5 Hidden Marketing Lessons From 'Better Call Saul'

Not only is Jimmy McGill aka Saul Goodman, a real rough around the edges sort, but he's also an incredible lawyer.

  Image Courtesy of AMC

Image Courtesy of AMC

It's possible that his peers would disagree, but he's clearly a real hustler that gets what he wants. His previous boss even affectionately named him, "Charlie Hustle". That endearing nickname really spoke to Jimmy's work ethic. Going from a mailroom clerk in his brother's law firm to a bonafide lawyer himself, Jimmy is a self-made man in the truest sense.

Now, there are several lessons to be learned from Ol' Jimmy other than his hard work ethic. The word "morals" wasn't used here intentionally because Jimmy obviously lacks some (a lot) of those, but he fights hard for his clients and sometimes (usually) crosses the line. The show itself is entertaining and has so many twists and turns just like its predecessor, Breaking Bad, that you can't help but get hooked on this drama. We are currently on "binge-mode" with this show.

Since marketing is the name of the game that we are playing, it's hard not to pick up a few clever and useful techniques that Jimmy left behind in his wake. These lessons could be applied across multiple fields in a dozen industries, but social media marketing professionals especially will find this information useful.

Success Does Not Come Easy

  Image Courtesy of AMC

Image Courtesy of AMC

This should be a surprise to no one. If you think that Jimmy was a shoe-in for a partner at his brother's firm, well you'd be sadly mistaken. He paid his dues in the mailroom and went to law school at night so he could sit in a seat as a partner one day. It's that kind of dedication to your craft that makes or breaks certain people or companies. You have to put in the time and effort it takes to become successful. No one is going to hand you the keys to success without testing your abilities first. Also, in order to be successful, you eat, drink, and sleep your craft. Become an expert in your field and soon you'll develop into a trusted source like Jimmy.

Think Outside of the Box

In order to stand out from the pack, you need to be creative. Jimmy needed to drum-up some money fast in order to pay the bills for his fledgling law office. He saw a need for elder law and began helping elderly residents with their Last Will & Testament in a nursing home. It turned out to be a smart move on Jimmy's part as he stumbled upon a very lucrative secret that the nursing home had been hiding. Cha-ching! The lesson to be learned from Jimmy is to find your niche. In some cases it will find you, but it will happen much faster if you take the first step forward.

Branding Keeps You Relevant

  Image Courtesy of AMC

Image Courtesy of AMC

Jimmy has no shortage of branding tactics. You'll find his face on billboards, medicine bottles, bingo cards, and matchboxes. It's clever and effective. You can never underestimate the power of branding because you will be fresh on people's minds. Now, where you choose to place your branding is extremely important because if not done carefully, you could possibly waste a lot of money. Jimmy knew his market was older folks, so he put his brand identity everywhere in the nursing home. It worked well for him and he became a familiar face that they all grew to love. So, place your identity in places that you want to be seen by your target audience so they can grow to love you, too!

Know the Rules, But Don't Break Them

Jimmy is known for being a clown in the courtroom and often blurs the line between professionalism and being downright slimy. He didn't attend a top university for law school, but he knows what it takes to get his clients the best possible outcome and he'll go to any lengths to do just that. His problem is that he often strays from the right path and gets into murky waters. He's a conflicted individual to say the least, but he is determined to win. He wants respect. Actually, he needs respect. It should go without saying that you should respect the rules of engagement over social media. Play by the rules and be respectable leader. Black hat techniques have never made someone a social media marketing star. Know your field inside and out so you can be creative enough to make your clients money without breaking the rules. They'll respect you more for it in the long run.

Stay True to Yourself

  Image courtesy of Ben Leuner/AMC

Image courtesy of Ben Leuner/AMC

When Jimmy finally got the big break he wanted, he wasn't totally comfortable with his newfound success. He struggled with the idea of playing within the confines of a big corporate law firm and his personality just didn't align with his new employer. He definitely enjoyed the amenities that came with his position, but ultimately he grew to loathe it. When Jimmy was having trouble sleeping in his swanky, corporate apartment, he eventually went back to his old, dusty, cramped office space to get a good nights rest. He was put at ease by returning to the place where he began his journey. It wasn't glamorous, but it was home to him. This is the most important lesson Jimmy taught. It's so important to stay true to yourself and never forget your priorities. Jimmy thought he cared about the money and the prestige of being a lawyer at a respected law firm, but it turned out he didn't really want that at all. If you don't stay true to yourself and your brand's image, then others will see straight through the facade. Being honest and authentic should be the highest priority for all social media marketers. Forgetting the message you want to convey to your audience won't get you very far in terms of success. Open yourself up to possibilities without giving anything away. People like you because of you and not who you are trying to be.

In conclusion, social media marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Those in the business are well aware of that fact. Do yourself a favor and study your craft so you can be an expert and pass your knowledge onto others. If you sound like you know your stuff, then you'll be a respected figure in the social media biz. Guaranteed!

Oh, and be more like Jimmy... I mean Saul Goodman. It's all good, man!

-Chris Parks