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Explode Your Marketing with the Barbenheimer Phenomenon!

Although my wife and I saw both the Barbie and Oppenheimer movies, we didn’t do so until way after the Academy Awards were handed out. Apparently, there was expected to be quite a competition between the two movies, as they opened at about the same time, and the worry was that people would not spend the money necessary to see both films.

This is a good example of the scarcity mindset, in which businesses believe that they are competing for a limited amount of dollars in their market, and that if one of them wins, the other one loses. So, many believe, both movies could not be, a financial success. But it doesn’t have to be a zero sum game.

The Abundance Mindset Took Over

But, apparently, the teams behind both movies did not get that memo. They engaged in mutual support of each other, and even shared photos of each cast going to the other’s movie. In doing this, they managed to improve the overall visibility of both films, and draw in a larger audience overall.

As we all know now, both movies were commercial successes. As of the end of 2023, Barbie had grossed $1,441,820,453, while Oppenheimer brought in $952,021,870. But in terms of the cost to produce, Oppenheimer made for a 9.5x return on investment, while Barbie brought in a 9.9x ROI. Although Barbie made a bigger profit, though, they were both an unqualified success ranking as the #1 and #3 movies for 2023 in terms of gross receipts worldwide.

This became known as The Barbenheimer Phenomenon.

But What Does This Mean for Your Law Firm Marketing?

You should never give in to scarcity mindset. If you continue to think that you are competing for the same dollars as your competition, you’ll be prone to competing on price in order to get that client, rather than your competition. That is a no-win race to the bottom.

If you want to make use of the Barbenheimer Phenomenon in your marketing, you have to embrace an abundance mindset. You need to think in terms of working cooperatively with your competition. For example, in my estate planning practice, I am marketing to married couples that are 55 and over. I recently discovered that another attorney in my area was marketing to younger couples with children. This created an opportunity for us to refer leads to each other and both make money.

Another example is my bankruptcy practice. Lots of other attorneys in my area do bankruptcy (especially since COVID), but I also do student loan law and debt negotiation. In this way, I don’t have to compete with those other firms for the bankruptcy work; I can encourage them to refer clients to me who have student loan problems, or don’t want to file bankruptcy due to having just one large debt that they don’t think they can repay.

Embracing the Barbenheimer Phenomenon

Block out some time in the next week or two (definitely within 30 days) to sit down and look at the competition in your area and see how you can help each other much in the way that the producers of both of these films did last year.

If you have a practice area that complements theirs (as in my bankruptcy example) or are going after a different avatar client for the same practice area (as in my estate planning example), multiple referral opportunities will present themselves.

The Phenomenon can work for you!

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Steven J. Richardson

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