TRS 007: Josh Gerben Trademark Attorney and Entrepreneur
In a world powered by online search, your company’s name is everything. If you are doing business online, especially on Amazon, protecting your brand should be a top priority. Reputation management is one thing, but don’t dismiss trademarking your company and products. On this episode, Washington DC trademark attorney Josh Gerben shares a few horror stories of fraudulent sellers, explains how the law can protect your business, and even dives into how his firm differentiates itself through content marketing.
Josh founded his own law firm ten years ago, and he has decided to shake things up. Inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk, he is channeling his creativity and diving headfirst into the world of content marketing to generate leads for his firm. We’re sitting down with him as he starts his journey to break free from the marketing restraints placed on the legal industry. Join us.
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Marcus: Hello, marketers and business leaders. I’m Marcus Grimm, and welcome to The Revenue Stream, the podcast from Web Talent Marketing. Here we discuss everything you need to know to build brands, generate leads, and convert sales from some of the brightest minds in marketing.
Marcus: Hey, marketers and business leaders. I’m Marcus Grimm. Let’s face it. Marketing: it’s hard. And I don’t mean ditch-digging hard. I mean it is really, really tough in 2019 to get somebody to pay attention to what your brand is trying to do, particularly if what you’re doing is the same as everybody else. That’s why I’m so glad to introduce you to today’s guest. Because while everybody’s out there trying to zig, attorney Josh Gerben has made the decision to zag in 2019. We’re going to be learning a little bit about that. Josh, welcome to the program!
Josh: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Marcus: So before we get into what you do that’s unique, take us through our background. Are you a local guy? Where’d you grow up? Where’d you go to law school?
Josh: Sure. I grew up outside city of Philadelphia on the Main Line/ King of Prussia. I spent my entire childhood there. Ended up going to college down in Washington DC, George Washington University.
Marcus: Small school, right?
Josh: Yeah, haha. Expensive! Yeah, my undergraduate academic performance was not exceptionally stellar. So we did a hiatus at the University of Miami for my first year of law school, which was one of the two law schools in the country that invited me to come. And then I was able to do a little bit better there, got my grades up, and transferred to American University Washington College of Law back in DC to finish up law school last two years.
Marcus: Outstanding. So you’ve got an office here and you do a lot of work down in the DC area, but you’ve got a lot of DC connections, right?
Josh: Right. So our law firm is actually based out of Washington DC. Two of the other attorneys are down there still. I personally moved to Lancaster area about six years ago because we were starting a family, and we have some family help here to help with our young kids.
Marcus: All right. Now, a lot of our conversation today is going to be framed around, because it’s really important to this story, the type of law that you practice. So let’s go into that a bit. What type of law do you do?
Josh: So we’re a trademark law firm.
Marcus: And what does that mean for our listening audience?
Josh: Brands; we protect brands. So let’s say you’re starting a new business and you have the name of your company, the name of your product, and the name of your services. That name is a protectable trademark in most cases, right? And you want to protect that name because you obviously don’t want another business using it to create all sorts of problems, especially in today’s world when someone goes to Google or Amazon and tries to look up your product or your service. So we typically like to come in with clients as early as possible when they’re starting a new company or have a new product launch so that, when you’ve done the creative and you’ve come up with this great brand name for what you want to use, we can run a search on that and make sure you don’t have a problem with somebody else that is already out there in the marketplace with something that’s similar to your new desired name.
Marcus: Now, it seems to me that we’ve got a lot of listeners who are marketers, and what you’ve just talked about is something that happens to all of us on an ongoing basis. So take me through the steps. Here in the studio today, we’ve got our CEO, Mike Canarelli, and tomorrow Mike wants to trademark, SET instead of SEO. You know, he’s got a great idea. We’re going to call this “search engine technology.” What’s it look like? What do you do?
Josh: Sure. So the first thing you’d want to do is an evaluation of the name to make sure that it’s not too generic or too descriptive for the particular industry. Because if somebody comes up with a name that just simply describes what it is they’re doing, it can be very difficult to protect from a legal standpoint. It might make sense from a marketing standpoint, which is always part of the tug of war around how you decide on what name you’re going to use, but from a legal standpoint, which is where we come from, we want the name to be as unique as possible.
Josh: So once we get that accomplished and we know we’re okay with the uniqueness of the name, we would run something called a trademark search. So you basically are looking for any other trademarks that might exist that could conflict with the new name you’ve decided to adopt and start to use for your new product or service.
Marcus: In this global economy, are you looking within the same state? Are you looking within the same country? Or how do you decide that?
Josh: Sure. Great question. Most of the time we’re going to start by looking just at the national United States. If you want to get into a search outside of the United States, you certainly can, but the costs of that tend to be relatively prohibitive. Trademark rights are jurisdictional in nature. So if you own a trademark in the United States, someone else could own it in China, the UK, or Australia. So if you want to protect it and each one of those jurisdictions, you’d literally be going into each country filing a trademark there and trying to acquire the rights.
Marcus: Sounds very expensive.
Josh: Can be. I mean, there are ways that we can do it, and we have a lot of small businesses that we help protect trademarks in multiple different countries around the world and do it reasonably from a cost perspective. But there’s always the give and take as to: What are you actually trying to do as a business? What jurisdictions are you going to be working in? And then figuring out what budget makes sense for that type of work.
Marcus: We’re going to spend, I promise you, most of this episode talking about how you’re going to be marketing your firm, but I’m going to use this for some free legal advice right now. Earlier today actually, somebody sent over, “Oh my goodness, there’s another Web Talent Marketing in Brazil. Now, we’re a North American company. We have no Brazilian customers. We have no Brazilian prospects. But, as you can imagine, there are some people at our company asking, “Should we do anything about this?” So I want my free legal advice. What would you tell me in this case?
Josh: Well, we’ll start with the disclaimer that I am not engaged as your attorney. But the concern there would obviously be, “Hey, someone’s going to try to look you guys up, and they’re going to see this firm in Brazil.” Especially if this firm in Brazil does something wrong and they start to get bad reviews and people are going to think it’s you. It’s a huge problem. You do run into the problem that any of the trademark rights you have at this point are just for the United States. So this firm in Brazil, as long as they do not enter the US market or deal with anybody from the United States, is not violating any trademark rights. At this stage, it may also be very difficult for you to go down to Brazil and register the trademark because they may have already done that. They may already have acquired some rights down there.
Josh: So you are in a “rock and a hard place” situation, quite frankly. What we might advise somebody in your position to do is to reach out to that company and say, “Look, we own the rights in the United States,” and you may, at this point, also consider registering the trademark in other countries around the world as sort of a block to them from expanding beyond Brazil. And say, “It’s very important to us that you stay true to the Brazilian market.” And because it’s not a predominantly English speaking market, you might be alright because people may get to their website and realize it’s not you and things like that. But you may want to look at, “Do we want to file a trademark in Europe, in Australia, in other countries where we have clients now?” so that if this company were to start expanding outside the national borders of Brazil, you would be able to block them in those jurisdictions that are important to your company.
Marcus: And I’m assuming that in addition to helping with trademark registration, defending those trademarks, is something else your firm does?
Josh: Sure, absolutely. Right. So once you have a registration, you might need to enforce it. You may get claims against you. Those are all things that we would end up helping somebody with.
Marcus: And then, final question about your specific practice. Where’s your firm licensed to practice? I’m guessing it doesn’t matter- that I could hire you and you could actually file for a trademark in Brazil. Just tell me like how you’re licensing works.
Josh: Sure. Absolutely. The wonderful thing about trademark practice is that we’re not like your criminal defense attorney or your DUI attorney where you have to be licensed in the state in which you’re representing the client.
Josh: We have something called the federal practice exemption. Federal Trademark Law is a federal law. So I can represent a client on a federal trademark matter from any of the 50 states, any territory. And also when we go and we assist clients around the world, we typically will engage local council. So let’s say you did need help in Brazil. I have an attorney or attorneys I’ve used in Brazil for other clients to help with matters, we would contact them. We have relationships with them so we can help you through them essentially without you having to deal with the local attorney yourself.
Marcus: You speak, not just with a lot of authority and knowledge, but a lot of passion for what you do. How did you decide “Trademark law is it, man! This is my jam!”?
Josh: Sure. It wasn’t obvious to me in law school that this was going to be it. I grew up in a family business. So my dad, when I was growing up, he had automotive repair centers in and around the Philadelphia area- ended up with about 13 different shops. So it was a relatively good size business, and I did a lot of the marketing. Well, at first I cleaned the bathrooms. That was my first job. I’m not kidding you. I mean, that is a great way to give your kids some work ethic. And I worry that I will not have shop bathrooms for my kids to clean! But I started there, and then I would unload tires in a warehouse, and eventually I kept asking him for a job in air conditioning! This is why I think I’m a lawyer because I just wanted to always work in air conditioning after doing that.
Josh: So I did all that. But then as I got older, I got into the marketing, and hat was so much fun for me. And back then we didn’t have Google, and we didn’t have social media, and all these things we would be having tons of fun with today. But we had print advertising and radio. So we would write the scripts for his radio commercials. You know, go on KYW. We would do the advertising for the Philadelphia Inquirer. So we did all those things, and it was a ton of fun for me. So I just got to learn marketing. And when I was looking to start my own firm, I was playing around with some different sort of business/ law related things and started putting up advertising online for trademarks service.
Josh: And that was of all the things I was trying to advertise, that was the thing that I was getting phone calls on.
Marcus: Oh, interesting. And given your own bent towards marketing, they are probably conversations that are a little bit more enjoyable than what lawyers and some other disciplines might get, I’m guessing.
Josh: Oh yeah. Well right, I’m not dealing with some of the very serious things that other lawyers deal with. Naturally a brand has a lot of value for companies, but it is certainly a different level than some of the other things.
Marcus: Absolutely. So you talk about that trademark industry, and it spoke to you. So that’s what you’re doing now. I am curious, I just told that story a little bit ago where these folks in Brazil are, in my opinion, tripping over our brand. They probably think we’re tripping over their brand. But you know, Amazon and ecommerce have changed a lot of this. My guess is a trademark attorney today is more necessary, or maybe it’s messy. How’s the business different today than it would have been 20 years ago?
Josh: It’s very different; I would like to argue we’re certainly needed more. Right? And that’s good job security for me. I would like to think that that’s the case, and I genuinely do. Amazon has created its own ecosystem for small businesses to operate in. We represent a lot of Amazon sellers, and the unique problem with Amazon is that they’ve gone through this hyper growth and protecting intellectual property of their sellers has always been a challenge for them. We deal with cases where we have a client who Amazon stocked counterfeit goods of their product. Somebody shipped it in from China, said it was from this company- and it wasn’t, and was selling them. And it looked almost exactly the same.
Josh: And it was very hard to get that out of Amazon’s inventory. We did it, but it took a lot. So there’s a lot of that kind of thing that happens to Amazon sellers that you almost have to, if you’re going to go sell on Amazon- First off, you absolutely have to register your trademark. Without a question. You need to have your name protected if you’re going to be an Amazon seller because Amazon will not help you if you have a problem unless you have that registration.
Marcus: Oh, that’s really interesting. And, and let’s be very, very clear: we’ve done and we’re going to be doing more episodes on Amazon. The reality is this: if you’ve got a product that moves on Amazon, the people who want to knock it off, they’re going to figure it out.
Josh: Exactly. So the higher you start ranking in the Amazon search world, the more likely you’re going to face these type of issues.
Marcus: Interesting. Well, yeah, realistically, we could stop the program right here because I think our listeners absolutely should have a trademark attorney on call, and I think you’re the guy it should be. However, I do want to pivot a little bit now and talk about the unique way you’ve decided to market yourself. But I also want to talk about how you made that decision because, as a guy who’s only done marketing, I am fascinated with some of the limitations that exist about what attorneys can and can’t do as it relates to marketing. It’s almost like you guys needed laws to police yourselves or something. Just walk people through what an attorney is or isn’t allowed to do as it relates to marketing. Then once we have that understanding, we can go into some of your ideas for this year.
Josh: Sure. Yeah, attorneys aren’t thought of very well in most cases, right? So we do have to have these really unique rules to police ourselves, I suppose. The legal profession has normally taken the stance that it is beneath an attorney to advertise him or herself. That’s really the fundamental belief, and a lot of attorneys still hold this belief, which is really crazy. But that started to change especially with the internet. But there are so many restrictions on what we can or can’t say sometimes that you will find a lot of attorney advertising starts to look very similar to one another because we’re all concerned we’re going to say something or do something wrong, and then the state bar is going to come in and try and take our license away.
Marcus: So give us some examples for things that you couldn’t say.
Josh: We can’t call ourselves an expert. I cannot say I’m a trademark expert even though I have filed 8,000, I think, applications in 10 years. But no, I cannot call myself an expert.
