Steve Nober: (00:03)
For those that know me, we talk about Moneyball, we talk about metrics and data. This is really relevant to what we’re going to talk about today on mass tort marketing.
Steve Nober: (00:11)
The whole idea of Moneyball is using data metrics to make decisions and sometimes decisions that no one else understands to be competitive and find opportunities. And so, the question often is does that relate to marketing? And I would argue it does, because it’s all about probability. Probability is interesting, because with jury selection, and I’ve given this example years ago at MTMP, but if you go into jury selection before a trial, can you imagine waving your rights to jury selection? Telling the judge, “We’re good. You guys, you pick who you want,” right? How many in the room would do that and you guys say, “There’s no way,” right?
Steve Nober: (00:50)
You guys are all thinking there’s not a chance, right. Well, why not? It doesn’t guarantee you the outcome, but it does improve your probability so much that you laugh at the thought of waving that right. It’s interesting, but I don’t know how much time you really spend thinking about the depth of that. Really, it’s about probability and it’s not a guarantee, but it does raise it up so it’s ridiculous to not do it.
Steve Nober: (01:13)
Well, I would argue advertising. It’s exactly the same thing. So there are things we can do to improve probability so the results of the marketing are better, in your local market, national, mass tort, single event, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about sometimes data metrics and decisions. So I’m going to go through some of that today and give you some examples. And so we think it absolutely is relevant to advertising.
Steve Nober: (01:35)
Direct response marketing, if you’re familiar with that term by definition just means measuring something that you’re measuring something in your response to make decisions. Having some kind of call action. And all the mass tort ads you guys see, there’s definitely a call to action. It could be a TV ad, a phone number. It could be a website, fill out a form, but there’s a measurable metric that you can take. So that’s direct response marketing. And so my background is I used to run a very large infomercial media buying agency in the US. The biggest one in the country that buys the time on TV for all those wacky marketers that you see, P90X, the workout program, ProActive, all those things.
Steve Nober: (02:14)
Anyways, so that’s the only way. Those guys are dealing in pennies. They really need their marketing to work down to the nickel or they shouldn’t rebuy it because they’ll run out of money, it won’t work. And so they would never buy marketing without measuring everything every day. And so it’s the Fortune 500 companies, it’s the direct response marketers. They all do the same thing. We introduced that, I don’t know, 12 or 13 years ago to this industry, which is just arguing there’s no difference. We’re measuring metrics. We should be smart about it together. And that’s how we’re going to help drive your case costs down.
Steve Nober: (02:45)
And so I’ll give you just a quick background because you’re going to hear me speak for 45 minutes. In the ’80s and ’90s, I had a computer business, I sold it to a public company. I’m giving the very fast version. In 2000-2005. I ran and built a chat-based call center with the technology that we sold to a company called Nuance, who since sold it to Microsoft. And then 2005-2020, I ran this large media buying agency, not 2005, 2005-2010, and then started CMG about 12 or 13 years ago.
Steve Nober: (03:19)
And so the marketing all came in after the year 2000. And just as a side note, personally, I, not anymore, but I was a long distance runner for a long time, running marathons and ultramarathons and in Iron Man. And now I just do it, helps me think and come up with ideas that we can bring to industry. I don’t know if you guys do things to give you time to really have your own moment, but that for me. Now, I’m too injured. My wife says she’ll divorce me if I have one more surgery. And so I’m done with that.
Steve Nober: (03:50)
Our business is six divisions and a seventh one, I’ll talk about in a little bit. But basically, we’re a full service agency. We started in TV. And so a lot of folks know us as the TV marketers 12 or 13 years ago. And since we’ve added digital SEO, SEM, and so we’re probably one of the largest digital agencies as well. And for us, it’s interesting because with mass torts, you’re talking about injuries and different target audiences. So not just one marketing method might work for all things. It won’t always just be digital. It might not always be TV or radio, geotargeting, outdoor billboards. It depends on a whole bunch of variables.
Steve Nober: (04:28)
And so we built vertically, not just marketing and the creative, but then we realized we have to help law firms answer calls. Because they weren’t sometimes set up to answer mass tort calls that are coming in nationally and they’d put them on hold, they’d abandon the calls, they’d get to a voicemail and then we’d have clients call us and say, “We don’t want to work with anymore because the campaign was terrible.” And we’d say, “Really?” We’d listen to some of the phone calls that were recorded and we’d realize we need to help introduce best practices.
Steve Nober: (04:58)
And so we did that with call center, we did it with contracting. So even if the calls get answered and qualified, the whole idea of getting the contracts out and getting them back and getting med record forms, that’s a whole piece of work that often is different nationally than law firms are doing in your local markets. So we started a contract services group and now even today, that secondary services, getting that long-form questionnaire that’s going to be important if you guys are out talking to vendors about getting cases, you still have to get that long-form questionnaire filled out and you have to get the med record forms. And so if you’re buying contracts, you’re going to get a fee agreement signed. You’re not going to have that secondary service. You got to think about if you’re staffed to do it, or if that’s something you want to outsource.
Steve Nober: (05:39)
We have a whole phone technology with phone numbers, thousands of numbers, and routing. We bought a med records business years ago in Pensacola, Florida. And so we vertically integrated so we could help offer services and control best practices for each division. And so, radio, TV, like I said, we’re sort of agnostic, whatever works best. And that’s literally every week, whatever works best. With mass torts, it’s all over the board. And so our business is mass torts. It’s single event litigation. We’re very big with firms all over the country doing auto, medmal, nursing home, family law, you name it. A lot of times when disasters strike, we’re in those markets very quickly.
