4 Reasons People Say They Hate Marketing (and Why They are Wrong)

You talk to your office about a new marketing campaign for your law firm. You tell them about your new report, your target audience, headlines, ad copy, and your goals for the new marketing. After you finish describing your idea, everyone chimes in with objections.

  • “Why are we targeting [insert avatar here]? Isn’t that discrimination?”
  • “I don’t like the name of the report. It is misleading, and no one will fall for it.”
  • “This whole campaign seems like bait and switch. We are telling prospects that the report will help, but it is just marketing.”
  • “Our clients are too sophisticated for this. We will repel more clients that we bring in.”
  • “If we teach them about case process, won’t they just do it themselves?”
  • “No one reads the newspaper anymore. Can’t we just do this all online?”
  • “The bar will punish us for this. It may follow the rules, but it will still make them mad.”
  • “If we advertise like this, people won’t think we are good lawyers.”

At Great Legal Marketing, we have heard it all. These objections and others like them are nothing new, and they are almost always wrong. The problem is two-fold, 1) people don’t understand marketing and 2) they believe they are immune to it.

Most people only think about marketing when it goes wrong. You see a commercial, roll your eyes, and think to yourself, “who are they kidding, no one falls for this.” We rarely think about the marketing that works. Marketing that works, and works well, goes unmentioned.

While you are combating objections from your staff, keep these key points in mind.

1) People Won’t Admit When Marketing Works Because It Bruises Their Ego

Every person on this planet has an ego. That ego helps us by giving us the confidence to succeed. It hurts us when it prevents us from seeing the writing on the wall.

Nearly everyone assumes they are “too smart” for marketing. They don’t want to believe that they can be persuaded by good marketing, even though they are influenced by marketing every day.

That paralegal who says people won’t read your ad recently purchased makeup after reading a long post from her favorite Instagram account. We will read something we are interested in, and your target clients will read marketing copy if they have a legal issue.

Most will never recognize when marketing works on them because they simply want to believe they are immune. When it does work, they make excuses or call the tactic something other than marketing. Your staff has this same mind block, so it is no surprise that they assume marketing won’t work, because they have blinded themselves to effective marketing.

2) Most Have No Idea What Makes Marketing Effective

You hired someone to build your website. They built you a beautiful website with all the bells and whistles, but your website gets no traffic and brings in zero leads. This is a common scenario, and the most common problem is you have mistaken a web developer for a marketing expert.

Graphic designers are often mistaken for marketing experts. We assume that good marketing means making something pretty. Effective marketing is much more than design.

Effective marketing requires targeted marketing copy, a unique selling proposition, detailed follow-up, and return-on-investment tracking. None of these things are taught to web developers, graphic designers, or sale reps (all the supposed “experts” on marketing.)

As you describe your marketing plan, these “experts” will object, because it goes against everything they learned. Don’t let this throw you off track, because they never learned the right ways to build a business and find clients.

3) Many People Believe That Making Money is Evil

Lawyer entrepreneurs will always be fighting an uphill battle against themselves and the world around them. You were taught, “do good work and the cases will come,” but following that little platitude will keep your law firm from growing.

As many lawyers have learned, doing good work isn’t nearly enough. You will reach a point where marketing your law firm becomes essential. Other lawyers will look at your marketing and sneer, but don’t let that stop you. You need to make more money if you want to grow your practice, and you can’t make money by sitting quietly in the corner.

Oddly enough, even your staff feels this way. They want their paychecks, but they also believe that trying to get more clients is greedy. YOU are the one who has to stand up and say, “we need more clients to keep the lights on. Let’s start marketing this law firm.”

4) Proving Quality Service is Important, but it Won’t Help if No One Knows About You

Back to the old saying, “do good work and the cases will come.” How do people believe that works? Let’s imagine how this may work in a perfect world.

  1. First, you get your first client by referral. You do an excellent job on their case.
  2. That client has a friend with a legal issue they refer to you. You do a great job on their case.
  3. That person refers you a case, you do a great job there.
  4. All those clients leave you reviews on Avvo, Google, and Yelp
  5. Suddenly, your phone call starts ringing off the hook. You have more clients then you know what to do with.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? The problem is this: How much time will happen between step one and step two? The average person needs a lawyer once, maybe twice in their life. It may be months or years before your first client knows another person who needs your services. You could get lucky, but if you are relying on luck you are in a bad place.

That is why “do good work and the cases will come” is not effective. You are relying on luck and slim odds.

In the real world, we don’t have time to wait. You are a good lawyer, and you need to tell the people in your community what you do and why you are the best lawyer for them. This requires marketing. When someone in your office says “clients know we do good work and they will send us cases,” you can tell them why they are wrong.

Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.

Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.

Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.

If you want a peek at what successful attorneys use to market their practice, the HERO Starter Kit is your logical next step.

We’ve put together a FREE (and potentially life-changing) kit for solo and small firm attorneys that will show you a better way to reach potential clients and get them excited to call your firm. Request your HERO Starter Kit from Great Legal Marketing!

by Ben Glass

Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.


  • Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.