Law Firm Marketing Strategies
When looking at law firm marketing strategies, there are many things that we take into account. Obviously, the impact of the internet cannot be overlooked; this is often the first place that people go to find what they are looking for. Through the Internet, as well as using other legal marketing strategies, we want to expand your firm’s name recognition, which will help level the playing field for newer or smaller firms. Now that more law firms are advertising, there is more competition for a potential client to find you. Call today for a free attorney marketing consultation and evaluation of your law firm’s current strategies.
A. The Internet Has Changed The Rules
- There are very few truisms anymore in today’s highly competitive legal industry. The Internet has had a tremendous impact in redefining virtually every aspect of how we do business—from how a business is marketed to how individuals find, evaluate, and select their buying decisions.Likewise, it is no longer a sure thing that the company (or law firm) with the longest history and best name recognition has the overpowering advantage. Companies barely 10 years old such as AOL, are able to buy out (for $183 Billion) companies such as Time Warner, the largest and one of the oldest media conglomerates in the country.The impact on the legal profession is a prime example of how much an industry has been transformed in the past decade. Here to, the Internet has helped change all of the rules and level the playing field. Now, a firm that has a dozen attorneys can compete head to head with a firm 10 times its size, provided they have a cutting edge web site and aggressive lawyer marketing strategy. As a company that works closely with dozens of law firms, we see this happen all too frequently.
B. The Pluses & Minuses of Name Recognition
- Although name recognition is important, this awareness alone will not guarantee the continued success of the Firm. Just ask companies such as Montgomery Ward, Braniff Airlines, and Atari to name a few. They were all obliterated by their then lesser known competitors through better products or services and more aggressive marketing strategies.For fast moving industries such as Business and High Tech, these potent strategies make the difference between first place (survival) and obsolescence. It is not even a guarantee that the companies offering the best product or service (or the perceived best) will win out over those that aren’t as good (can we all say “Betamax”?)It’s a given that the 250 largest law firms in the country already have a long history and strong name recognition. Brand name firms are called to the table more often based on their recognition and presumption of quality—but that doesn’t mean the work they eventually get will remain with them.The challenge facing larger firms is competing with firms younger, more aggressive, and less expensive than they are. These firms may initially lack some of the name recognition and reputation on a Firm level, but are generally perceived as more responsive and in touch with the times.
Law firms relying primarily on a long history to maintain their competitiveness will eventually be perceived as being “out of touch” by a marketplace which is dominated by younger and more aggressive decision makers.
To summarize, the main disadvantages of name recognition are that larger, older, more known firms are often perceived as too expensive, less aggressive, and not in tune with today’s rapidly changing environment.
C. Advertising Impact on the Legal Industry
- The following statistics are taken from a survey conducted in the year 2000 of the top 1000 largest law firms in the US (“G-B 2000 Law Firm Advertising”).
- The typical marketing budget of a law firm has increased sevenfold since 1991.
- There are three times as many lawyers today as there were in 1970.
- 75% of all law firms surveyed said they planned on substantially increasing advertising expenditures over last year’s.
- More than 80% of these firms consistently have used display advertising in the past two years.
- Nearly 40% of these firms sponsor local or regional TV and/or radio programs.
- 72% of these law firms frequently sponsor events, seminars, and community activities as a means to market their firm.
- Nearly three times as many firms engage in advertising as ten years ago.
- 68% of the ads run focus on image as their primary marketing vehicle.
D. How Much They Are Spending
- At the June 14, 2001 LMA Chapter meeting, panel of publications and agency experts made the following observations:
- Know what’s reasonable—most firms allocate 2-3% of gross revenue for all marketing activities. A reasonable percentage of the total should go to advertising.
- Advertising is rated as one of the top four marketing activities that provide the greatest return on investment to law firms.
- Repetition remains one of the keys to a successful ad campaign.
- Break the budget gown by goals, not by publications. Look, for example, at practice groups by geographic market, or by industry segment.