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May 18, 2009

What the End of Television Means for Lawyer Marketing

In the past few months, most of us have seen stories such as this one about how newspapers are facing extinction, victims of widespread content available online free and recession-driven declining ad revenues.  But could television be far behind on road to obsolescence?

This past weekend's Washington Post carried this interesting article, "Click Change: The Traditional Tube Is Getting Squeezed Out of the Picture" which describes that more and more, consumers are cutting the cord to their television, opting to watch shows online.  And of course, even those consumers who aren't yet willing to part with their little black box (or large, flat plasma screen, as the case may be) customize their viewing experience with TiVo or other recording devices such that their television habits bear little in common with those of viewers of ten or fifteen years ago.

All very interesting.  But as a reader of this Legal Marketing Blawg, you're probably wondering "So what does declining television viewership have to do with me?  I don't advertise on T.V."  Yet, that's precisely why this trend should interest you.  Because while television is dying, you still have a chance to get a first-mover advantage on those advertising techniques that are most likely to work in the post-television age.  Moreover, studying today's trends in television viewership offers insight into what kinds of messages work with 21st century consumers.  Now, I'll step back and explain.

1.  Positioning Yourself for the End of Television Advertising.

Traditionally, television advertising has been the domain of large law firms or networks of firms.  After all, who else can afford the enormous cost?  Lawyers who pay for television advertising are playing a numbers game, figuring that by getting in front of thousands of viewers, they can capture just a small percentage and thus make the cost of the ad worthwhile.  However, when viewers stop watching television, ads won't be as effective -- and these mass marketers will look for other avenues, including the Internet.  They've got the resources to potentially dominate, too -- by gobbling up keywords and employing high-priced SEO Consultants.

By acting now, you can fight back.  For example, by setting up a blog (as I noted last week, only two percent of lawyers are currently blogging) you can start gaining visibility in local domains and specific niches.  By starting a blog now, you can get yourself comfortably entrenched on the first page of Google's search results by the time the mass television marketers find their way online.  And once on top, it's harder to get dethroned.

Even if you're not committed to blogging, you have other options to establish visibility online.  In previous posts, I've discussed how article archiving sites like JD Supra, circulation of eBooks, and other do-it-yourself techniques can bolster your online presence.

2.  What Do Consumers Want?

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