Later this month I will be co-presenting with Jordan Furlong at the ACLEA Mid-Year Meeting in New Orleans. Our topic is using social media as part of your web presence and your overall marketing strategy. This prompted me to write a paper (for the handouts) on Marketing 2.0. I wanted to put a stake in the ground on how marketing is evolving in general and use that as a foundation for us to explore the value of various social media options in the presentation. I am breaking the article up in to three pieces for the blog and adding in some editorial (in italics) about how each article segment impacts or applies to the legal market.
Marketing, as we know it now, was born in the mid 20th century. The growth of radio and TV provided the means and impetus to get the attention of customers and persuade them to purchase products and services. In those days the limiting factors were the scarcity of marketing channels. We had 3 commercial TV stations and a limited number of radio stations. There were daily, weekly and monthly papers and magazines as well. But the main point here is that the owners of the distribution channels were in a position to determine who had access to their growing list of listeners, readers and viewers.
The scarcity of marketing channels has been even more pronounced for lawyers due to their late arrival to the marketing world (Bates in 1977) and the lack of knowledge on where their customers look for product information. This scarcity situation lead to lawyer referral service channels via bar associations and ultimately, the ubiquitous local TV ads for personal injury lawyers. Even today lawyers use of traditional marketing channels is quite limited. Their advertising dollars tend to be focus on client trade publications and other narrow channel options.
Over the past 10 or so years, this scarcity situation was changed dramatically. Now what is scarce is customers’ time and attention. The number of potential channels for delivering content to the market is now effectively infinite. So as a marketer, instead of competing for space in the channels, you are competing for position in the various channels along with individual customer’s attention.
The challenge of being late to the game is compounded in the web 2.0 space. As lawyers find the need to actually compete for position on the web, their lack of market knowledge about their customers is a tremendous handicap. Additionally their style and impulse is one-direction marketing. They are used to being the expert who others come to. The primary marketing experience for lawyers is letting customers know they are experts and thus someone they should hire. In an environment where the ability to even spot your customer is a basic skill, the ability to actually get one’s attention in the mass chaos of web content is well beyond lawyers’ current skill-set.
However the web is full of opportunities and resources for lawyers to easily access. So there is hope for playing catch up.
In Part Two of the series, we will look at the interactive nature of web 2.0 marketing options and explore the impact of customers participating in the marketing dialog.