What's Hot and Not in Marketing and Business Development

Posted by Larry Bodine | Dec 02, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here is the latest Communique from Bob Denney & Associates in Paoili, PA:

As with all of our past reports, some of our findings are not new but we include them because they continue to affect the profession. Other findings have not yet been widely recognized but we feel they are already having or will have a significant impact. The resulting picture is a montage of a legal profession that will continue to change, not just in 2016, but for years to come.

Pricing Directors. Usually based in the Marketing/BD department, they continue to be hot in AmLaw 200 firms. In addition to being involved in developing responses to RFPs, thud is often involved in project management. In the mid-size firms that have addressed the issue, the COO usually fills the role of PD.

Marketing Technology Specialists. They are also getting hot in AmLaw 200 firms.

Responsive Web Design (RWD). Currently a hot issue among marketers but may cooldown as firms recognize that effective web sites are more about content and delivery than they are about design.

Client Interviews. As we reported at midyear, their importance continues to be recognized but there is debate on who should conduct the interviews. My associates and I introduced client surveys to the legal profession over 30 years ago. Our experience is that who should conduct the interviews depends on the firm's objective. If it is to cement client relationships, the Managing Partner is usually the best person if he/she is properly prepared. To obtain feedback on client service and quality of work, the Relationship/Responsible Partner is usually the best. To obtain and evaluate meaningful information for market analysis and strategic planning, the CMO or qualified outside third party is best.

Social Media. Except for Facebook, it continues to be hot. Blogs and firm websites are still among the most effective online means for reaching in-house counsel and potential clients but some marketing experts say they may soon be surpassed by . . .

Content Syndicators and Aggregators such as LinkedIn, Mondaq and JDSupra to push content to other sites and services.

Advertising. Whether it's online, print, TV, radio, billboards or bus exteriors, it is still the principal marketing strategy for personal injury lawyers as well as others.

Video News Broadcast. In October Epstein Becker & Green announced the launch of a weekly video news broadcast called “Employment Law This Week”. It will be anchored by a partner and supported by a production team that includes six other attorneys.

Super Lawyers”, “Best Lawyers”, “Leading Lawyers” lists proliferate but because the firms and lawyers pay to be on many of these lists – which most of the public doesn't know – they are really advertising. Therefore, the question for these and all other marketing expenditures is . . .

What is the ROI? Marketing legal services is not the same as advertising soup or cereal where sales can be compared to expenditures. Except for personal injury cases or when a firm is marketing a “packaged service” such as a simple will or uncontested divorce, most online marketing is still about building a reputation and firm brand.

Chief Marketing Officers. In many large and some mid-size firms, the position continues to become more strategic in both operations and in driving firm growth plans. But the problem is that, while CMO's are being given increased responsibility in many firms, few give them the authority they need to be as effective as they could be.

Sales Professionals. Some firms have employed non-lawyers to make contacts and develop leads. It took accounting firms several decades to achieve worthwhile results from this strategy. Even with all the changes occurring in the legal profession, this is one strategy that has not been successful and may never be in our lifetime. However . . .

Business Development Training and Coaching can be productive, especially for younger lawyers.

Lateral Hiring continues to be one of the hottest growth strategies in mid-size and, of course, large firms. But the results, i.e., new clients and growth, are often not as expected.  

Click to read the full report, What’s Hot and What’s Not In The Legal Profession.

About the Author

Larry Bodine

Larry Bodine is a marketer, journalist and attorney who knows how to turn website visitors into clients for trial law firms.


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