Tips 73

Beating Scarcity

Can you still use TV to do target marketing?  Lawyers are.

On September 30 this year, drug manufacturing giant Merck pulled the plug on Vioxx and its $500 million dollar ad campaign, due to concerns over increased risk of heart problems from taking the drug. However, there's evidence that Merck knew as early as 2000 that Vioxx doubled the risk of heart attacks and strokes in users, yet refused to recall their profitable drug.

So, here's Merck, this multi-billion dollar concern, caught red-handed.  With Vioxx liability cases worth $50,000 to $1,000,000 or more, it was not surprising to see lawyers pouncing on this opportunity weeks before the drug was even recalled.

We're experiencing a seminal event in legal marketing that could become extinct if the government has their way with tort reform. Lawyers are looking at Vioxx cases as a last-minute reprieve.  "Sue 'em now boys! Soon, there ain't gonna be many of these good drug cases left!"

Large national law firms and scrappy upstarts alike rushed to get cases with just one thing in mind: The more cases assembled, the bigger the payday. So National firms are fighting with each other for TV time, concentrating on WGN and other national cables.  Local lawyers are rushing to buy more newspaper and local cable media. Some even had the foresight to make special buys with local CBS affiliates during the 60 minute expose on Merck.  Websites sprung up overnight, and email addresses were bombarded with numerous SPAM campaigns. As one agency guru noted: "It became a massive land grab." 

These law firms face marketing dilemmas similar to your own:

  • The earlier into the market you are, the lower your average cost.

  • The less you spend on Media, the less money you actually make.

  • Qualified leads become more scarce over time.

  • National media only gets you part of the audience.

  • Leads through local media are more expensive.

  • Pay too much per lead, especially too early, and you'll be out of business quickly.

One player has chosen the path of the rabbit over the hare in the Vioxx land grab. Instead of rushing out and blowing their budget on cash media right away, they conserved their capital until the right opportunity came up.  They secured an exclusive pay-for-performance deal with TV's largest broker of performance advertising for all of Q1, 2005.

While lawyers buying time on TV will be paying more and more for leads each week, this smart firm has locked in at a fixed cost-per-lead over the next three months. And they will enjoy broadcast on up to 600 venues, many in the untapped local markets.

We project a 500% to 1000% return on their media investment.

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