In the legal profession, traditionally a lot of business ‘walked-in’ based on the reputation of the Firm or due to equity created by some prominent lawyers in the firm. However, with intense competition among Firms that have similar kinds of talent pool and increase pricing pressure require a lot of marketing push. It is an established fact that high growth Firms spend more on their BD and marketing compared to their peers with slow growth. However, spending more is not enough. Marketing works effectively when they have ties with the Firm’s strategy. And planned meticulously for the whole financial year as a part of long-term planning.
In your everyday life, as a senior partner, you are swamped with mails offering double spread profiling opportunities that would reach millions of your prospective customers. Or you have an offer for an event that gets all the ‘decision-makers’ to listen to your proposition. But mostly, all those opportunities need payment. You reject a few by your gut feeling but end up accepting some of them. Often due to sheer persuasion of the sales guys. You end up spending your precious marketing dollars only to learn, you are going to reject ‘this one’ next year. And this repeats itself.
We need to look at marketing more strategically. In this competitive environment, it is important to understand why a client should choose you among many similar offerings. For that, you need to recognize yourself – who you are, what you stand for, what are your markets and why you.
The firms which excel would’ve invested in people, technology, processes and other touchpoints with their clients. In addition to the traditional 4 Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Place and Promotion, Booms and Bitner added another three elements particularly in the context of the service industry, which are – People, Process and Physical Evidence.
Therefore, strategically speaking, when you think of marketing, you must think of all these elements in your advance marketing strategy. However, in this article, we would be discussing more fundamental issues.
‘Recognizing yourself’ is the first step in which senior management must do guided and dispassionate discussions on top of data points. Everyone is not everything. The biggest mistake we make is when we put our hands in many things, spend marketing dollars on several things and don’t get the results. So we need to define what the firm stands for.
The discussion should be to figure out what works well for the firm historically. And therefore begin work further on it, which way the wind is blowing to invest, what are low-hanging fruits. Also, which must grab immediately and what are the long term objectives of the firm.
A well-articulated strategic direction that comes from the above discussion is the solid backbone of marketing planning. The planning needs to have three-year horizon with one year’s activities defined along with budgets.
This needs to map on the ‘knowledge’ of available marketing opportunities in relevant markets. For instance, if trying to make an impact in a market for services, you must know about the target audience. And offer them the knowledge they care about. And this needs to perform repeatedly with follow-up actions already defined in the plan.
Another key element in achieving BD and marketing goals is to define the roles of BD and Marketing teams clearly. This is often the most neglected area of law firms in India, which must be addressed.
Proper marketing planning also flows in the roles and responsibilities of the BD and marketing team. Makes their evaluation process scientific that helps both the team and the organization. When marketing is planned, the efforts are aligned with the firm’s objectives and marketing spend is optimized to achieve the organizational goals.