Strategic Marketing in Five Easy Leaps.

You don’t have to be in the AM LAW 50 to market your law firm strategically, but you can’t get there if you’re stuck in a level one, two or three marketing mindset. For many firms this means change and what better time to change than now.  If you’re already operating in Level Five, you’re home free! (Maybe.)

The first step in change is understanding what that change looks like. Here are a few bullet points from my outline for helping firms reach a strategic level in their marketing efforts. If you’d like a copy of the complete list, use the contact form at the end of this post, and I’ll send you a PDF of the complete list… so you can “Grow Your Marketing Strategy in Five Giant Leaps.”

LEVEL ONE.goldfish jumping out of the water

  • Marketing efforts are unfocused and scatter-shot.
  • Emphasis is on directory listings, tombstone or one-off advertisements, and a static Web site from a template.
  • New partner announcements are mass mailed and simple client entertainments—lunch, a ball game, open house—are highly regarded marketing tactics.
  • Individual attorneys are heavily invested in community and civic sponsorships, but lack direction and goals for involvement.
  • Efforts to relate or track any of these activities to new business leads are non-existent.
  • Marketers are valued for, and successes tied to, the completion of tasks.

LEVEL TWO.goldfish jumping out of the water

  • Marketing efforts are promotional.
  • Emphasis is on gaining exposure for the firm.
  • Numbers such as how many newsletters sent, seminars hosted, brochures distributed, or Web pages visited measures success.
  • Value is defined by the perception of the firm’s position in the marketplace.
  • Marketing efforts may be more proactive, but marketers are not yet considered an integral part of the business.
  • Firm management recognizes the relationship between marketing and new business.
  • The first firm wide marketing plan appears—unrelated to a strategic business plan.
  • The plan is wordy, impractical and placed in a drawer.

LEVEL THREE.goldfish jumping out of the water

  • Sophistication begins.
  • Emphasis is on market-driven efforts—defined around clients’ needs.
  • Web bios are about “what I can do for you” not “here’s all the great things I’ve done.”
  • Marketing’s ability to provide channels for individual attorneys to meaningfully connect with prospects measures success.
  • Activities attach goals and measurements—increased revenue, referrals, satisfied clients, new business leads.

LEVEL FOUR.goldfish jumping out of the water

  • Vision and leadership kick in.
  • Marketing is an integral part of the firm’s strategy for their future.
  • Emphasis is not on getting new business; it’s about getting the right kind of business.
  • A strategic, executive marketer—CMO, Director, CBDO—fits into the organizational chart and has a seat at the table during executive meetings.
  • The firm has a fully integrated a relational database (CRM).
  • Outsourced help in fulfilling key proposal responses complements a well-developed internal resource.
  • Sales coaching for attorneys is determined strategically—not tied to firm politics.
  • Client interviews are not optional.
  • Social Web is understood and embraced by senior management—integrated into marketing core competencies.

LEVEL FIVE.goldfish jumping out of the water

  • Only an elite group of firms will engage at this level—not necessarily dependent on their size or status in Am Law rankings.
  • Emphasis is on the adoption of strategic account management for key clients.
  • Well defined ‘valued added’ products appear—alternative billing arrangements and willingness to share risk with key clients.
  • Marketing funds and resources support only top tier clients and prospects.
  • Compensation systems offer incentives—based on an individual’s role on a team, not simply upon originations.
  • This firm has the full complement of “C” level roles.
  • The partnership allows management partners and business leaders run the firm’s business—all attorneys are held accountable for the business and are expected to be “good citizens” of the firm.

Look before you leap.

Firms in the early stages may find it more practical to outsource the strategic marketing role during transition by engaging a senior professional, like the Virtual Marketing Officer, on a contract basis.

Use the contact form below to request a free PDF of the complete “Guide to a Strategic Law Firm Marketing Mindset.” Your email won’t be highjacked for anything else. Or, use the form to contact us to learn more about our interim and contract strategic marketing services.

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