Legal Marketing

At 7th annual Avvo Lawyernomics, the emphasis will be on ‘unmarketing’

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Scott Stratten, president of UnMarketing, has an interesting analogy for lawyer marketing in an increasingly competitive marketplace: One of his earliest jobs was serving as a sales training manager for a bubble wrap company.

“The thing about bubble wrap is that everyone needs it, so my job is to tell you why mine is better than the others,” Stratten says. “In a way, it’s similar to the law. After all, no one ever said that there’s a lack of lawyers. So why should clients hire you over someone else?”

Stratten will serve as one of the keynote speakers at the seventh annual Avvo Lawyernomics conference, which kicks off on Thursday at the Wynn Las Vegas. (The ABA Journal is a media co-sponsor of the event.)

Stratten, a former music industry marketer, founded his agency in 2002 as a result of his frustration with traditional forms of “interruptive” marketing, such as mass mailings, billboards, untargeted ads and commercials. “Maybe you’ll find five people out of millions that actually want your product,” Stratten says. “I figured there had to be a better way.”

Stratten says his concept of “unmarketing,” which he has written about in a series of best-selling books, should form the bulk of his keynote address, scheduled for Friday. “The mistake people make when they think of unmarketing is that it’s not marketing. It absolutely is,” Stratten says. “The key is to put yourself out in front of your audience so that when they want something they think of you.”

Stratten maintains it is more important for lawyers to establish themselves as experts in their field than worrying about being on top of every new social media tool that comes out. If lawyers want to blog or utilize social media, they should use it to demonstrate their expertise. “If I’m hiring an immigration lawyer, I want to be able to read some articles from this person,” Stratten says.

He notes that when he recently had to hire an entertainment lawyer for a documentary project he’s working on, he asked around for recommendations, and once he got a name, he did research to see what kind of work that lawyer had done. “Sixty percent of buying decisions are made before the client even reaches out,” Stratten says. “This lawyer didn’t even know we were considering her. When we called her, it was more just to confirm to us that she was the one we wanted to hire.”

Stratten’s keynote fits into what Avvo founder and CEO Mark Britton describes is the overall theme of this year’s conference: “Meet the New Legal Consumer.”

Unlike the previous two years, this year’s conference will not feature an entire day devoted to questions about Avvo. Instead, Britton says Avvo employees will be on hand to answer any questions that lawyers might have about maximizing their presence on the site. Another change this year is a greater number of breakout sessions, including seminars on using video to attract new clients, understanding metrics and eliminating inefficiencies.

Britton, who is expecting a crowd of nearly 500 lawyers, vendors and legal professionals, says there is a sense from consumers that lawyers aren’t there for them.

“Consumers feel there is a special lawyer club that they don’t have any access to,” Britton says. “That’s why you’ve seen massive rise in the do-it-yourself movement.”

He hopes to get lawyers to realize that consumers are demanding better information, on-demand services and more accessibility.

“These things are not nuisances,” Britton says. “These are things that, if you truly understand what consumers are asking for, you can bring more business into your firm.”

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