God Gave You Eyes, Plagiarize

Reading Liar’s Poker in college changed my life.

The book was supposed to be “an unflattering portrayal of Wall Street.” And it was. But college-me thought his book made Wall Street sound like a lot of fun!

Maybe that’s why I spent five years on Wall Street…

In the book, Michael Lewis joins Salomon Brothers in its 80s heydays, where he was taught a poem:

“God gave you eyes, plagiarize.”

One funny chapter details how one of his coworkers tries to steal credit for a big deal the author had pulled off in Germany. In fact, the opportunist writes a “victory lap” memo taking credit for the entire deal, to ensure he’d get a large year-end bonus.

Not good news for Michael…

For spiteful revenge (and to ensure he got that large bonus), Michael then plagiarizes his own deal by adapting it to the Japanese market. This makes it obvious to everybody that he’s the innovator behind both deals, and Michael wins the backstabbing battle against the opportunist.

So why am I telling you this story?

Well, as always, there’s something here to learn about marketing your solo or small practice…

Specifically, if you’re looking for good ideas to improve your marketing, start by using your eyes to see the Google ads that get a lot of clicks for other lawyers.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting you PLAGIARIZE THE WORDS in those ads. I’m saying you should ADAPT THE IDEA (just like how Michael adapted his German deal to the Japanese market).

An important caveat is that you don’t want to just “use your eyes” in your local market, because then both you and your archrivals will have similar offers. Instead, look at the winners in other cities. So if you’re in Northern Virginia (where I grew up) then you should peek at the NYC market (where I live now) and see what’s working there.

If the #1 ad in NYC is about “flat fees”, then you can try an ad talking about flat fees in your local market.

The beauty is that Google makes it very hard to see what ads are running in other cities. So if you have the ability to look easily at Google ads in other cities, you can be the one-eyed king in the land of the blind.

Happily, there’s a free way of “using your eyes” to see Google ads in a different city. You just have to use an obscure link.

This link is one of my “secret weapons” so I don’t want to just give it out to everybody. But if you email me, I’ll shoot it over. The best way to email me is to subscribe to my email list, and reply to¬†any of the emails I send.

Bob Hiler