Marketing 101

Oct 12, 2021

What is marketing? How does it work? Why do we need it? Today Susan and Tracy are joined by Hightower Reff Law’s marketing superstar, Kari Ramsey, to discuss marketing’s importance for entrepreneurs today.


Tracy Hightower-Henne: All right, On today’s podcast, we’re going to talk about marketing, and we have Kari Ramsey with us.

Kari Ramsey: Hello, good morning.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Kari is marketing

Susan Reff: Director, marketing specialist marketing guru

Kari Ramsey: Who is good at our

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Firm. So we decided Kari should be here when we talk about marketing, because one of the things with our podcast is we like to talk about what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and a lady lawyer, and marketing is a big part of what we have to discuss almost on a daily basis or think about. So we’re going to talk about the history of our firm and how marketing has fit in and learn about Kari. So thanks for being here.

Kari Ramsey: Thank you for having me. I’m very excited to be here.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So, Kari, tell us about where you are with the firm now and like, how that how you grew up into our firm?

Kari Ramsey: Yes, I started with high tariff law as a freelance graphic designer, and it kind of developed into a position here on staff, which I just love. It’s when I met Tracy and Susan with high teraflop. I was immediately impressed because we were, I think we were working on a logo for you. And they said, No, I think it was like no blue. No no

Susan Reff: Scales of justice,

Kari Ramsey: Scales of justice, no gavel, no gavel. We’re not judges. And immediately I loved I was like, I like these ladies, because that just immediately said to me that you were you wanted to be different than any other firm. Or I think it’s easy in marketing to to want to join and to want to look like everyone else because that’s what you see. It’s marketing is such a visual experience. So we went

Tracy Hightower-Henne: With orange, with

Kari Ramsey: Orange, something super bright and we do have gray, but it’s just an accent. And no, no, no icons, no imagery. It’s just the name stands for itself and we use orange throughout our office. And yeah, that’s that’s how we met.

Susan Reff: I remember when we were when we first started working with you, like on a bigger project. I think it was our logo or logo, business card, letterhead, type stuff, and you had designed several choices for us to look at. And one of the choices one of the, you know, one of the comments we got when we talked about it with other people was that looks like a tampon ad. And I was like, I don’t. I like it. I’m totally into this. This is one that I like.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Is that our current logo?

Susan Reff: No, it it actually had a like a a thing. I think it had an arrow on it because again, I think we we talked about, should we have a thing like a an icon? Yeah. And I got a light bulb or an arrow or

Kari Ramsey: A lion was one of them.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, then and when we designed our podcast logo, all Susan could see was a penis in the microphone. So we went from tampons to penises.

Susan Reff: It looked like, you know, I try to think about how other people are going to see

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And we’re going to talk about other people’s thoughts about our marketing, too, because we’re going to do a bonus episode after this and share some of our ads and the comments that we get mostly on social media. But yeah, so I think it’s it’s fun to share kind of our history of our firm and marketing and where that’s fit in and where we are today. So when we think back about 10 years ago, Susan and I am starting the firm, we really were intentional on day one that we didn’t want to feel like the old guys firms, and we didn’t want to have all the dusty old legal books in our office. And you know that no one reads and then have like dark walnut walls and and no scales of justice and no gavels leather.

Susan Reff: Yes, but we had a leather wall. Oh, that’s

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Right. Yes, that was cool, though it was like the leather padded wall under our front desk that my dad made.

Susan Reff: It looked cool, but it also served a purpose because when people would come to our front desk, they would like lean on the desk and they would scuff it all up. So your dad, like, designed this like leather faceplate to that day? And then that’s what people would lean on in it, and so it looked cool, but it also stopped the wall from getting all scuffed.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It was also a built in padded room for the clients that we had to like. Toss around a little bit. Pay your bill or else you’re going up against the padded wall. But we we do. Right now we’re sitting on orange leather chairs, which is, you know, where we’ve grown up into. So we do have some leather pleather. Is it pleather?

Susan Reff: There’s no way these are real. Yeah. From the cost of them and how they’re wearing, they’re not. They look good. Yeah, they’re cool. They’re like modern looking.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And yeah, but like on that topic, it is interesting because we do think that the way we present our office is part of marketing, too. So, you know, when you first step into our office, it’s it doesn’t have that old guy feel or the typical scales of justice in our office. But when we when we started, we, you know, what did we do for marketing?

Susan Reff: Well, I mean, we knew the importance of having like a logo and having a name. And so I think we we knew some basic things. We knew we needed a website.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: We were so faxing. So we definitely needed a letterhead.

