March 2003  Volume 29, Issue 2
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BOOKMARKS
edited by Milton W. Zwicker
 
 

The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet , 2nd ed. Gregory H. Siskind, Deborah McMurray and Richard P. Klau. (ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2002.) $79.95; LPM Section members: $69.95. PC: 511-0484. (800) 285-2221; www.lawpractice.org/catalog.


REVIEWED BY MICHAEL L. GOLDBLATT

It has been six years since publication of the first edition of The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. During that time, there has been an exponential growth in marketing on the Internet by law firms of all sizes. The focus on online marketing has been fueled by several trends, including intense competition for clients and the spread of Internet access to consumer and business users of desktop, laptop and handheld computers. The second edition has updated the content of the first edition and added information about new technologies and developments. The result is a thorough explanation of how to use Web site and e-mail technologies to market legal services today.

The authors of the new edition include immigration lawyer Gregory H. Siskind, an Internet visionary and one of the authors of the earlier edition. He is joined by legal marketing consultant Deborah McMurray and Richard Klau, a lawyer and technologist and a columnist for Law Practice Management magazine. The authors use a literate and nontechnical writing style that is suitable for novices and expert Internet lawyer-marketers. The text is accompanied by more than 60 illustrations from law firm Web pages, to exemplify the best techniques and tactics for marketing on the Internet.

The book's 15 chapters explain how to use consultants, prepare marketing plans, create Web site content, produce Internet newsletters and seminars, survey client attitudes and design extranet sites for use by individual clients. The book also covers measuring marketing results and observing Internet etiquette and ethical issues. The appendix includes reviews of Web sites created by the National Law Journal 250, plus an additional 50 award-winning law firm sites. The appendix also includes samples of a site hosting proposal, a hosting services agreement and two requests for proposal for site design and development.

The authors have thoughtfully created a Web site companion (more specifically, a weblog) for their book, which is at www.bookblogs.com/lawmarketing. This site enables the authors to keep the book updated with commentary about law firm marketing, new service providers and Internet marketing news. Readers can visit the site periodically or subscribe to receive e-mail alerts when new items are posted.

The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet is essential reading for law firms that want to launch, expand or improve their Internet marketing activities. Managing partners, practice group leaders, firm administrators, marketing directors and individual lawyers can all benefit from the authors' insights on how to use the Internet to attract and retain clients. Regardless of firm size, readers will learn how to effectively and economically implement the Internet in the mix of their marketing activities.

Michael L. Goldblatt ( mgoldblatt@abanet.org) is Associate General Counsel, Tidewater Inc., in New Orleans.


The Fall of Advertising and The Rise of PR Al Ries and Laura Ries. (Harper Business, 2002.) ISBN: 0-06-008198-8. $24.95. www.harpercollins.com/catalog.

REVIEWED BY MILTON W. ZWICKER

Numerous marketing professionals emphatically tell us that "advertising works." The Fall of Advertising and The Rise of PR caused me to reexamine that belief. I'm certain it will have the same effect on you. Many lawyers will find this a very useful book, especially those in small firms, because they operate on incredibly tight budgets and can't afford to advertise. And even if they could afford it, advertising is simply not a cost-effective way for firms to increase business. Advertising professionals will see this as an impossible panacea, but you can market well without advertising.

Before you dismiss the possibility that there is a better way to spread the word about your practice than spending large sums on media time and space, read this book. According to the authors, Al and Laura Ries, "Advertising has lost its power to put a new brand name into the mind. Advertising has no credibility with consumers, who are increasingly skeptical of its claims and whenever possible are inclined to reject its messages." You may recall that Al Ries was a coauthor (with Jack Trout) of Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, a book that continues to affect marketing profoundly. Given Ries's success with predicting marketing trends, I'm willing to bet the authors' assessments in this new book are right, too.

The authors offer lots of evidence to show that many companies have built their brands with virtually no advertising. Anita Roddick built The Body Shop, for example, into a worldwide brand without advertising: She built the brand using public relations. The authors advise that research is beginning to show "the superiority of P.R. over advertising," and they boldly proclaim that "[m]arketing has entered the era of public relations."

Here is one of their central points: "Marketing deals with perceptions. Perception is everything." This idea is key to how Al Ries sees marketing. He and his coauthor believe that P.R. is a more effective way to deal with perceptions than advertising. Advertising is the voice of the seller, whereas P.R. is about telling your story indirectly through third-party outlets, primarily the media. "P.R. has credibility, advertising does not. People believe what they read in newspapers or magazines or what they hear on radio or see on television. In this media-saturated environment, you win or lose in the press. If you can't win the media battle, you can't win the marketing battle."

The authors don't say that we should forget about advertising. Rather, they say, "Advertising can only protect a brand once it's established." The trick is to learn how to use P.R., and this book provides many examples of how to do just that.

Lawyers and legal marketing professionals who read this book will likely come to ask, "Should we use P.R. to brand our lawyers or brand our firm?" The reason for this question arises from what the authors write about high-tech CEOs: "In the high-tech field, if your CEO is not famous, it's unlikely that your company will be famous and successful, too." The authors also offer some good advice on how to name your firm. They say, "It's easier to remember one name than it is two or three." (But will the egos of most lawyers permit them to follow this advice? I doubt it.)

This book contains much good news, especially for lawyers and bar leaders who don't look kindly on advertising. In essence, marketing without advertising encourages personal recommendation. Advertising can't build your practice, only word of mouth can do that-human contact, much like a common cold, will spread your brand. There are lots of specific things lawyers can do to accomplish this goal, but the key is creating trust with your clients. P.R. is better at helping to build trust than advertising because advertising lacks credibility.

Milton W. Zwicker ( zwicker@zwickerevanslewis.com) is Managing Partner of Zwicker Evans & Lewis in Orillia, ONT, and the author of Successful Client Newsletters (ABA, 1998).