I came across a quote from John Cleese reflecting on the open and closed thinking modes we all operate in.
"We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous.
The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel-visioned. Most people, unfortunately spend most of their time in the closed mode. Not that the closed mode cannot be helpful.
If you are leaping a ravine, the moment of takeoff is a bad time for considering alternative strategies. When you charge the enemy machine-gun post, don't waste energy trying to see the funny side of it. Do it in the "closed" mode.
But the moment the action is over, try to return to the "open" mode—to open your mind again to all the feedback from our action that enables us to tell whether the action has been successful, or whether further action is need to improve on what we have done. In other words, we must return to the open mode, because in that mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent."
I think the quote struck a chord with me because far too many lawyers develop and assess their marketing in a closed mode.
Execution vs. Strategy Development
While the execution of your marketing strategy can take place in a closed mode, the development of that strategy, and subsequent analysis, should be performed in an open, more creative mode. You need to be able to connect the dots with your marketing. You need to be able to understand how the various components of your strategy are fitting together, how they are all interlinked.
If this is done in a closed mode, you are more likely to focus on a single aspect of the marketing without understanding how that component is effecting everything else. For instance, if you are focused only on your rankings for a few keywords you might overlook the relevancy of those keywords to your practice. Or perhaps you'll fail to see that the keywords are fine but once people get to your site they are not converting into phone calls. Or maybe you are getting phone calls, but there is no one to actually answer the phone so the leads are falling on the floor.
The point is that in order to get a big picture view of your marketing you have to be in an open mode. You need to look at the feedback you get from your marketing (assuming you are measuring and tracking your results as you should) and make an honest assessment at what is going on. As Cleese says, in an open mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent.