I'm going to tell you something you probably don't want to hear: if your marketing is not systematized, it's not going to work.
What does this really mean? If you don't have a defined process for landing clients - or getting their interest so that they eventually will become clients - you don't have a marketing plan. Instead, you have what we call “random acts of marketing.” And it’s not going to work in the long term if it works at all.
If you consider your law firm a real business - one that will grow reliably each year, then you need to re-frame how you think about marketing. Consistent growth requires the right actions, consistently done. This is what separates the firms that grow, from those that don’t.
We often hear these themes with firms that aren’t progressing:
Large & Midsize firms:
- Each partner does their own thing, but the firm doesn’t have a coherent plan or message
- Our practice areas get different amounts of marketing attention
- Our internal resources are stretched too thin
- The marketing we do isn’t effective
- Different generations of partners have different perspectives on marketing and we are at a deadlock
- We’re not sure how to bring together different practice groups and stakeholders
- Marketing gets pushed to the back burner
- I know I need to do more, but I’m not sure what to do
- We hear a lot of ideas, but many of them don’t seem to apply to our situation
- I tried using a marketing firm, but they didn’t “get it” (or, “it didn’t work”)
What happens when any (or several) of these thoughts prevail? Nothing gets done. Or, sporadic efforts get done.
Marketing is kind of like going to the gym. Going once a month isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need a plan that:
- Takes into account both where you are and where you want to go
- The firm understands will work
- Will get executed, without fail
This all comes down to the right plan, systematized. For most firms, the way to do that is to ensure they have the right mix of resources (with appropriate skill sets), executing a defined plan without anything getting in the way.
Here’s a quick checklist to make sure you have the right resources lined up to succeed. You need:
- A Plan: The right plan, which includes not only what you are doing, but also where you’re publishing, on what cadence, and the specific, measurable success criterium.
- Resources: Individuals to execute the plan. Those individuals should have domain expertise in the specific aspect of legal marketing, or else efforts are far less likely to succeed.
- Partner Buy-In: This can be the hardest in larger firms. Make sure the individuals executing your plan have worked with every partner to understand their unique perspective and fit their goals into the plan. This will allow more seasoned partners (who have an existing business) to participate and benefit just as much as junior partners who may need to use different strategies.
- Time: The individuals tasked with executing marketing should not have other duties - especially client work - that could pull them away from marketing. Otherwise, consistency will be compromised.
For most firms, achieving all of the above is a difficult task. That’s because the firm must, first and foremost, focus on its’ core competency - delivering legal services. Projects, staffing, and project management around systematized marketing aren’t core to the firm’s delivery and usually get sidelined.
For that reason,it’s usually best for firms to either hire a dedicated marketing manager or outsource the marketing function. In either case, make sure the individual or firm has the depth of experience working in legal marketing today - not just old-school (and now less effective) blogging, newsletters, etc. but also across modern digital mediums.
The formula is simple. The right plan + the right resources + consistent execution = success.
Now it’s your turn.
If you’d like to discuss what a custom law firm marketing solution looks like - one created specifically for you by a marketing firm that’s for lawyers, by lawyers, request a complimentary assessment here.