Susan Reff: Yeah, letterhead, business cards. I think we did some mugs,

Kari Ramsey: Bohemians and some sway.

Susan Reff: Yeah, we were more on the swag angle, right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Swingle, because you kind of have to start somewhere, right? I mean, we do billboards now, but you don’t start on day one with billboards or really a huge social media presence. So, yeah, we knew marketing was important, but we had to fit it into the budget in the beginning, and we also had that idea that we wanted to be different. And kind of sometimes I describe it as snarky, but

Susan Reff: Tongue in cheek.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yes, tongue in cheek. Why do they say that?

Susan Reff: I don’t know. Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: What’s the? My tongue is in my cheek right now. What does that mean? I don’t know. Maybe one’s going for the phone. Go for the phone. Go, go. So but we also knew we needed a website. We have a lot of fun stories about websites. Ok? Tongue in cheek in an ironic, flippant or insincere way?

Susan Reff: Yes. Flippen, why the oh?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: The physical act of putting one’s tongue into one’s chink cheek once signified contempt. The ironic usage arisen originates with the idea of suppressed mirth, biting one’s tongue to prevent an outburst of laughter. There it is. So we want people to bite your tongue. I need to

Susan Reff: Do more with my tongue. It sounds like so that people know what I mean.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Huh? Great.

Susan Reff: Ok. So back in the day, tongue in cheek.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Ok, so so we we really did also start almost day one with a website. But knowing websites, now what we know now are we a number of like four?

Susan Reff: I don’t even know. But like,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You have PTSD saying, yeah, thinking about websites, I

Susan Reff: Do websites. Well, first of all, you know, a website is only as good as like the person’s quality of a design. Who made it for you, right? Right. And then there’s functionality and information and content and information. And there’s I think there’s two schools of thought on websites or there’s two things. There’s kind of the more artistic websites and then there’s all of these like third parties who are not website people. They’re like a marketing person

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Like the MLM of

Susan Reff: Websites. Yes. And they’re like, they’re like the yellow pages can make you a website, which

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Is what we had that ones.

Susan Reff: I think everybody did that.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. And the problem is, you don’t ultimately own that website. So when you’re done with a

Susan Reff: Lot of problems, but that’s the big one.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So and they don’t obviously, they don’t explain this to you and they’re like, let’s build a website for five hundred dollars a month, maybe and you’re in a contract. And when you’re ready to go away from them and do a new website, you can’t take that content and use it again or amend it or whatever. Yeah, they own it. And then they then remember they would tell us, you’re getting all of this traffic to your website, and then they would cite to like the Facebook links that we were doing and we were like, No, that’s our work that we’re doing.

Susan Reff: I, I I cannot even think of how you would put together a website. So I understand that there’s a lot of work in it and I get that. It’s complicated, it’s technical. There’s artistic parts of it, right? It has to function well. It has to look good on a phone or a tablet, a computer. But you know the idea that. Someone’s creating it for you and then you don’t own it or you’re not able to make changes to it, or it’s like, oh, one and done like, here it is. I hope you never hire another person because I don’t know how to add them to this website or their picture. Yeah. If you want to change your cover photo every once in a while or something like that, like that doesn’t just doesn’t happen with some of those people. And we were learning that we didn’t know that when we were brand new.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And I think there was a point. What about five years ago that blogs became really important and big? So then you had to fit those into the website somehow and you had to write them, and then we find out you have to write them in a way that people could find them like Google spiders, right? And so not only do we have this website, and maybe it’s functional on things and you can find us on Google and ask Jeeves, right?

Susan Reff: But now we’re.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, no. But I can’t believe it’s still around. I don’t know if it is so. So we write these blogs and, you know, getting them out into the world and then also hoping that people read them and find us. So I think that was kind of the evolution of our website things is, you know, a having one be making sure it’s all good that we’re also not paying an arm and a leg for and then writing the blogs and getting them out there. All the while, we have some of our competitors and other law firms that don’t even have a website, right?

Susan Reff: Yeah. Or they have that one like landing page website where it’s like their contact info.

Kari Ramsey: I think that’s what really how how you stand out here at at this firm through all of these trials, you you still recognize the value in in your website you’ve been through. You’ve been through a lot to get here, but you’ve had so much tenacity with sticking with it and that I think it’s paid off for sure.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I’m being showed. Ask Jeeves, it’s ask Jeeves dot net, and it seems that it’s also advertising cars for sale on the home page.

Susan Reff: But yeah, there’s Ask Jeeves dot net. And then there was

Kari Ramsey: Is he? Is it still a butler? Is Jeeves?

