What can B2B marketers learn from watching lawyer commercials?

By Jeff McClellan, Anthologie, Inc., www.anthologieworks.com

What is it about law firm commercials that both repel and attract us? (In the interest of full disclosure, our agency works with a Personal Injury law firm.) I’m not talking about every lawyer TV spot. But you know which ones I’m thinking of.

Mostly, the concepts and creative execution suck. But that doesn’t stop them from working.  And creativity is not the point. However, there are some things that P.I. lawyers do right that we should pay attention to.

Know the audience.
Think about your favorite lawyer commercial. It opens on some accident scene. These spots aren’t designed to reach everyone. They go right after injured victims. The script, graphics and production values are carefully chosen to appeal to a specific demographic. The imagery most firms use– guys in suits (some with bad haircuts), marble steps, crashed cars, leather-bound books, gavels, garish graphics – provide a visual shorthand to make the target sit up and take notice and the rest of us hit the remote. 

Understand what motivates the buyer.
Legal commercials focus on meeting a single, key audience need: getting compensated. These lawyers intimately understand the situation and motivation of their audience. They’re not shy about trumpeting personal experience beating insurance companies and earning big bucks for clients.

Own a position that’s top of mind.
Personal injury law is a fiercely competitive market going after a small segment of customers who have no brand loyalty, and usually no previous experience with the category. The TV creative is the only differentiator. It’s critical to link a consistent personality to the firm’s brand, usually the firm’s namesake, or Captain Kirk. According to attorneys, prospective clients don’t shop around in search of the best deal. People go with the first firm they call. And that’s why you remember “one call…” And now that that’s in your brain, let’s move on to a related principle.

Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.
Repeat the message. Repeat the execution. Repeat the tactic. What’s the reason for this madness? Gain top of mind awareness and reach the right people at the right time. These spots run on daytime TV and late at night when the “injured” parties are couch potatoing.

Exploit a media tactic.
If you’re injured, you can’t work and you don’t have a car. It doesn’t take a research genius to determine that TV is the best way to reach these poor souls. Also, it’s a sound media strategy to invest money in programming you can dominate, rather than spreading dollars among multiple outlets. 

Create an explicit call to action.
Making the phone ring is their bread and butter. They show and say the number at nausea. They make it easy to reach them. They hammer home that a call is free. The goal is to eliminate any barriers that might stop a potential client from contacting them.

Law firms spend a lot of money on advertising. They understand that to compete effectively they need to be in the same space as the competition. They want to be part of the noise. The biggest lesson that a B2B marketer can take from this advertising approach is this:  be just as visible as your competition. A danger for any brand, no matter how big, is to go dark. Because after going dark, brands turn into ghosts.


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