Steve Nober: (06:17)
For those of you, you might know there’s an oil spill in Southern California that just happened last week. We’re already out helping firms get injured victims, businesses that are going to get suffered from the lack of business from the oil spill for probably a long time. Fires in California. So whatever happens, something in the country, we’re usually called to go try and figure out the best way to reach that target audience very quickly. And so environmental litigations, we do, like I said, water contaminations, hurricanes. We have a very big asbestos business. So lung cancers and mesothelioma and exposure, we really have figured out that business over time. And sex abuse, which is an interesting litigation for those of you who have thought about that in your markets. Because if you’re following, there are more and more states that are pulling back the statute of limitations. They’re just ridiculous in most states. I mean just ridiculous. And so thankfully, Colorado’s the next one that’s going to do it at the beginning of the year.
Steve Nober: (07:12)
California’s already done it. New York did it. And I think they did their three years. It’s over. New Jersey is still open. So I think more and more states for the next decade or two are going to roll back their statutes and allow victims that are older, that are way past what the statutes are, they’re going to allow them to go back and do something. So it’s an interesting litigation for you to be looking at in your local market and even partner with firms that are really expert at it on a national basis.
Steve Nober: (07:40)
And so really, it’s a full spectrum media. I think it’s important. It’s just whatever works best. So I want to talk to you about some innovations. We were busy during COVID and I’ll just talk about a few and how they relate to mass torts. So before I do, I always just mention ethics. We ran a panel this morning and half the panel was to talk about ethics. We have a very good client who’s a firm that many of you might know really well, super credible litigating firm. I mean, one of the top in the industry, just a great firm and they got served a suit a couple weeks ago, a lawsuit claiming a dozen different violations of marketing, calling, making claims and misrepresentations on the digital ads, conversion and call centers making outbound calls that didn’t comply to the TCPA rules.
Steve Nober: (08:24)
It’s a whole bunch of violations. And it lists like five or six call center and conversion centers. And my client sent me the filing and said, “Was this us because they use us for marketing, but obviously, they also use other firms as well.” And so, I’m in a panic and I’m looking at it and I see all the names of all these conversion centers. I’m like, “I have no idea who these guys are. I’ve never heard of any of them.” So I emailed the client back. I said, “It was not us. We self-originate.” What that means is we control the beginning of the messaging, the ad that ran, the disclosures, all the ethics that are involved all the way to signing the cases.
Steve Nober: (09:04)
And so my point is there are a lot of marketing companies. I think the ones here are probably not doing that. There’s really good companies here, but all the new marketing firms that are blasting plaintiff firms like crazy and offering prices that don’t make sense, they’re using aggregators and outsourcing to vendors that they have no idea how they’re getting cases for lower prices. And the law firms are going to end up being part of it, like my client was a couple weeks ago. And so I just think everyone should be careful with the marketing partners you work with. Make sure you understand the origination, the disclosures, just everything you can, that you’ve seen the agreement, you’ve seen the creative. It’s like buyer beware.
Steve Nober: (09:46)
So depending upon how you like to get cases, media buying, or buying cases, or doing media buying services to get cases from your local market or national, there’s ups and downs to both that can be talked about. So check out your marketing. A little checklist, just really make sure. Don’t just jump at a good price, please, because you don’t want to end up like this guy. It’s funny, this slide still … I don’t think this slide will ever be dated.
Steve Nober: (10:12)
I went about a year and a half ago and got what I think are the three best ethics lawyers in the country to put a white paper together for us on the leading issues regarding law firms dealing with lead generators like us and what to look for and what the issues could be. And even pointing out all sorts of state rules and examples of violations. It’s really, really a great white paper and we’ve updated it every quarter since we started it. So it’s this living document. You can go to our website, you can go to our booth and we have them, request it. But I highly recommend sign up from our website so you can get it every time we update it every quarter.
Steve Nober: (10:56)
And then we also on our website created a database of the advertising rules of every state in the country. And we update it in real time if your rules change at all. So we wanted it to be a good reference for just all the rules. You can easily find them from every state in the country. And so-
Mike Papantonio: (11:10)
Steve has started because I asked him to start a PR firm. We have worked with almost every major national PR firm there is. And none of them, none of them get it where it comes to lawyer issues. I mean, what if you’re handling a case like Paraquat and you are in your hometown and you know more about paraquat than anybody. And Steve’s job is to let that newspaper know that you are the person, you’re the expert talking about paraquat. So all of a sudden, you may have your auto practice, you may have your comp practice, but you’re in the newspaper looking like a giant killer, because you’re taking on two of the largest corporations on the globe and you’re the person, you’re the go-to person for paraquat.
Mike Papantonio: (12:04)
Let me tell you the next one. What if you’re doing Xeljanz, which I recommend you do? You want to be the expert in that area. It’s up to him to get you in front of the reporters. You can’t call the publisher of a newspaper and say, “Hey, I got a really hot story.” There’s a lot of problems. It’s his job to get you through that wall, to where in your hometown, you are becoming the person to go to, all right? And it’s going to matter in how you brand. You can’t do that with auto cases. Everybody’s doing auto cases. Why are they going to call you about auto case? But they’re going to call you about something like hernia mesh because the hospitals are seeing hernia mesh left and right. They’re going to call you about something like CPAP because everybody’s using a CPAP machine. It’s his job to make sure he breaks through that for you. The only way you’re going to brand yourself is to do something extraordinary.