Susan Reff: Still, he looked like a butler playing in a band. Oh wow.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, I didn’t actually know Jeeves was a person like a character. Yeah, it was. I don’t know. I thought it was like Google. Like, not a thing.

Susan Reff: Jeeves is like the English butler name.

Kari Ramsey: Oh, yeah.

Susan Reff: Yeah. He looked like

Kari Ramsey: The the butler on that show.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Downton Abbey.

Kari Ramsey: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So it’s Bing. I don’t know what annoying.

Susan Reff: Yeah, I hate Bing. And it’s like the default for, well, it was for a while now. It’s my Microsoft Explorer Edge. Yeah, oh

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. And this is the thing is like we would always be sold on. You’re going to show up on being a hundred thousand times a day and we’re like, What does that mean? Who cares? Do we care?

Susan Reff: They said. And we were told by marketing folks that not Kari, that Bing was the preferred search engine for like 50 plus or something. And I was like, OK, well, we definitely want to market to 50 plus. But I don’t know if you know Bing is the way to do it, but

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It’s like eharmony was like the 60 plus for single people and then our time now matched. Oh, it is in the was like the middle age and then like Tinder and Grindr or plenty of eighteen plus.

Kari Ramsey: Yeah, being on staff here has really opened my eyes to what you’ve been dealing with for years because I am now receiving the voicemails and the emails with from marketing people just selling, selling, selling these opportunities and and they have this data. But it’s not. It’s not. You really have to look at it in. It’s it’s the Bings and the GS and you you get very, very foggy about what they’re selling.

Susan Reff: Yes, they like to tell you that they’ll there will be a lot of traffic and I’m using air quotes to your website and a lot of impressions, and it’s like impressions.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Don’t get you anything.

Susan Reff: Yeah, yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And so the other thing that you know we’ve turned into into our website is the need to have some Spanish on our website to now having immigration in our office and then also a couple of Spanish speaking lawyers. And that’s been really interesting of making sure that is usable for not only English speaking and Spanish speaking potential clients, right? But the other thing, as far as blogs that we wanted to talk about is, you know, we’re sharing all this information and we often question or get questioned, why are we sharing so much information? Don’t we want people to just call us every?

Susan Reff: And we do as a huge secret until you hire us, and then we will reveal all of the goodies that we have in our toolkit of divorces and family law and estate planning and whatever else.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. And I think that’s the thing is it’s it’s not a secret and we like to share the information in a way that, you know, is good to direct people to our website and say, Check out this blog or listen to this podcast when you’re ready, then come to a consultation. And the disclaimer at the bottom of all of our blogs is that this isn’t legal advice. Your situation is very unique, but at least you know someone who is looking for a divorce in Nebraska should be reading our blog and not Wikipedia.

Susan Reff: Well, and that’s exactly it, right? If if they’re already going to the internet to find out information about a legal matter, they’re going to find information. So we might as well put out our information. That’s legit. Good. Helpful. You know, can be, you know, can at least lead them to some good answers or good questions for when they do call us.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And it is possible that someone could take the information that we’re putting in the blog and they’re able to, you know, do their divorce pro say on their own. That’s always possible. Are they going to do it the way we would? Obviously not. But ultimately, we think providing that information is better. You know, before their consultation and what better way for them to have information than from our blog before they call us and do a consultation with us?

Kari Ramsey: And our assumption is that it’s going to make their consultation that much more productive. Right, because they’re armed with some information and some questions that they may have not considered beforehand.

Susan Reff: And we’re not using all of our time to completely educate them on every little thing, right? And we can tailor our conversation more towards their own case. Hmm.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So, so in our marketing history, we have also done a lot of sponsorships, which is definitely a huge piece of marketing in our firm, and we have made some pretty conscious decisions on things that we want to support and groups that we want to sponsor and events that we want to sponsor. And that has come from a lot of, you know, strategic marketing and decisions on what Susan and I believe in and agree with.

Susan Reff: And and it’s a good way to support our community and be in our community.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yes. So some of the things that we sponsor right now. Heartland Women’s Network is a local women’s group that gets together once a month and talks about other different community events happening. And so we help sponsor those lunches. One thing that we had a ton of fun with was the Pride Festival this year and in years past, and when we do those sponsorships, we often will have a booth. And so a lot of planning goes into those as far as special swag we have, right? We had a lot of rainbow swag games that we want to do, like engagement at our tables.

