Often I find myself 'nagging' law firm executives and business users about why the marketing department is underrepresented in process improvement meetings.
Law Firms are faced with increasing and rapidly expanding competitive forces (in-house legal teams; legal outsourcing; other firms). These forces are threatening both top-line revenue and bottom-line profitability.
Law Firm success relies on the firm's ability to differentiate itself from these competitive forces. As a result, the need for marketing teams to be integrated into high-level strategy and every-day business processes is a requirement. And, the need for the marketing team to be proactively marketing firm differentiators almost in real-time is also key. The window of differentiation in certain areas of law or key challenges faced by corporations is becoming increasingly short. Therefore, advantages (such as expertise and key case wins) have to be pushed and highlighted almost immediately.
It has become one of my personal passions to help law firms innovate their marketing approaches. To remain profitable and viable, law firms have to transform almost every aspect of how they run their business. Marketing is a core component of that transformation. In fact, I believe it needs to be the key driver of it.
3 Innovations for Law Firm Marketing
First, law firm marketing departments have to be empowered with new insight into their firm and it's ecosystem in the context of the larger global market. The speed of global market changes, and the potential risk / rewards of those changes is more than apparent to anyone whose been aware of the global economic changes since 2008. It is no longer enough to look at your internal information in a vacuum - you must have the ability to tie it back to the larger picture of your global corporate clients.
This is why we have built products specifically targeted at providing vast amounts of intelligence regarding law firm clients (global corporations) from a corporate make-up, financial metrics and industry and market comparisons that tie directly back to the law firm's internal client information. This way, if any change is detected (internal or external), we can immediately prompt marketing assessments of the potential opportunity.
Marketing needs to be at the table for any process improvement or strategic discussions regarding overall positioning of the firm. And once there, they need to be expected and allowed to provide meaningful input into those decisions.
Process improvement needs to be inclusive of information gathering and feeding for marketing purposes. Take a look at the example below of how marketing integration into the new business intake process at your firm can substantially increase the marketing's team ability to target marketing efforts and spend (and adapt almost immediately based on real-time information as the business operates).
Last, but certainly not least, law firms need to match marketing approaches to the changed buying habits of their clients and allow the firm to highlight its differentiators in ways that pull new clients to the firm.
As I alluded to above - content must be timely, on-point and distributed to targets meaningfully and consistently. The firm's thought leadership in industries and areas of law have to be highlighted (along with the value difference potential prospects can expect to gain). Done right, inbound marketing techniques provide more and better-qualified leads for less overall spend than more traditional marketing techniques!
Successful firms will provide the marketing department with what it needs to be successful, primarily:
1. Involvement in key strategic decisions and every day processes
2. Insight into the firm's business (with accessible business intelligence tools) and it's tie to the business of it's clients and targeted prospects.
3. Adaptability through real-time information feeds and intelligence to empower the marketing team to implement and monitor new inbound marketing approaches.
If you are in the marketing department of a law firm and you read this blog and think (that would be nice, but there is no way my firm would go for this)...give me a call or write me an email...I am always up for a good challenge and I'm willing to help be your advocate for your firm's success!