What I see as the future for law firm marketing

These days law firms are having to raise their marketing game because the environment has never been tougher. In this, the first of three blogs, Jeff Hemming, Tikit’s Product Manager, Marketing Solutions, outlines what has brought us to where we are now, and stares into his crystal ball to predict what law firm marketers are likely to need in the next few years.

Where we are now

One thing is clear. Law firms are now under unprecedented competitive pressure. There’s a number of reasons why. One is that even though the economic crash is pretty much behind us, it embedded a habit among clients of scrutinising legal bills and costs much more closely.

In response, firms are increasingly trying to demonstrate value and to offer it. It’s produced new pricing models, for instance offering fixed fees. It’s led to new ways of working and the commoditisation of some types of work, which has only increased price pressure. Firms have adapted by stripping out costs and becoming more efficient in the way they operate. So more than ever they are under pressure to do more with less.

In the meantime the external environment has changed. Communications technology has shrunk the globe and hastened the consolidation of firms into large and larger multinational law practices.

Meanwhile clients have become more informed and discerning and their expectations around things like service levels has grown.

Finally, in law, as in society in general, there’s a new and growing emphasis on doing business in the right way and with integrity. Increasingly consumers – and clients are consumers – want to feel they’re working with organizations that have a social conscience.

In tandem, social media and websites like Trustpilot, Feefo and Glassdoor throw the doors open on how organizations really are. It means there’s no place to hide. And that firms will have to accept that reputation and relationship building are becoming really important, in fact even more so than brand.

So if that’s where we are now, what does the future hold?

Where we’re going

Given the background forces that I’ve sketched out above, I forecast that law firm marketers now and increasingly will need to develop their capacity to systematically build authentic, highly responsive relationships with clients.

What is more, they will have to do this as cost effectively as possible.

It calls for two key capabilities:

  • the ability to connect and communicate consistently
  • the capacity to understand the results you’re getting by using analytics to drive insight

Why connect and communicate consistently?

We live in a networked, multi-platform world in which clients and potential clients have many ways of learning about your firm. It gives marketers a lot of opportunities to feed their messaging into all the available channels and build connections – which they should take.

However, the messaging has to be clear and consistent across all the touchpoints. That’s what makes it trustworthy and compelling. Mixed or inconsistent messaging is counterproductive. It sows doubt and makes people wonder who you are.

Therefore, in a fiercely competitive legal marketplace, the firms that succeed will be the ones who develop a very disciplined and integrated approach to marketing. This will likely be enabled by the right kind of marketing software which brings everything together in one place and which has the additional benefit of being cost effective because marketing efforts are streamlined and coordinated.

Why use analytics?

Firms need to know if their clear and consistent messaging is working. Are they saying the right things, at the right time, in the right way?

Effective analytics – as opposed to being awash in data you don’t understand – will be tremendously important going forward. What we at Tikit call ‘integrated analytics’ can give marketers the capacity to track, analyse and understand how their communications are ‘landing’. Without analytics, marketers are flying blind.

Firms will therefore need to develop the capacity to analyse data well by understanding which metrics matter and how to use data effectively. Again, the right systems will generate these invaluable insights in cost- and time-efficient ways.

So in my next blog I will explain more about the role and application of integrated analytics, which will be a powerful weapon in the arsenal of law firm marketers going forward.

Jeff Hemming

By Jeff Hemming, Product Manager, Marketing Solutions at Tikit

Connect with Jeff on Linkedin here.

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