Susan Reff: Yeah, and another one that we’ve another group that we’ve sponsored and been involved with is GRiefs Journey, which is also, I guess, they now have an umbrella organization called Collective for Hope, and they help with people who have are experiencing loss through, you know, someone passing away. They have they have two specific areas that I think are really awesome to assist people with is like maternal loss, maternal. I’m not saying it correctly, but when someone has like a miscarriage or a stillborn baby, and then they also have an organization that helps when people are separated due to like incarceration or immigration status, like someone can’t be in the United States, but it’s still someone’s dad and someone’s husband, you know, so they help with that. And while that doesn’t, those aren’t exactly things that we always work on. In cases, it touches so many people’s lives that those types of things are important to.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, we’ve also done a lot of sponsorship around Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, also now now known as Planned Parenthood North Central states.

Susan Reff: They weird that we’re like a north state.

Kari Ramsey: Yeah, central,

Susan Reff: Yes, but nor like we’re like the most middle state.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But they were like, Where do we put Nebraska? Ok, well, I’m up there with Minnesota.

Susan Reff: Yeah, but it’s like a it’s like five or six states that they’ve grouped together, which is good.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But yeah, so pre-COVID there was a ton of in-person events that we would love to sponsor, and we would ultimately sponsor like drinks at the bar if those events or different silent auction items at Moxy. And you know, they’ve. Continued to do some virtual events that have been fun for us to sponsor

Susan Reff: For Pride, we did one of the cool things about Heartland Pride. I think the events that they put on their big one in the summer is that they make it family friendly and so anyone can go at any, you know, they they have daytime events and they have evening events. And obviously, as you get into the evening, some of the events become not appropriate for younger folks, but that’s OK. But we sponsored they had like a kids area, and I think they did like face painting and little toys and games for people’s kids, and I thought that was really neat. We sponsored that one year.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Did they face paint high tariff floor logo on people’s cheeks?

Susan Reff: I think they face painted like rainbows and like tattoos next to it. Yeah, tattoos. They did like peace sign, you know, fun stuff that kids like, right? You know?

Kari Ramsey: Yeah. I think without this community support and the sponsorships, what I’ve learned being in the office here that the the attorneys here have a lot of passion about people’s legal rights, but also a lot of the issues coming into our office are very emotionally charged, whether it’s loss, loss of a person or loss of a life once known or whatever. Whatever it is, it’s there’s a lot of emotion and there are a lot of groups that help people with those things and with with legal rights. And I, yeah, it’s really amazing how much how the passion pours out of our office and we have these outlets that we can that we can support.

Susan Reff: You know, and if people think they’re going to go through like, let’s say, a divorce or a criminal case and there’s not going to be any emotion. Mm hmm. You know, and people can be as prepared as they can be, but they’re still definitely going to be emotion involved, for sure.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And sometimes it’s just simple as relief. Yeah. You know, they’ve moved on a long time ago and now they’re just ready to be done and. But relief is an emotion as well. Yeah. So the other thing that as far as marketing goes that we got into this year or was it last year, but this year is billboards that was new. And Susan knows a gal who works for a billboard company and she

Susan Reff: Calls herself your local billboard gal. Yes, the or the local billboard gal. That’s like how she tags herself. It’s funny.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: That’s great. So I don’t remember the first proposal. It was the one that we’re doing now where our billboards are kind of jumping around town, right?

Susan Reff: Well, I think our our very first billboard, wasn’t it the one when we hired Deanna? No, no. It was our whole team, your whole team. Yeah, that’s right. But that one came up really

Kari Ramsey: Just a general firm.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And it was a year ago because we had a picture of seven lawyers and joy had just joined our firm and we had to send in the artwork on a Monday. And her first day wasn’t until Tuesday. Yeah. And I said, Hey, joy, you’re going to be six foot tall on eighty fourth and dodge. Are you OK with that? I should have asked you first and be you have to start on Tuesday and then you have to be with us, at least for two months because you’re going be on this billboard. And she’s like, Yeah, all good.

Susan Reff: That’s funny because I don’t think we asked any of the other lawyers.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No, we didn’t know. We just said, Look for yourself on 84th and dodge. Yeah. So that was our first one. And then we jumped around town and we’re still in that campaign. Yeah. So when we have up right now is marriage is the leading cause of divorce kind of a play on the COVID situation, which when we talk about that, it’s that tongue in cheek thing where we’re, you know, playing off of things that might be controversial, a little bit like, how can you put light into the COVID situation? Yeah, but also our divorce. Yeah, isn’t it kind of a nice thing to see something that’s makes you chuckle?

Kari Ramsey: Yeah, and truth. It’s just it’s truth is hard to truth is hard to take.

Susan Reff: Sometimes everybody wants fluffy roses and puppies and nicey nice all the time. Yeah, and no, we’re not nice, but you know, like everything to be perfect.

