The death of Steve Jobs is a huge loss for America, especially in a world where we have billions of competitors in China and India. We need more innovators like Steve Jobs. We need more lawyers who are like Steve Jobs.
I see several law firm marketing lessons from his work:
· Develop a niche. It doesn't matter that Apple’s market share of computers is only 9%. His customers are fanatically loyal. The moment a new product was announced, his loyal base would immediately buy it. He developed a niche in computers, cell phones and table computers that no one could rival.
· They way you do something is more important than what you do. Jobs personally designed the iPhone. They are renowned for their beauty and style. Sure, it has a “death grip” problem that causes the phone to disconnect a call and Consumer Reports recommended people shouldn’t buy it. But it didn’t matter. Customers forgave the technical flaw because they love its look and feel. People even pay a premium price for an iPhone. Lawyers should learn from the corporate world: present or package what you do in a new way.
· Personalize the brand. A lawyer must realize that he or she is a brand. Clients don’t hire law firms – they hire lawyers. Every time Apple introduced something new, it was Steve Jobs presenting it on a big stage. Similarly, lawyers should get in front of audiences, make presentations on webinars and talk to news reporters. Clients want to find a lawyer they know, trust and like, and lawyers must be easily found by being in the public eye.
· Don’t just compete, strive to make your competition obsolete. Steve Jobs never played catch-up; instead he was the guy to beat. When he introduced the Apple 1 computer in 1976, there was nothing else like it. Jobs instantly made the typewriter and typesetting obsolete. When he introduced the iPhone in 2007, it made the Blackberry and every other cell phone obsolete. When jobs released the first iPad in April 2010, it created an entire new category. Lawyers should similarly look for new ways to provide service and charge for it that leapfrog ahead of what other law firms are doing.
· Constantly adapt. Jobs competed with some of the largest corporations on the planet, just as small-firm lawyers compete with the AmLaw 100. Being small gave Jobs the advantage of being nimble. While Microsoft slavishly kept releasing clunky new versions of Windows, which copied features from the Apple OS, Jobs pioneered cloud computing. This year more people will access the Web with a smart phone than with a computer, thanks to Steve Jobs’ ability to change ahead of the times. Lawyers should similarly look over the horizon and give clients today what they hope to have next year.
· Make a donation right now to a charity that fights cancer. America has the ability to wage war remotely with drones, sent satellites to Jupiter and the technology to watch a movie on demand on a computer – but we haven’t beaten the disease that kills our loved ones and leaders. It’s time we put our treasure where our heart is. Don’t just write a big check to an anti-cancer charity, make it a big check.