Marcus: I want to unpack a bunch of these, but that’s actually a fascinating one because generally speaking, you want me to choose an attorney based on which one has the most expertise. Haha, this is fun! Give me another one.
Josh: Well one of the biggest ones that I face in my practice is, we are not allowed to pay referral fees. So if you, Web Talent Marketing, had a bunch of clients who needed trademark assistance, I could not give you any money for referring those clients to us. I would love to be able to do that.
Marcus: Right. Well, it’s fascinating. The Amazon agency services is a huge growing part of our business, and I was already unpacking in my mind, “Wow, I haven’t asked these people when I’m talking to them. ‘Do you have a trademark?'” So you and I could have a pretty cool professional relationship, but you cannot not pay me for it for those referrals.
Josh: That’s right. And it throws ice on it so many times because we’ll have somebody that says, “I have this potential.” But in reality, we’re all running businesses and for you to take time out of your day and all the work you’re doing to just benefit me, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense at the end of the day. So if somebody were to call you and say, “Oh, I really need this trademark. Do you know a guy?” Of course you’d probably, maybe give them my name or maybe another guy you know. Whereas if you wanted to integrate it into your business as part of something, you always asked a client, you would do that if there was a financial benefit.
Marcus: Well, and at Web Talent, we’ve got several dozen customers, but I’m thinking of if I owned a huge print shop and I’m printing labels for somebody sending their stuff to Amazon, that’s the type of guy that, man, I should have a system here. But you’re not allowed to it to have that system.
Marcus: Wow. So it’s really, really tough for you to be creative.
Josh: It is. There’s a lot of handcuffs on what we can do, and that is part of the reason a lot of attorneys are not great at marketing because they’re very concerned about making a misstep. You don’t want to be the test case before the bar about whether you can do this or not. You know? You just want to do what you know is not going to get you in trouble.
Marcus: And I guess the good news here is… I’m almost thinking back to the old episode of Mad Men where they realize, well now that we can’t say cigarettes are healthy on one hand that’s good news because nobody can say that. So that’s kind of interesting. So the good news is the same restrictions that you have are the same restrictions the legal firms have that theoretically have a much bigger marketing budget than you do.
Josh: That is correct. However, there’s an interesting issue here because you have companies like Legal Zoom who hold themselves out to not be law firms who are not restricted by the rules of advertising of our profession.
Marcus: Oh, interesting.
Josh: And I cannot tell you how many clients I’v probably lost to Legal Zoom over the years. Because they advertise that they have a great system and it’s very, very, very affordable.
Marcus: So now we’re getting to the real heart of this program, which was, at some point it seems that you reached an aha! moment where you said, “You know, as a lawyer, I’m restricted in a lot of ways. I’m going to have to do something totally different.” And before we go into what you’re hoping to do this year, Josh, what I really want to talk about is was it a thunder struck moment when you’re like, “I’ve got it!” Or has it kind of been a thought process that you’ve been going through as you’ve been trying to figure out how to differentiate yourself?
Josh: It’s been a thought process of the last five years to try to figure out how to do our marketing in a way that is not just one stream, if you will.
Marcus: And we’re going to talk about this; you are actually going after trademark business in a way that you’re not going after trademark business.
Josh: Correct. Right. So historically what we’ve done is your standard search engine optimization campaign pay per click things of that nature. In 2019, now that I’ve been running a law firm for 11 years, what we’re going to start doing is get out there and talk about how to start and run a law firm in today’s world.
Marcus: Now this is super, super cool. This is the meat of the program here. So you’re going to put out advice on how to start and run a law firm.
Marcus: Now, so let’s talk about that. So, let’s talk about some of the content that you’re going to be releasing in the next year. What would be an example of that?
Josh: Sure. I think we’re going to try to start with the very basics, which is that a lot of attorneys are very nervous about starting their own practices for a lot of reasons. Some of the ones you’ve talked about, “How am I even going to market this? I don’t know how to run a business. I’m an attorney.” Right? When you go to law school, they do not teach you how to run a business. So the minute you get out and have to send a client a bill, a lot of attorneys don’t really know what they’re doing. So we’re going to talk about some very fundamental things that you need to consider if you want to start a law firm, and then go from there into the more intricate details of what has worked and what hasn’t worked for me over 11 years and how I can shorten that decision wheel for somebody so that they don’t make all the same mistakes. And if they want to set up a system for billing that is very easy and straight forward, and then we show them how to do that.
