in the mind of your market, you need to look for the hole and find a way to fill it.

The hole may be observed in the marketplace, but it is always filled in the mind. When Detroit automakers were busy pumping out long, lean cars, another company noticed the hole and filled it with a short, fat and ugly car — the Volkswagen Beetle. Instead of going big, VW told the market to “Think Small.” It was a brilliant move that put the VW Bug in driveways across the nation. They saw the hole and filled it.

You, too, can follow the pattern set by VW and many other savvy marketers. You need to pull back from your daily routine and look around. Discover how your market really thinks, what messages they are being fed and where you can find a hole. Create a way to fill that hole and then communicate that way to your market simply and clearly.

The VW Beetle was a success not because it was the first car to market, nor because it was just like every other car, “only better.” No, the VW Beetle was a success because someone in the marketing department had a donut date, noticed the hole and found a way to fill it.

Take someone you care about for a donut date.

Then, invest some time thinking about the holes that are present in your market. Consider how you can position yourself uniquely in the mind of your prospect as the best solution to fill the hole. And, prepare to see your “driveway” filled with new customers wanting what you have to offer.

Marketing is less about what’s taking place in the market and more about what’s happening in the mind.

Position yourself properly in the mind and you’ll gain more of the market.

Enjoy your date.


Michael DeLon is an author and the president of Paperback Expert. As an expert positioning firm they help clients create a book in 24 hours and employ marketing strategies to position themselves as the expert in their market to enjoy sustained business growth. You can request a free copy of Michael’s book On Marketing by visiting Contact Michael by email at or phone at (501) 539-0038.


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