Here (in my not humble opinion) are the most essential books on marketing, which can be of benefit to solo and small firm lawyers.
Ogilvy on Advertising – David Ogilvy has been called the “Father of Advertising.” And he was the inspiration for Don Draper’s character in the popular show Mad Men.
Nothing that’s worth knowing about marketing has been created since David Ogilvy learned the core principles.
The underpinnings of marketing are practical psychology. And the underpinnings of measurable results with marketing are based on “direct response” methods.
David Ogilvy called direct response his “first love and secret weapon.” So at this point, anyone who claims they know marketing but who doesn’t use or understand direct response is not worth listening to.
Positioning, by Al Ries and Jack Trout is a good primer on general marketing principles. But it’s not very actionable but I recommend it for those who want to deepen their understanding of foundational aspects of marketing.
No B.S. Direct Response Marketing by Dan Kennedy is the best book to read to learn about Ogilvy’s favorite kind of marketing: direct response.
Dan Kennedy is a wise and practical curmudgeon. And he explains DR in step-by-step chunks.
He disdains “general marketing” because he discovered that most of it is based on flawed assumptions and self-serving ignorance (i.e. B.S.)
The book contains a chapter written by a lawyer disciple of Kennedy who explains how he uses DR in his personal injury practice.
You absolutely need to understand the rudiments of direct marketing, and this is the best book to read for that purpose.
Seth Godin’s This is Marketing is also essential. It’s an overview of marketing as a whole. A gestalt examination, if you will.
Seth Godin sees marketing as more than just profit-driving (which distinguishes him from Dan Kennedy). Marketing is about moving people and spreading good messages—even ones not related to business.
For lawyers who feel uneasy about our profession becoming too venal Seth Godin is a breath of fresh air. And, of all his many excellent marketing books, this is the best one.
Magnetic Marketing, by Dan Kennedy is a recent book that encapsulates the ideas and tactics contained in his online marketing course.
I bought the online course and found it helpful. But I appreciate having a concise summary of his teachings in book form.
I’ve read almost all of Kennedy’s books and, while there’s a fair amount of overlap, I find that having key principles reinforced was very helpful.
Marketing is hard for us lawyers to grasp, so the more we study the better we can absorb what we most need to understand.
Once you grasp key marketing principles (especially ones related to direct response type marketing) you’ll want to craft messages that get you powerful results.
Don Miller’s Building a StoryBrand book will help you do that. This book is (like Dan Kennedy’s Magnetic Marketing book) a concise summary of a full-fledged course.
Miller helps small business owners create their marketing blueprint using story-based messages in 2-day workshops and online courses.
I learned his method via the online course, and through one-on-one coaching from several StoryBrand certified coaches.
I’m not sure the book alone is enough for most lawyers to create their marketing blueprint, but it’s the best first step.
In fact, if you were to ask me “which of all the marketing books you mentioned should I get if I were to only read one of them,” this would be the clear recommendation.
I believe you need to read this book at least three times to fully harness its power. And, of course, you need to do the work of crafting your “marketing story” as part of the process.
This is a blueprint for creating a powerful message that will attract your ideal clients, and help them quickly perceive you as the preferred choice among many other lawyers.
Creating a powerful marketing message is hard, which is why few people focus on that (preferring to waste money on advertising).
Don Miller’s StoryBrand process is the simplest formula you’ll find. And once you hone your marketing message using his formula you’ll be astonished with the results you’ll enjoy.
Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi is a comprehensive guide to referral marketing (also called “relationship marketing” or “networking”).
You need to do referral marketing as well, and this book will help you identify the best strategies and tactics to harness as you do so.
In Conclusion: If you want a quick overview of Strategic Marketing Principles for Lawyers read this.
P.S. If you want a practice optimized for remote work & virtual collaboration, get this 24-page guide.