Bart, Lisa, Homer and Your Law Firm

There’s a classic Simpsons episode that starts with the kids harassing Homer to take them to the local water park. After days of incessantly repeating their request, an irate Homer relents and agrees to take them – on the condition that they just stop asking.

Annoying as this might be, you have to grant the kids one thing: they know how to stay “on message.”

I bring this up because it reminds me of legal marketing in a roundabout way. This industry isn’t like retail. (As someone who spent a decade with a major Minnesota-based electronics retailer, I’ve seen the differences firsthand.) It’s pretty tough to pull a magic lever, send out an ad and see results in the short term. Sure, some exceptions apply. But for the most part law firm marketing requires a long-term view that includes a consistent message, delivered repeatedly to the audience you desire.

“Will you take us to Mt. Splashmore?”
“Will you take us to Mt. Splashmore?”
“Will you take us to Mt. Splashmore?”

Yeah, maybe Bart and Lisa took their campaign a bit too far. But, hey, they got results.

In contrast, I’ve seen a lot of firms take a too-timid approach to their marketing only to be disappointed in the outcome. They hold themselves back with low-volume advertising that sends a message a few times, but never really makes an impact because no one sees it. They resist expanding their reach, despite evidence that clients come from all corners of the internet – and quickly. Or they engage in new (to them) tactics like social media, but only halfheartedly. They dabble rather than master.

Think back on your marketing efforts from the past year. Was there anything you tried that didn’t wind up netting you the result you wanted? Is there a chance you just didn’t put enough oomph behind it? Could it be that you didn’t give it enough time to actually work?

To be fair, not every tactic works for every firm in every market. But in general legal marketing these days requires an integrated approach to put your firm’s unique message in front of your audience again and again. Not to harangue them about calling your firm, but to make them aware of you – even if they don’t currently need you.

Think of Homer. You can be sure he doesn’t need Google to find a “water park near me.”

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