Marcus: But now here’s what’s really interesting. People listening to the podcast are saying, “Well wait, Josh is a trademark attorney. He wants trademark work.” And now for the past couple of minutes, we’ve been talking about, “Oh, he’s going to help attorneys grow their business.” How do these two get together? How does this peanut butter and this chocolate match up to be a peanut butter cup? What are you going to do with this content?
Josh: Sure. Well, we’re going to give it away, right? And then the idea- Some of our best referral sources are other lawyers.
Marcus: So let’s say that again, because this is it, right?
Josh: Right. Our best referral sources are other lawyers. So when an attorney at a firm that doesn’t have a trademark or copyright specialty has a client ask a question, a lot of times they will have to tell the client, “I’m sorry. I don’t do that type of law. You’re going to have to find somebody else.” The risk in doing that is that the client goes out and finds a law firm that does the trademark work but also everything that that current attorney is doing for them. And attorneys tend to be like vultures. Believe it or not. So the idea here is we only do this kind of work we don’t do, if you came to me and said, “I need to form an LLC.” Absolutely not, I won’t touch it. I need a contract. I need help with my lease. I won’t do that.
Marcus: And setting up an LLC is, some people could say, pretty close to a trademark. But you’re saying you really stay in your lane.
Marcus: So, you’re putting out this content for free. Here’s how to grow a law firm. Here’s how to run a law firm. Here’s how to market a law firm. Oh, by the way, got a trademark situation which you probably don’t want to handle anyway and probably can’t handle? Give it to me. It’s absolutely brilliant. And you know, this concept of giving away something valuable for free, is often up for debate. Before we even unpack this, you said, “Oh, by the way, I’m giving this away for free.” There are a lot of people who would say, “Wait, Josh, it sounds like you’re smart, sounds like you’re bright. Why don’t you put that content behind a gate? Why don’t you charge for classes?” How did you come to this realization that it should be free?
Josh: To be honest with you, listening to Gary Vaynerchuk. I think he’s brilliant and I think he’s got his finger on the way that things really work in today’s economy. If I were to put content online and try to charge people for it, who am I to charge people for that content? You could look me up. I’m a trademark attorney. I’m not a business consultant. But the idea is, that by creating a community of people that is interested in this topic and wants to hear about it and can do so without any kind of friction, they have to pay money or they have to log into something or whatever it is, that we can develop notoriety and that notoriety has value.
Marcus: Right. And so if we take a look at the tenant that we’re unpacking here, the playbook you’re running is Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Hook.
Marcus: So you’re three jabs, you’re free hooks are: here’s how to open a law firm, here’s how to grow a law firm, here’s how to market a law firm. Three jabs; they’re free. The hook is if you’ve got trademark work, hand that over to me.
Josh: If you feel like I’ve provided you value, that’s the business I’m in and that would be fantastic if you would trust me with that.
Marcus: It’s brilliant, and it’s spot on. At the same time, when it comes to content, content is hard. It’s really, really super hard. And I know one of the things that you cautioned me about, you said, “Hey Marcus, I do not have this content library in place. This is my goal for 2019. This is what I’m going to be doing.” So just walk us through what you’re process is going to be to develop the curriculum.
Josh: Sure. Step one is all the technical things that you have to put in place. You know, you want to sound good, look good. We’re going to do video and podcasts. So we set up a studio in our office. I had a professional videographer come in, set up a studio, consult on equipment that we bought, and got everything ready to go. We’ll be able to take the video, edit the video, and rip the audio out and make it a podcast. So that’s the first step is trying to figure all that out. And that took about 60 days.
Marcus: So podcasts and video. Tell me how you made the decision that those were the channels you wanted to go out on.
Josh: I think video is very important. I was one of the first attorneys that did video online, especially at least in the trademark world. And ever since the first day I put a video on with me just talking on my website, I would get clients that will call me and say, I called you because of the video.
Josh: Oh yeah, because most attorneys don’t have that. And if you think about it, when you’re hiring an attorney, you’re just hiring that person. You need to trust that person. So if you’re online and you can talk to someone and get that trust by just showing them who you are, that immediately sets you apart from the vast majority of competitors. So I know how compelling video can be, and I felt that in this particular context for what I’m trying to build, just doing a podcast would probably not be enough. I need to show people things as well as talk about it.
