Ten Part Legal Marketing Series

Part 10: When Consumer Products Don’t Deliver: Holding the Manufacturers to Account

ten-partBut it doesn’t work the way they said it would…

Think how often you get out of the car, and drag an armload of plastic shopping bags into the house. Leaving aside the groceries, we haul in–and dump on the kitchen counter–clothes, books, TVs, laptops, desktops, hand-held PCs, monitors, all manner of computer and electronic games and gizmos, cell phones, small appliances, and goodness knows what all else. That’s just the stuff that you can lay out on the counter. That’s before we even start on vehicles and large appliances.

Take just one huge retailer. For the year 2003, Wal-Mart reported $256 billion in sales. Wal-Mart employs about 1.2 million Americans in about 3,400 stores across the country. As to the number of individuals who say they shop at least weekly at Wal-Mart? Well, apparently that’s 100 million people. That’s a lot of shopping bags landing on kitchen counters.

So far we’re just talking about the actual “stuff” we bring into the house. We also buy “financial products” and acquire phone cards and credit cards, all of which come with lawyer-written fine print.

With this volume of buying and selling, it is no wonder that some of the stuff doesn’t work, or doesn’t work the way it should, or even ruins our other stuff. As a result, there is plenty of room for consumer litigation.

What’s $7 x 3.3 million

Seagate Technology’s experience after exaggerating the qualities of one model of hard drive made the news last week. A story from San Jose, CA, reported that Seagate has agreed to reimburse potentially millions of customers and pay up to $1.79 million in plaintiff’s attorney fees to settle a lawsuit after it was accused of “overstating the data-storage capacity” of its hard drives sold between March 22, 2001 and Dec. 31, 2006.

The report said that Seagate sold 3.3 million hard drives in U.S. retail stores during that period. The average purchase price of those machines was $140, and Seagate has agreed to pay the purchasers 5% of the price–or about $7–in cash.

(This must be one of the reasons behind Wal-Mart’s generous “return and refund” policy. Better to pay $140 to the customer than $1.79 million to his attorneys.)

TV vs. Internet Marketing

The plaintiff side lawyers in the Seagate action almost certainly used the internet to marshall potential clients.

And what about you? Are you marketing your legal services on the web yet? Wondering what internet marketing could produce for you in the way of client leads? And how fast? And at what cost? Should you switch your TV advertising budget to internet advertising?

Here are some things to consider:

  • Marketing experts now tell us that the effectiveness of television advertising is declining, and that more and more advertisers are increasing their internet advertising budgets.
  • Television watching is on the decline, with young adults now spending more time surfing the Web than watching TV.
  • The average TV watcher, remote in hand, can no longer be relied upon to stick around for the commercial.
  • Web surfers are actively looking for information and entertainment on the Net, and therefore come face to face with the advertiser precisely because there’s a link between their interests and the advertiser’s product.
  • Approximately 80% of U.S. adults are now online.

Internet technology is changing daily, and unless you are an internet technologist, you now need to rely on others to keep you informed.

Assuming your firm has a website, there is no end of money you can throw at it to make it interesting, interactive, informative and persuasive. In addition to the money, you yourself can spend many hours dealing with the content and design of your site.

How OLM can help

Web marketing can be easier and more economical, however.

With the help of OLM, through its online news magazine LawyersandSetlements.com (LAS), you can start or upgrade your online marketing in a number of ways

OLM offers you:

  • Help in creating or updating your own website
  • A defined share of all client leads, retrieved through LAS, in your chosen area or specialty, for the length of your marketing campaign
  • Listing in the magazine’s directory of lawyers
  • Ad space in LAS, and
  • Content links for your own website

With web marketing, you know that the people who see your ads are potentially interested in what you have to offer–that is, they are not going to look for news about the Seagate lawsuit unless they actually care about it.

Online legal marketing is a new door you can open for clients–clients who are lined up at that door. You can’t afford to leave it closed.

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