I need all you big businesses to skip this blog post. I have a private message for smaller businesses.Blogs

Are they gone? Okay.

Rather than be intimidated by your bigger competitors, you should be smug in the knowledge that it is your nimbleness that permits you to clean their clocks. The Internet and the social networking it brings gives you a huge advantage.

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal reminded me of an incident that occurred when I was working as an associate at the world’s largest law firm, all those many years ago. The firm had just introduced email, and decided that in order to standardize the email addresses, all employees would use the initials from their first and middle names, followed by their last name, i.e., APMorris@hugefirm.com. But who knows the middle names of fellow employees? Every time you wanted to send an email to another Smallvsbig employee or provide the email address to someone else, you had to call the person and ask for their middle initial. Not very efficient.

At this firm, everyone had a printed firm directory sitting on their desk. Always the trouble maker, I suggested to management that we add the middle initial of everyone to the next printing of the firm directory. (Having an on-line directory was far too sophisticated, and would have required hours of training on how to access it.) I expected a resounding "doh!" to ring down from the management offices. Instead, a committee was formed to consider my proposal. Memos were distributed, taking a poll of the attitudes of the employees to the middle initial proposal. In the end, it was decided that publishing the middle initials was too invasive because some employees are sensitive about their middle names, and having them in print could lead to embarrassing questions. A policy was issued permitting employees to decide if their initials would be included in the directory. To send an email to anyone who had opted out required the old approach of picking up the phone and asking them for the information. This afforded them the opportunity to refuse to disclose the middle initial if they were uncomfortable with your request.

The WSJ article was discussing how many large companies are now considering adding blogs to their marketing mix. I’ve been blogging almost since the day the Internet went commercial. Not in the technical sense, because the feed system had not been established, but with the use of Frontpage I’d post my thoughts on my website whenever something noteworthy happened. Still do: http://www.toplawfirm.com/recent.html

These companies are just now getting to blogging, while you’ve been there done that and added Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites and techniques to your marketing mix. Keep your size advantage firmly in mind, and use it to stay in front of the plodding dinosaurs.