Competing lawyers/firms have noticeably begun to spend more on their advertising, I suspect in an effort to “keep up” with this large-spending, catchy slogan firm. Four of these competing firms have made a conscious effort to hint at/reference the competing lawyer’s catchy slogan in THEIR ads, basically saying, “We’re not ‘that guy,’ We’re better!”
Now, I have not spoken to any of these lawyers/firms, but I can guess how each of them view their current advertising strategy. The four competing firms all think they’re SO clever for the manner in which they’ve “attacked” the “catchy slogan” lawyer/firm, a “We showed him” mentality, while the “catchy slogan” lawyer/firm is likely laughing at them for all of the free advertising they have provided.
Each ad placed by one of these competing firms is really an ad for them AND the catchy slogan guy they are trying to overtake. Unless you have never heard of ANY of these lawyers/firms, it would be impossible not to realize firm B is trying to put down firm A. When you see the ad, you think of BOTH firms, not just the one.
My recommendation, for anyone listening (lawyers or small business owners) … Drop the “clever” innuendos and focus on your firm/business, and why consumers should choose it over another. Your ads should promote your business, and the unique attributes and strengths your business has to offer.
Focus on yourself, make it all about you. Do your best to NOT conjure up thoughts of competitors. Don’t spend your ads dollars to promote you and your competitor – That’s a little counter-productive, don’t you think?
Nobody likes to be wrong, or look “stupid” in front of a crowd, especially your boss. You don’t want others to think you don’t know what you’re doing. Many might try to stumble through an answer they hope sounds plausible, which leads to even more questions you also have no answers for. You’ve gone from “Wow” to “hope to get through” in just minutes.
Three words could have stopped the above described disaster – I don’t know. Many shy away from those words, feeling they have a negative connotation, as if not knowing the answer to every question is somehow unacceptable.
I had a former boss once tell me, “I’d prefer you just tell me you don’t know. I’ll know when your faking it, at which point, not only are you’re wasting everyone’s time, I’m losing trust in you.”
The last part of that statement is what stuck with me the most – Losing trust. I learned earlier on the best option was to admit I didn’t know, but reassure I would find out.
“That’s a great question. I don’t have the answer right now, but I’ll research it and get back to you on it.”
In one brief sentence I was able to address the question, assure I would answer it properly, save time AND preserve my reputation and trust.
Make sure when interacting with your marketing professionals they are giving you honest answers to your questions. Don’t be afraid to call them out if you think you’re getting a line of hot air, and at the same time, don’t be put-off by those who admit they don’t know.
In one instance, an agency co-owner spent an entire meeting explaining all the things wrong with our current marketing. “You’re on the wrong stations, in the wrong sections of the paper, don’t have the right message. You’re speaking to women, not men,” etc. The funny part – That year we decided to target much of our marketing towards women. He assured us our marketing was working, all the while telling us how wrong we were. Still makes me chuckle.
Everyone would come to these meetings ready to TELL us what we needed. Rarely did anyone come to these meetings to truly LISTEN to our needs. Their goal was to SELL a given product or service of THEIR business. My goal was to find the right fit for our business.
For all you small business owners out there who are approached by media and agency reps looking for “just a minute of your time,” here is some advice for you. As you LISTEN to what they have to say, make sure they are providing you the same courtesy. Are they asking questions? Are they the right questions? Do they show an interest in your business or industry?
Don’t be fooled or pressured by a folder containing an absurd amount of pages with colorful charts, enough statistics to make your head spin, and a proposed spending package with tremendous savings. Take your time, ask questions, and be sure the product/service being offered is truly right for you.
Read. Learn. Laugh.
Random thoughts, comments & opinions.