We’ve all seen the personal injury ads on TV, the ones that promise you big compensation if some entity has caused you grave harm. These personal injury lawyers used to be called ambulance chasers in days past, and now it appears that this moniker may be appropriate once again.
Recently NPR’s All Things Considered aired a story that patients in emergency rooms, medical clinics and doctor offices in Philadelphia may soon begin receiving mobile ads for personal injury lawyers. These types of mobile device ads are known as “geofencing”, which is a marketing method that uses global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to define a geographic border. When mobile devices cross this geographic boundary, they receive an alert or notification on their mobile device.
Bill Kakis of Tell All Digital, a digital marketing firm, has just made several deals with various Philadelphia law firms to aim mobile ads at patients. There are also many other marketing companies in other states that are trying geofencing in hospital settings. Kakis told NPR that even though everyone in the emergency room may not need an attorney, the flip side is that people who need a personal injury lawyer are likely to be in a medical emergency care location.
Kakis says that when people cross this digital fence, the mobile ads can keep displaying for longer than a month and on mobile devices. Kakis believes that these types of marketing tactics are legitimate aspects of modern marketing techniques, similar to any other type of advertisement.
However, this may not always be the case. Last year, Massachusetts’ attorney general negotiated a deal with a Massachusetts digital advertising firm that was targeting people in clinics. This deal effectively banished the marketing firm from the state by claiming that the firm violated the state’s consumer protection act.
In this constantly evolving field of digital marketing, there will always be conflict between privacy issues and marketing techniques. Just don’t be surprised when you are at your next doctor visit and suddenly you see an ad on your phone telling you only “one call, that’s all” is needed for personal injury help.