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Marketing Today


Marketing in the legal profession is still seen by some of the “blue-chip” law firms around the world as a bit tacky and low-brow. The traditional thinking was that as long as your firm had its reputation and word of mouth, then it didn’t require any other marketing razzle dazzle to make things work.


Things are different in the current climate, of course, as competition among law firms has intensified to never-before-seen levels. Marketing for law firms is important now. In the struggle to get enough business to keep firms afloat, marketing is the only weapon that many have, in fact. What really makes it so important, though? Let’s explore in more detail.


1. The Legal Profession Has Evolved

Gone are the days when lawyers could simply sit in their cushioned armchairs amidst oak panelling, roaring fireplaces and whisky decanters while their prestigious firm name would do all the marketing for them. Law firms have been forced to remember that they are, first and foremost, enterprises.


What’s more, they are not lonely enterprises in the marketplace. As of 2018 there are no fewer than 18,748 private law firms in Australia with 76,303 practicing solicitors. That’s a lot of lawyers to go around for consumers of their services. If law firms aren’t marketing, then they will struggle to carve out a meaningful niche within that market.


2. Law Firms Need to Display Their USPs

We might think of law firms as unique and separate kinds of businesses, but they’re not. Their USPs might be the same as something like a fashion brand, but they have them all the same. When it comes to legal services, clients care about trustworthiness, reputation, professionalism, seriousness, responsibility, expertise, and credentials.


Law firms with associates from top law schools, for instance, or law firms with a fantastic litigation track record need to show those things to their prospective new clients, and marketing is the engine through which they can do that.


Arguably the most important quality is trustworthiness, along with credibility. These are hard to market to people because so many people are somewhat cynical about marketing campaigns and tend to view them through that lens. Effective marketing in a law firm means striking a balance between engaging marketing content that doesn’t push people too far or compromise the firm’s image of being a trustworthy firm of integrity and principle.


3. Because the Local Market is Everything

One other quite unique thing about legal services is that they operate within a local area but not typically beyond. Even if a large firm in Sydney or Melbourne opens regional offices in smaller towns and cities, they have to tailor their service to that specific area. Corporate legal services that are in demand from banks and big companies in downtown Melbourne will find little to no demand in a distant town of a few thousand people.


Astute marketing efforts help law firms to tailor what they do more precisely to the market they operate in. They find out what it is the locals care about and produce marketing campaigns that attract that business using the firm’s integrity, prestige and track record of success.


4. It’s Hard for them to Use New Channels

Effective marketing for a law firm is important for connecting with their local community and establishing a reputation for trustworthiness, credibility and authority. Certain channels, therefore, are very limited for them to use in the same way that some other brands do. How would a law firm use Instagram, Facebook or Twitter? They could find certain ways to have a presence on these platforms, but the scope of what they can do without also hurting their credibility is tough.


Therefore, effective marketing campaigns are crucial for winning the business they need for the firm to stay afloat, but all while maintaining that very particular image.


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