What’s YOUR Happy Meal Toy?

Dear Subscriber & Friend,

You might not like what I’m about to say… but I’m going to say it anyway.

It’s something no one else has probably ever said to you.

Simply knowing about it can potentially boost your bottom line. Maybe by a lot.

The fact is…

A Client’s Decision to Hire You Isn’t Always Based on How Great a Lawyer You Are… 

It’s Sometimes All About an UNDERLYING BENEFIT They’re Receiving from You

Here’s the kicker: Some lawyers don’t even realize that they’re offering an “underlying benefit.” And some don’t know enough to offer one at all.

Read on because there’s a very important marketing lesson here.

Today’s big “ah-ha!” moment is sponsored by the McDonald’s Happy Meal. Created in 1977 by Bob Bernstein, founder and CEO of Bernstein-Rein Advertising, The Happy Meal single-handedly revolutionized the way the fast food industry markets its products.

The secret to the Happy Meal? It’s certainly wasn’t their succulent, flavorful, mouth-watering burger. Uh… nope.

It also wasn’t their fries (although I’ll admit, I love Mickie D’s fries).

The reason why tots everywhere would throw a tantrum every time their little eyes spotted the iconic golden arches is because…

They Couldn’t Wait to Get Their Hands on the Toys!

If you have kids, you know this all too well.

The idea was genius:  lure the kids to McDonald’s through a “secondary” or underlying benefit that would cause the purchase of the main product.

Yes, it was genius, but not novel.

Cracker Jack had been doing it for years.

So did many of the cereal companies.

I also remember buying a gazillion pieces of Bazooka Joe bubble gum just for the comic strip inside.

All these products followed the same strategy:

Make the Bonus or Secondary Item So Appealing, and Make them Want it So Badly,

the Consumer Has “No Choice” but to Purchase the Primary Item

And boy, was McDonald’s ever successful.  According to Ad Age, worldwide sales of the Happy Meal alone in 2009 topped 3 BILLION dollars.  Certainly not chump change. That’s A LOT of toys.

In fact, the success of the Happy Meal made McDonald’s the #1 distributor of toys in the world.

What’s most interesting is that with McDonald’s, the quality of the primary item had little to do with whether a sale was made.  As long as the SECONDARY item (the toy) was extremely desirable, and the primary item wasn’t awful, brisk sales would continue.

And so, at this point you’re probably asking…

How Will a Lousy Happy Meal Help Me Make More Money Practicing Law? 

Well, the key lesson from today’s newsletter is… make your SECONDARY or UNDERLYING benefit so strong, clients will be drawn to you like a steel bar to a magnet.

I dare say even if your skills, abilities or experience are bested by your competitors… if your UNDERLYING benefits are sufficiently appealing… you might still win the business. Why? Because you offer a Happy Meal “toy” and your competitors don’t.

Therefore, if you are going to distinguish yourself from everyone else, you must create multiple areas of differentiation between you and everyone else — and clearly communicate them. Price aside (and assuming competency is fairly comparable), the way clients choose one lawyer over another is often very simple: they look to see how you’re different and how that will help them.

Sometimes it’s so simple, we don’t even see it.

If you haven’t communicated SECONDARY benefits in your marketing, start right away.

I have a slew of SECONDARY benefits that I can share with you.  Would you be interested in hearing about them? I think some lawyers are dozing off out there, so I want to make sure I still have your attention.

Tell you what  –  I’ll give you some killer examples of SECONDARY benefits next week.  All I ask is that you simply reply to this email and write “HAPPY MEAL” in the subject line. Then I’ll know you’re still with me. There’s nothing worse than talking to thousands of people and then hearing crickets in return.  :)


P.S. – I’m well aware there has been some controversy regarding the nutritional value of the Happy Meals and the ethics of targeting children to sell Happy Meals. Clearly, I’m not focused on that. I’m just using the Happy Meal marketing strategy to illustrate how it can help you become more profitable.


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