Marcus: Absolutely. The other thing that you point out, which is super smart, is ripping the audio from the video is pretty simple, right? So you’re pretty much getting two platforms for the investment of 1.1 or 1.2.
Josh: That’s the goal.
Marcus: I appreciate the humility! But let me ask you this, to juxtapose a little bit. It’s so interesting, one of the things that Vaynerchuk says- and unfortunately, I don’t know any human being that has Gary Vaynerchuck’s ability to go 27 hours a day- one of the things that he says is, “Be on every platform! Be on every platform twice as much!” We just recently recorded a podcast with Joe Pulizzi. Joe Pulizzi ended up in all places, but he took a much more measured approach. He started with a blog. He added a podcast. He layered on channels one after the other. So I guess my question for you is where do you land? Is Vaynerchuk, right? Or is Pulizzi right? Are we going to see Josh Gerben on Instagram, I guess is my question. Where’s your head with all the channels?
Josh: Sure. I don’t doubt that Vaynerchuk is right. I think it’s incredibly difficult to do what he’s saying to do, and he even admits it. He has a hard time doing it, and I think he has a personal staff that he pays over $1 million a year to help with his content. I don’t have that kind of budget. So I think what’s reasonable for most people to do is do what you can do and put something out there because that’s doing more than 99.9% of the people anyhow, and grow it from there. So I would probably subscribe more to the Pulizzi model at this point just because what we’re going to do. Yeah, we’ll probably try to go on Instagram just because it is sort of the hot platform of the day. But we’re going to try Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn for sure in our world.
Josh: We’ll do a YouTube channel so people can go and see the videos… and then iTunes and Spotify. So those would probably be the main things that will be on at this point.
Marcus: Yup. Awesome. Outstanding. I want to take a moment and talk about the fact that, because your legal practice is different from this other initiative- this thought leadership/ professional advice from Josh Gerben- you made the decision to set up a separate website for the personal brand. Did you wrestle with that? Did you consider just putting a tab inside the law firm’s website? Talk to me about how you decided to handle two separate properties.
Josh: Sure. For a long time I resisted the idea of making a second website. A lot of our internet marketing consultants have said, “Why don’t you make another blog about trademarks and do it on another website?” And my view is that you should try to make as much content on one website as possible to have it rank better and have better search authority in the eyes of Google. This project, I actually did not hesitate though on setting up separately from the law firm for a number of reasons. One is because I don’t want it to be a law firm. I don’t want to have the same restrictions that a law firm has when it comes to marketing.
Marcus: And I know we’re in the early stages. I’ve seen very, very early designs of your website. I’m trying to think here, does it even say Josh Gerben, Esquire? I’m trying to recall how you’re even referring to yourself.
Josh: I’m just using my name Josh Gerben. I don’t feel the need to put the esquire in there. People will get that hopefully at some point. The idea is that this is going to be a website, while we have the firm and we’re growing the trademark practice and there’s other attorneys involved in that practice, this is very much my very personal experience of what I’ve been trying to do in growing this firm.
Josh: And this is the behind the scenes look as to everything I did from day one. Zero clients. Nothing. To where we are today.
Marcus: Right. Very, very cool. I want to take a moment and talk to you about patience. This isn’t a campaign you’re going to be able to look in the mirror in 30 days and go, “Oh, I’m brilliant!” like you might be able to do with a simple Google paid search campaign. Clearly you’re a fan of Vaynerchuk. Vaynerchuk talks a lot about patience, but talk to me about your expectations for this. How do you anticipate yourself being patient? What KPIs are you looking at? You know, at the end of the year, are you going to be saying, “How many referrals that I get from this?” Talk to me about ROI. Talk to me about patience as you look at this.
Josh: Sure. I think any campaign that starts with the idea that you’re going to give away free information and somehow eventually monetize that, you need to be in it for the long run and the long play. I’m fortunate enough that right now our law firm’s very stable and we don’t need this campaign to work in 2019. We’re not looking for it to work in 2019. We would love for it to work in 2020, 2021 if possible. We have been very focused on search engine marketing and very focused on pay per click marketing for 11 years. And a lot of business consultants will tell you, you have to be very careful about relying on one platform for your business. So if something happens to Google tomorrow, I will have a problem. And so this is part of the diversification plan for the long run. I don’t anticipate something happening to Google tomorrow, but I don’t know where Google is going to be in five or 10 years, and I don’t know where search is going to be in five or 10 years. So the more notoriety that I can build into myself now, the better the chance that my firm will exist for the long run because I will not be relying on one way of getting new business.
