Marketing vs. Advertising: What's the Difference? | Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association

Editor’s Note: I get the question, “Which is better, marketing or advertising?” a lot. The following is an excerpt from my book, How to Effectively Market Your Personal Injury Law Practice in the 21st Century. If you’d like to read more of this book, check it out here in the PILMMA store.

Before you can sell your legal services to anyone else, you have to sell them to yourself. Unless you can pinpoint what makes your law firm unique in a world of homogenous competitors, you cannot target your marketing efforts successfully.

Most lawyers make a critical mistake by confusing advertising with marketing. Marketing is “how clients and potential clients perceive your law firm.” Advertising is simply “one of the many ways you can market your firm.” In other words, if marketing is a wheel, advertising one of many spokes on that wheel.

Understanding the difference between advertising and marketing is a critical step in developing a strategic plan for a law firm. By using both terms interchangeably, many lawyers confuse “marketing their firm” with “advertising their firm.” Ignoring these differences can negatively impact the outcome of your marketing plan.

As mentioned above, advertising is just one element of your marketing plan. Also, it is the most expensive way to market your firm – and the most difficult to track. That said, you must incorporate other tactics to market your practice.

Remember – television, Yellow Pages and websites are all ways of advertising your firm. But, there are infinite ways to market your practice in addition to advertising.

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