Famous NASCAR driver Robby Gordon loves racing, but he likes to make money and knows how to do it. He may not have the best finish times, but he probably became a financial success quicker than anybody else on the NASCAR circuit. What’s his secret? Robby Gordon turned traditional priorities upside down or, rather, right side up. Robby said, “I own a marketing company that happens to race cars”. Robby obviously spends a considerable amount of time with marketing. He recently spent three days mentoring the owner of a floundering racecar school to appear on a great new television show for small-business entrepreneurs, The Turnaround on CNN. He also knows something else, how to adapt with the times.
Nothing is ever static. Everything changes. For instance, the method of law firm advertising has changed from giving out a business card to advertising in newspapers to advertising on TV. As with everything else, lawyer advertising will continue to change. Many businesses can say that they’ve been in business for over 20 years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are successful. It just means they’re surviving. The move from survival to success comes with the ability to adapt to change.
The really successful law firms also know these two principles. While some lawyers were handing out their business cards, others were investing money for frequent mailings to lawyers and advertising in Bar Association magazines and publications seeking referrals from lawyers. These firms approached marketing aggressively and then adapted to changing times when they began advertising to the public. One such firm was Schneider Kleinick & Weitz in New York. This firm became a powerhouse by seeking cases from other lawyers. I frequently received mailings from them advertising the merits of their firm and asking me to refer cases. Later they merged with Philip Damashek, another powerhouse. The new firm apparently formed another entity, becoming the New York “franchisee” of Johnnie Cochran and began advertising on TV using commercials featuring Johnnie Cochran.
As has been seen over the last few years, advertising for lawyer services is not going away and will continue to increase. Advertising is an important part of marketing and should be considered along with many other aspects of marketing. While you can outsource your marketing and advertising needs to an advertising agency, you need to spend time with marketing. If you’re just looking to make a living, giving your cards out will continue to work, contrary to the fears of some lawyers. If you’re looking for a level of success substantially higher than just making a living, the lesson to learn is “own a marketing company that happens to provide lawyer services”, have an open mind and always watch for and adapt to changing times.