Ohhhh Ruby, don’t take your love to town.

ugly garbage

23 Feb Ohhhh Ruby, don’t take your love to town.

I just HAVE to say something about a recent post I read on LinkedIn. A popular and successful marketing consultant was referring to the following article: http://www.lawbusinessmentors.com/obamas-email-campaign-proves-ugly-sells/.

I believe the point of the LinkedIn post and the article is to recommend direct response marketing for lawyers and to illustrate that ugly, casual language (even profanity here and there) are not only appropriate but highly effective forms of marketing communications for lawyers.  Although I believe that direct response marketing, if done carefully, could be a terrific part of your overall marketing plan, I couldn’t disagree more with the “ugly and casual” approach for professionals.

Will such a strategy work for you and your firm?  Well, I can hold my breath and try to be open-minded about this, and even then, I must say, it DEPENDS.  Ugly might “sell” in the short term, but how will it affect your firm’s image, reputation, and overall success in the long term.  I won’t even touch how it might be viewed by your state’s Bar Association.  I’ll leave that for a lawyer to address.  But if you decide this sort of marketing communications is legal and doesn’t violate any Bar Association code of ethics, then I still say it depends…..here are some decision points to consider:

Decision Points:
1. Target audience: Do your firm’s demographics include families and individuals living in high crime inner cities? Then you might be a candidate for using this strategy.
2. Does “ugly and casual” match your prospects’ and clients’ expectations?  Do they expect ugly and casual?  Then you might be a candidate for this strategy. {Or do they expect and demand professional and polished?]
3. Does an ugly and casual approach fit in with your overall “ugly and casual” marketing plan? Then you may be a candidate.
4. Will “ugly and casual” help your conservative associates as well as your liberal staff, and will it enhance their image with their current clients?
5. Do you want to use “ugly and casual” to help you recruit new ‘ugly and casual’ rainmakers to your firm?  Then this strategy may work for you!

Here are 5 good reasons to consider such a strategy carefully:
1. It may make you look bad, stupid or both.
2. It may annoy, at best, or insult, at worst, at least one-half of your audience.
3. An ugly and casual approach may attract ugly and casual clients.  Is that what you want?
4. Such a strategy may make you look desperate.  Many recognize shock tactics as a plea for attention.  For professionals, that could be a signal to the market that your practice is in decline.
5. If this is not your true personality, it will be difficult to keep it going without getting uglier.  I mean how do you top profanity?

So…..if I may quote a song with a similar plea: “Ruby,” please don’t take your love to town.” And lawyers, please don’t take your marketing to just any marketer.  Choose wisely.  If you want to know more, go to: www.askjulianne.com and ask me a question! Or comment here.
Master the technology.  Conquer your market.

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