Kari Ramsey: So we’ve taken a big leaf leap from that first billboard until now and and we’ve got plans for more. No. Yes, for sure.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So we have one right now, our more permanent location at one hundred and fourteenth and dodge and it says marriage.

Kari Ramsey: It’s not for everyone,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It’s it’s not for everyone. I totally drew blank for a minute.

Susan Reff: There’s a little mini one right behind you.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And that’s because I was thinking of I should have set the stage for the reason behind that is because our state’s motto is Nebraska. Honestly, it’s not for everyone. And so that’s what was going through my head. So we did that play on words.

Susan Reff: Yeah, yep. The and that got a ton of attention from people in Nebraska. Like said, I think it’s a tourism motto. That’s right. And a lot of people were like, what? And it got people talking. It did.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So I just flew home the other day from Colorado, and this gal sits down next to me on the plane, and she had legal pleadings in her lap. And she’s about my age, and I don’t usually like to talk to people that I don’t know on the plane because I’m usually just reading a book or something. And I was like, Oh, she seems super cool. So he said, Are you a lawyer? And she goes, Yeah, and he said, So am I. So we chatted the whole flight home. It was just from Denver. And I literally wanted the flight to be longer because this scout was so cool. We talked about books that we wanted to read together and or that we liked together. And she said, I’ve never been to Nebraska, and I remember once reading, you know, a magazine about Nebraska, and I saw this article about tubing down the Niobrara and it said, Nebraska. Honestly, it’s not for everyone. And I was like, Well, let me tell you about our billboard. She was. What did she think? She said it was great. And she’s a pharmaceutical lawyer. So like, she does super cool things like sue doctors for the vaginal mesh, things that were like exploding in women’s bodies. So I was like, Oh dang, that’s way more exciting than let me tell you about this divorce story.

Susan Reff: And those people have a lot of TV commercials which,

Kari Ramsey: Oh yeah, you

Susan Reff: Know, TV wise for marketing. You know, we’ve we’ve been on the news. And for Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re going to have a few 40

Kari Ramsey: Spots this month in Espanol

Susan Reff: 40 40 ads on Telemundo. Is that right? Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Correct. Yeah. So we have evolved from mugs and pens to billboards and TV.

Kari Ramsey: And people have a lot to say about it, right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And I think as entrepreneurs to like, maybe this is the takeaway of this episode is don’t don’t start out with the billboards and the TV. You have to evolve into something that you’re ready to be out there loud and proud with. You know, I don’t think we could have started day one with a billboard. We wouldn’t have had that identity to, like, really know what we wanted.

Susan Reff: Well, and within our own community, like our community of lawyers, because it’s, you know, Omaha is not a small town, but most everyone knows everyone. And I think if you come in like that, there would be people would be like, Well, who do they think they are that kind of attitude? And then that makes working with people hard, too.

Kari Ramsey: It’s an earned, yeah, earned thing.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yes. And I think we have gained a reputation of having some pretty good marketing and some people will be, you know, annoyed by it. And some people think it’s good tongue in cheek and some people understand that. What’s that saying that all press is good press. Whether it’s negative,

Kari Ramsey: It starts conversations, which is is what we need. I mean, yeah. Creates conversations. Inspire change.

Susan Reff: Well, and if if we were, you know, there’s those lawyers that really just kind of like half ass everything that really only care about the dollar sign that, you know, just they’re living to maybe build their ego or whatever. If they had our marketing campaign, they would be laughed at by the legal community, ostracized by whatever. But I think because we’ve proven ourselves to be smart, efficient, good, you know, well-prepared lawyers, our legal community is like, OK, yeah, Hightower, ref. La can put up a billboard that’s snarky or tongue in cheek and get away with it because they back it up with their their great work.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. Mic drop. Bam.

Susan Reff: Ok, so we shouldn’t drop the mic?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No, they’re not ours. No. And they seem like expensive

Susan Reff: And like connected to the stand.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And yeah, there’s a stand. So it doesn’t. We’re not holding them. But all right, so listen to our next bonus episode where we are going to paint the picture of the ad and then read some of the comments that we get on Facebook. And I promise you, you don’t want to miss it.

Kari Ramsey: Highly entertaining. Yes.

Susan Reff: We’ll see you

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Then the flip side

Susan Reff: On the Web, the Web for the comments spider web

Kari Ramsey: Into your web.

Announcer: Thank you for listening to the Lady Lawyer League Podcast. Be sure to like and subscribe anywhere you get your podcasts, if you would like to learn more about our firm, Hightower-Reff Law, please visit us at H r Law We’ll see you next week.

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