Marcus: Which honestly, it’s another one of the laws of Gary V. You and I’ve talked about Joe Pulizzi a little bit. We’ve talked about Gary Vaynerchuk. I am curious, are there other big marketers out there, ones specific to the law field? Or perhaps ones that aren’t, besides Gary V. and Joe Pulizzi? Are there others who have helped you form your thoughts through the years?
Josh: In the law field? No. There are not a lot of legal marketing geniuses out there. You have a lot of people that try to sell you websites and search engine optimization campaigns, but that’s about all I’ve ever seen. And that’s another reason why I want to do this because I think there is just this lack of anybody willing to talk about it. Now, there are some guys that do, but there’s just not a lot of voices in this space. I think other people who have been personally helpful to me. Tim Ferris is another one ever since I read The 4-Hour Work Week. Which I, unfortunately, have not been able to work less from reading his books. And his whole thing is deconstructing the world-class performer.
Josh: And I think you can pick up a lot of things from that as far as how to run yourself and how to run your business. But it was really listening to Vaynerchuk and really understanding where he was coming from that kind of gave me the aha! moment. It’s been very difficult for us to figure out how to market our practice in a different way than we have, and this is a way that I feel could be very successful. Now I’m hoping that that is true, but you never know.
Marcus: One of the other things that I can’t stress enough is Gary’s always jealous of those of us who work in the B2B space because he says, you know your customers. And what you’re doing with this launch, is you know your customers. You are speaking to other attorneys, which you’ve already determined are a prime referral source. So I definitely think you are set up for major success on this one. As we record this, I know you’re in the process of building your personal website. But hit the listeners up with a couple of URLs. Let’s start with the law firm. What’s the URL for the law firm?
Josh: Sure. It’s gerbenlaw.com.
Marcus: I find it hard to believe that you’re the first Gerben to be a lawyer, but you were quick on the URL for that one.
Josh: Surprisingly, there are not a lot of us out there.
Marcus: And the personal website?
Josh: That’s just going to be joshgerben.com. Yeah, we’re working on that. It’s funny because getting the content going, it always, if you ever try to do it yourself, takes so much longer than you anticipate, right? To really get that wheel turning. But once you do, you start to really be able to knock some things out.
Marcus: Well, we’re in the throes here of recording season one, and I’m going to say right now, Josh, I really appreciate you coming on this program because your site is not live yet. This is something that you decided is what I want to do. So I’m going to make the invitation right now that, later this year, I would love to have you come back on and say, “Here’s what worked. Here’s what didn’t work. Here’s where I’m going next.” I really appreciate you coming on the program.
Josh: Sure, thank you. I’d be happy to do that. Absolutely.
Marcus: Okay. Well, hey, that sound means we’ve nearly reached the end of the program with Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney. But it also means it’s time for our Marketing Minute! Josh, I have got one, two, three, four, five quick questions for you. I need your flash answers. Are you ready?
Josh: I am. I was not a very good student, but we’ll see how this goes.
Marcus: All right, here we go. Question number one for Josh Gerben: Apple or Android?
Marcus: Question number two: when you’re surfing the web, ad blocker or no?
Marcus: No ad blocker. Question number three: we’re talking about your wrist. Now, do I find a Timex? Do I find a smartwatch or a bare wrist?
Josh: Apple watch.
Marcus: Apple Watch. Outstanding. This’ll be a fun one. Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or Don Draper?
Josh: Oh, Elon Musk.
Marcus: You were hoping I’d put Gary Vaynerchuk in there, weren’t you? But you’re a Musk. That’s fine. And finally, sir, your television watching habits: are you in fact a cable-holic or a cord cutter?
Josh: We have cable. I have young children, so unfortunately do not get a lot of time in front of the TV to watch what I want to.
Marcus: Outstanding. Hey, I really want to thank Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney, for joining us today. This has been a really fascinating one. Definitely learning about trademarks but also how Josh is inspired to take his content marketing to a new level this year. Can’t wait to see what he does. You’ve been listening to The Revenue Stream with Web Talent Marketing. I’m Marcus Grimm. We’ll see you next time around.